Onboarding Buddy

Every new team-member will be paired with an onboarding buddy to make their onboarding smooth. The onboarding buddy should work in almost the same timezone as the new team member.

How to be a great Onboarding Buddy

We have an "Onboarding Buddy playbook" in our shared folder that you should read and follow in order to create the ultimate onboarding experience for a new team member (in addition to all the resources on “Onboarding & Company Culture Course” you should be enrolled to).

Your main work as an Onboarding Buddy is to help the new team member feel welcome, not to lose track, and finally get their feedback and transform it into actions like:

  • Update documentation
  • Create issues (e.g. Make dev env works with latest version of XYZ)
  • Make a proposal to optimize the onboarding process
  • etc.

Expectations and duties

It’s not the job of an onboarding buddy to ~teach~, although you might end up doing a little of that. Your role is to guide and inspire with your enthusiasm.

So while there’s an element of teaching, the skills an onboarding buddy needs are different to those of a teacher. You need to be an attentive listener, and you need to have enough practical experience to be able to give your buddy the right advice at the right time.

Set expectations: Communicate your expectations in a simple and direct manner. Clarify expected roles, processes and outcomes. Ensure your buddy understands your expectations and feels motivated to fill them.



Here's a list of things to consider when we try to onboard a new member:

  1. Make them feel welcome
  2. Make them feel proud of what they do
  3. Connect them to the bigger picture (the WHY)
  4. Let them know why and how much they matter
  5. Try to offload as much information as we can into our shared folders and documents
  6. Make it easy for them to access all necessary information
  7. Simplify the feedback loop (bidirectional)

First day

  1. Ensure that your buddy has read all onboarding documents.
  2. Ensure that your buddy has all accounts/permissions for our internal and 3rd-party services (see Tools and Services checklist).
  3. Ensure that your buddy has 🔒 properly installed developer environment (opens new window).
  4. Arrange end-of-day meetings with your buddy with a specified agenda to get maximum feedback. The meeting should happen at the end of each day during the first week. Why: It will help your buddy understand if they are doing what's expected of the at the right pace and are focused on the correct tasks, as well as receive clear instructions, advice and constructive criticism to help them improve.
  5. Start changing code: Prepare 3-10 tasks for smooth entry into the project. Examples:
    1. Write tests for feature X (the goal is to introduce feature X, introduce our tools and workflows (GitHub, git, CI))
    2. Pickup and fix any bug from our automated bug-report systems (Slack, New Relic, Bugsnag, etc.) (goal: introduce tools, fix a bug)
    3. Review a Pull Request (goal: introduce our Pull Request flow and a new piece of code).

First week

  1. Ensure that your buddy has a plan to read developer and general literature as well as materials from our shared folders (50/50 mix of general/developer literature).
  2. Ask for a summary feedback for the first week.

First month

  1. Ensure that you got maximum feedback from your buddy and transformed it into actions.

In a month: finish mentoring

Evaluate developer onboarding process: Now you need to evaluate the onboarding process to make sure that everything is up to the standard.

When evaluating the process, simply refer to our goals and answer the following questions:

  1. Do we have an effective mentoring program?
  2. What/how can we improve? This includes documents, processes, tools, etc.

Checklist for Tools and Services

This is a list of tools and services that a new member should have access to. Dev specific (usually handled by a dev team lead):

Company-wide services (usually handled by a Hiring Process Manager):