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I'm working with a new senior programmer who has almost the same amount of experience as me. He his own project to work on -- but I have to make sure he does not mess things up.

Now, how can I monitor him since he's not junior?

Do I examine his code? Cons of this are that I am not as deep into project as himself so it's time consuming for me (have my own project besides this).

Do I only do QA from the perspective of another senior?

Any advise here is appreciated. I was recently in the same situation where I relied that another senior will handle all tickets properly, and then it took me 3 weeks to fix his oversights. So I do not want to be in the same situation again.

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"Do I examine his code?" Don't you have code reviews? –  user16764 Jan 26 '14 at 20:21
Do you have supervisory authority over him? If you don't, this is a waste of time. –  Robert Harvey Feb 7 '14 at 23:03

2 Answers 2

For starters, monitoring sounds not like an environment where trust is valued highly. Yet, that's the opposite of what a senior needs -- an environment where she or he is trusted (and expected) to do whatever is necessary to get the job done, in an appropriate manner, without instruction. I presume you want this guy to succeed, so I wouldn't take a "monitoring" approach.

Having said that, I would do this:

  1. make yourself available -- let her know that she can ask you questions, even seniors need to clarify things, especially in the beginning.

  2. don't expect her to know everything on the first day -- show her where to find information, even seniors need time to get to know a new system.

  3. clarify rules -- let her know the rules, how the system or department is run, what to look out for, what expectations and no-gos are. Even seniors need to know these things.

  4. involve the new guy -- include her on every meeting and discussion where she might benefit, and in particular those meetings that concern her areas of responsibility.

  5. clarfify responsibilities, and practice hands off -- for any areas of responsibilities that were previously yours (or anyone else's), make sure decisions are taken by the new person, including the risk of failure.

  6. agree objectives -- make sure the teams' expectations and your own are clarified. I say agree because it should be a process where you sit together, discuss priorities and then agree on the objectives to be reached. Remember the SMART rule -- any fair objective is Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

  7. review progress and praise achievement -- review progress and achievements regularly

Finally, whatever you do, always give direct, personal and timely feedback: If you see something that doesn't work the way it should, take him or her aside, explain what you observed, why you think its no good, how it should be. Be sure to be open for discussion, because new people tend to see things with a fresh perspective and might just have a good reason to do things differently than what is considered usual. Oh, and do give positive feedback, too, even seniors like getting some.

PS: "her" includes "him", just saying

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+1. On the topic of positive feedback: studies (don't have access to them ATM) show that it takes a ~4:1 ratio of positive feedback to negative feedback for people to even remember that they received positive feedback. –  Steve Evers Jan 27 '14 at 0:03

I would recommend pair programming. You would pair program with him as long until you are sure he got everything he needs. Ultimately you can not check everything and can only trust that he does things proper in the end. Because, as you said, if you check all his work you are stuck yourself.

Also pair programming is/should be common and it would be no offence to offer/demand it in the beginning. You do not want to offend the new guy. Also he would learn about your work which helps also you in case of absence or need of a second opinion.

Problem is that as you say, you are working separately. Maybe this is not a good way of organization anyway because if you want to monitor him you need to work closer with him anyway. So if this is not possible you could do 2 hours a day for the beginning maybe?

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