Joining a New Team - How to start efficiently
blogMarch 28, 2023

Joining a New Team - How to start efficiently

Ramping into an Existing Team: Questions to Ask

Article presentation

Joining a new team is an exciting but daunting experience. In the software industry, being part of a successful team is crucial for achieving project goals, and joining an existing team requires an efficient approach to getting up to speed with team dynamics, project requirements, and the overall company culture. The purpose of this article is to give you, the software engineer,  some tips to help start efficiently in a new team.

1. Get to know your team members

When joining a new team, one of the first things to do is get to know your team members. You can foster a positive working relationship just by getting to know your coworkers. Find out who your team members are, what their roles are, and what they do. It is also important to understand the team's communication style and any processes in place. Try asking your team manager/team lead/tech lead:

  • When and to whom you can address your concerns, questions, and suggestions?
  • How we communicate effectively: Zoom, Slack, mail, etc.
  • What about meetings, how are they conducted?

2. Understand the project requirements

Before you start any new work, it's essential to understand the project requirements. Talk to your team lead or project manager—they can tell you more about the scope, objectives, and deadlines associated with this particular assignment. Make sure you ask what has been done, and what is being worked on now. Clarify any uncertainties or misunderstandings to prevent them from becoming future problems. 

Here are some questions that can help you at this stage:

  • Is the team’s work well defined? How about the outcome?
  • What’s the status of sprint planning?
  • Is there a percentage of rework due to changing requirements in our completed work?

3. Familiarize yourself with the company's culture

Every company has its unique culture, and it is essential to understand it to fit in and work effectively. Understanding the company's culture can help you adapt to the new environment and be more productive. Find out how the company operates, how decisions are made, and how the hierarchy works. 

4. Ask questions

When joining a new team, it is essential to ask questions to clarify doubts and understand the team's processes. When ramping into an existing group, software engineers should ask the following questions:

  • What are the project's goals and objectives?
  • Who are the stakeholders, and what are their expectations?
  • What is the development process and methodology used by the team?
  • What are the coding standards and best practices followed by the team?
  • What tools and technologies are used by the team?
  • What are the team's communication channels, and how are they used?
  • Who are the subject matter experts for the project, and how can I reach them?
  • Are there any blockers or risks to the project, and how can I help mitigate them?
  • How often are team meetings held, and what is the agenda for these meetings?

By asking these questions, software engineers can get a better understanding of the project's scope, team dynamics, and development processes, helping them start efficiently and be more productive.

Starting efficiently in a new team is crucial to achieving project success. Once software engineers get to know their team members, understand project requirements, become familiar with company culture, and ask the right questions about how things are done at that organization, they can quickly ramp up as productive members of that team. By following this process, you will adapt more quickly to the company's way of doing things.