Episode 227: Junior expectations and manager flakiness

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

Questions

  1. What should I expect from a junior develop, and how can I help them grow?

    A junior developer joined my team of 4 a few months ago. He has learned things at a reasonable speed but it is still hard for him to implement new features without any help or existing code to copy.

    In past jobs, I usually gave juniors simple, easy tasks, but we don’t have that simple tasks in my current job because we’re working on complicated internal systems.

    Also other junior developers spent lots of their private time learning. I don’t think this junior has spent any time learning in his private time.

    I don’t want to ask them to learn in their private time, but I just can’t help feel annoyed about the fact that he still cannot pick up a well-defined task in our backlog and complete it by himself. I think he really needs to take some time learning some basics like networking and some skills like keyboard shortcuts of text editors. I know there is lots to learn. However, sometimes I lose my patience when I have to repeat myself.

    In addition to lack of knowledge and skills, I feel that he always waits somebody to tell him what to do and explain everything to him. I tried to tell him the whole picture of the project before explain a specific task, but I couldn’t see any improvement.

    What could I do to help him (or make myself feel better)?

  2. I’ve worked with 3 managers in the past 2 years at my first company and all of them seem to have trouble producing results from team meetings and one on ones. More specifically, my managers have mentioned things/events/changes they would plan to do with the team or me and several weeks/months go by and the idea is never mentioned again. At times it felt like maybe it was me that was unable to produce the outcomes of said ideas or that maybe I was some sort of a lost cause. However, my most recent manager doubled the ratio of ideas:results, so I don’t think it’s just me. For my one on ones, we have a long running list of things we talk about and even the trail there doesn’t seem to amount to anything.

    How do I hold my manager accountable for things they say or plan to do? How do I bring up these conversation on one-on-ones without making it seem like I’m the one managing them?

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