Onboarding improvements and mentoring
Investing in increasing your bus factor will generally pay off well!
Every system and project out there will have domain knowledge that won't be immediately obvious to anyone who's joining the team anew. It might be certain aspects of the business domain, it might be knowledge about the overall architecture, about the technical solutions and other noteworthy details. It is therefore important that we work on formalizing this knowledge and making it easier to transfer it to new colleagues.
What I did
As a part of this effort, I started the initiative to create a proper onboarding guide for one of the larger projects within the org. While a simple
README.md had sometimes been enough previously, now I found myself describing both details about the business, as well as how to get started, and what each of the services within the project are used for.
Of course, all plans are only good up to the point where they meet reality, so I also mentored a few newcomers to the team. Their feedback was instrumental in letting me better iterate on this guide, to the point where many of the common questions were already answered in it and people could get started with the project in less than a day.
What I learnt
Actually, a lot of what I did here was motivated both by my personal experience, as well as by this excellent talk by Dylan Beattie. I suggest anyone give it a watch.