A field guide for Spiff Engineers

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Checking In

As you get used to a new team, a new product, and maybe some new tools, it is useful to get your bearings from time to time. Check-ins are a way for Spiff to know what is important to you and for you to know what is important to Spiff. Check-ins are a one-on-one meeting between you and your manager that happen at least once per month. If you forget, your manager will remind you. If your manager forgets, you should remind them.

During a check-in all topics are fair game, but a few topics should always be addressed.

There are a few general metrics that might be considered while assessing your performance such as numbers of PRs and github activity (including feedback on issues and other peoples’ PRs). These metrics are like a smoke test. As long as the metrics are roughly in-line with the rest of your team, they probably won’t get discussed much.

The more important metrics are the ones you bring to the discussion. Share the things you want to measure about your own performance (see Setting Your Course). Do you both agree that these are worthwhile? If you agree on the value of your goals, spend some time discussing what will be measured, how you will measure it and how you plan to impact those metrics.

Having a Voice

Product and Engineering should always have a collaborative relationship. A check-in is a great time to ask yourself or the person you are checking in with what kind of collaboration they have had.

Some engineers will want to provide product feedback as part of reviewing issues or stories. You might suggest delivering the pieces of a project in a certain order, or removing parts of a story that will take a long time or that could be confusing to users. Engineers can also propose new stories and work with the product team to get them prioritized. These stories could involve re-structuring part of a feature to make it easier to extend in the future, or to provide tools for internal Spiff users to be able to manage features. However you like to collaborate with the Product team, you should keep a few things in mind: