Don't push to production on Day 1

31 Oct 2017

I often see a pattern with on boarding new coworkers that I find really problematic. The „push to production on the first day“ rule. Lots of people in my twitter feed are constantly bragging that their new coworker was able to push something to production on day one. The idea behind is that it gives the new hire a great feeling of accomplishment on the first day. It should also demonstrates how great the company is doing on the „release often“ scale.

I have huge problems with this. Just think how it feels to be the new person. You don't know that much about all the new people you are meeting. Have a hard time to remember all those names. And on top of that someone is sitting next to you expecting you to finish a small ticket together with them to push it to production. For me this feels like having an important test the first day of school. This is the opposite of what a first day should look like for me. It should give the new person room to get a feeling how the company is structured, meet all the new coworkers, getting comfortable. Focus on the people, not the code. The first day is already super stressful as it is. If you know that they expect you to push to production on day one just adds more unwanted pressure.

For me an ideal first day is a nice introduction to the people you work with, the tons of rules the new workplace has (How do I take vacations? What do I do when I am sick?), and getting comfortable at your new workspace. The code should never be the #1 priority. It's more important that you leave the job with a „I like those people I met“ feeling instead of a „I finished a small artificial task today“. That is exactly what Wooga did when I started my new job there a couple of months ago. They never expected me to be productive in the first couple of days. Instead we talked a lot, I could look at how the team is working on tickets, read lots of code to see how they work. And on day 3 I had a nice feature pushed to production. During the whole time I felt valued and not pressured to do something „just because“.

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