I had answered this question on recently & thought about sharing the same on my blog.
There are times when we are extremely happy to have a new team-member join us. After the initial few days, we realize that the new-hire might need more time to ramp-up, while you had hired thinking about an extra-hand to reach the deadline a lot faster.
What had gone wrong in the whole process? To start with, you could have done a few things to help the new-hire up-to-speed with the happenings in the project.
1. Before DAY-ONE
Even before the employee comes on-board (once both you & the potential candidate have agreed & decided to work together), get them involved in shadow-work with the technical team whenever possible.
(a) Share non-confidential technical data
(b) Get them to attend at least 3 out of 5 tech-meetings with the team before they even came on-board
(c) To a certain extent even incorporating their ideas, with a mention that the idea came from the new-source (new employee) will help boost their confidence.
I’m sure they know the technologies needed & so were hired, but the idea is to bring them to speed on the usage of those technologies in a newer architecture. This would also give them a chance to know the team well, making them compatible. All of these can be done even before they come on-board. Off course, getting a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) signed will help.
2. Ensure you have sufficient documentation of the existing work
This will act as a ‘best-source’ for the new employee to get relevant information, without needing too much of the peer’s or manager’s time. This could also help bring down the learning time considerably.
Hiring folks with technologies/skillsets that meet your requirement (at least to a 90% fit) will help in ensuring faster understanding of the codes, architecture, processes,etc., The lesser they need to learn something new; the faster they can become productive. The intent should be to get specialists into the role. Tell them of the challenges that you are facing & where they could add value – if they are able to see the big-picture (from 30,000 ft) and yet be able to get day-to-day work accomplished - you have a gem in your hands!
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