Joining mid-project

Aviary. I'm thrilled to be part of a team of such superstars, and am excited to once again be working with Iz and Avi whom I have worked with previously during the early stages of Worth1000, where I helped design the architecture.

Image courtesy of Vincent Maher

I love starting new jobs. The promise and potential of a new role is exciting. There's something that makes me feel good when I sit down at my new desk and the surface is still visible. I actually get a little turned on using a new computer with a clean desktop before all of these random files and folders named "New Requirements Version 1a - old.doc", "New Folder 2" and "Do Not Delete" clutter it up.

Joining as a new team member in the middle of a large project can be difficult. It would be great if on day one you could show up and start doing your thing. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Especially at a company like Aviary where the company strategy and website concepts are so complex and unique, seemingly there is so much you need to know before you can start being a productive team member.

But there are some contributions you can make *only* as a new team member.

On your first day you are a perfect focus group. You are in a unique position in that you don't really know how things are supposed to work. So take out a notebook and be a first time user - without documentation, FAQ's or anyone doing a demo for you. Can you easily navigate the functionality? A well designed and implemented interface should not require explanation. If you have trouble, so will other first time users. This needs to be addressed, and you are in a unique position to notice the problem.

On your first day, you are not jaded by how things already work. The people who have been working on the product for a while are already in a certain mindset about how the application looks and behaves. They have been programmed to expect the result of action A is behavior B. But does that make sense? Not fully understanding the application can help you give the group a fresh perspective on expected behavior.

I'd love to hear any of your thoughts or experiences as a new team member.]]