“Best buddy”

What awaits a freshly baked IT Hero when he’s on his first JIT workday? The answer can be found here:

Anticipation coupled with some stage fright often accompany the first working day in a new company. In order to prevent a successful start, new JIT employees are expecting an already prepared laptop, system access and workplace as well as a personal buddy who will not give them their first weeks off the page.

The task of the Buddies is the training of the Heroes in the respective project. In addition to the project-specific work processes and organizational structures, this includes above all the provision of technical and domain-specific knowledge. The aim is to raise the new employee as quickly as possible to a high level of productivity and to enable an independent way of working.

The enrollment is roughly divided into the following phases:

1. High-level overview

The buddy sketches a picture of the domain. The system architecture, the tasks of the different components and their interaction are explained. Here it has proven to present the actual use of the system from the end user’s point of view.

2. Low-level details of a component

In order to avoid an information overload, the emphasis is placed on a component whose functionality is examined in detail by means of the source code. Subsequent tasks are limited to this part of the code.

3. Cooperative work

Together with the buddy, the first tasks are performed as a pair-programming task, i. Two developers work on one computer. While a developer takes the active role and writes the source code, the second developer remains in an observational role. He outlines the solution and identifies potential problems. The roles are changed regularly. This agile way of working not only accelerates and accelerates knowledge transfer and team building, but also increases the quality of the code.

4. Autonomous work

After the first few weeks, tasks are solved on one’s own responsibility. The support wheels are not removed, the buddy is supporting in the background. Fixing bugs is ideal for these tasks. After completing a task, a code review will be performed, presenting the solution, suggesting improvements, and identifying any issues with the buddy.

5. Expansion to other system parts

Continuously further components are introduced and tasks aimed at it are solved by means of pair programming as well as independently. The needed assistance of the Buddies is reduced continuously.

Everything learned is always written in the form of glossaries, instructions and system descriptions. On the one hand this strengthens the new knowledge, on the other hand these resources serve as training material for future heroes whose potential buddy is then successfully trained employee.