Thank you for the response.

While the group I am currently working with would hopefully react more positively towards a new idea from a new team member, unfortunately the end results would most likely be the same. Please let me explain.

First, it is human nature for groups of people to form bonds and cliques that are naturally resistant to outside interference. Additionally, I would definitely term a new team member coming on board to be an interference. However, there are ways to mitigate this interruption.

For my current team we get to practice this methodology quite often. A local college has a co-op program that we actively participate in which allows a student to work for a full semester at a local business in their area of education. We typically have 2–3 new engineering co-ops cycle through every year through this program. In order to break down the roadblocks around introducing them to the team we ask them to be in the middle of our team discussions and projects from day one. On the occasions that we bring a new full-time person on this same practice is followed.

This methodology goes a long way towards providing a voice for the new person and is intended to provide the opportunity for that voice to be heard for ideas, new best practices, and new methods. I fully understand that this approach may be an exception more than a rule. I also acknowledge that it takes certain types of people to not only have the presence to speak up, but to be successful in the system currently implemented.

This is not a theoretical practice, but one that has been created from experience. It would be awesome to state that every hire has been wonderful and speaks up and immediately adds their voice to our daily noise. That has not been the case and while all hires have been very talented people, it has taken some goodbyes to fine tune what is needed at this organization.

However — back to the topic at hand — even if the team was in full agreement that the new idea, best practice, or technology would be extremely worthwhile to implement, there is a secondary consideration beyond the current team’s adoption of the idea that it must pass through to gain acceptance and this secondary gauntlet is why most likely the end results would be the same uphill battle in regards to being implemented.

This is because any new idea, upon acceptance as something that should be done, is immediately converted into technical debt. Unfortunately, even though efforts are made to reduce this debt, many organizations do a very poor job of acknowledging and addressing tech debt, including the one I am currently at. Even with active management on my part and buffering extra time on projects to address, there just isn’t enough time to go back and update older tech when it is currently working and there is new stuff that management wants right away. At the end of the day, unfortunately, this means that the outcome is probably the same even if the reasons for not implementing are completely different than the knee-jerk reactions from an established team.

In conclusion, based on experience and general theorizing about an ‘average’ workplace, I feel that we do a better than average job at integrating new people into the team, but a little bit worse than average at addressing technical debt.

In regards to early returns? There are people on the team that feel like I move too slow on expecting results from people, so the bar on expectations for immediate results are fairly low. This is intentional as stated in the article there just isn’t enough time in the day to mentor and grow people as I would like to have, so giving someone extra time for acclimatization and self-learning is something I feel is critical towards success of the teammate as well as the overall team.

Thank you for the discussion topic! This has provided me with some good fodder fur future articles around technical debt and I appreciate the responses. Thanks for reading!

Written by

Engineer. Manager. Husband. Father. Wanna-be Writer. Editor-In-Chief & Grand Poobah of www.kevinwanke.com

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