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Need advice on guiding and building an IT team with freshers

 
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Hello,
I was selected as a programmer for a start up company ,due to some turn of events the people above me resigned and my boss cant get visa work done for anymore employees .I have 3 and half years experience in Java and i can code in C#,ASP.NET.Now i am in a situation where i have to lead,guide the existing team of freshers.They built one website and it is not working properly .I am able to single handedly build the websites and do the work as it isnt too hard ,we are just building basic websites initially. But now i will be the one to guide ,the only information i know is that there is a guy in the company who can make good desings.Now i will have to develop the team .Can anyone please guide me as to what i should do ,or any articles or books to read?Every Manager ,Team Lead that i ever had threw me in the fire first and asked me to do things by myself ,it was very hard and frustrating for me ,and i dont want to be a person who does the same thing for freshers .
For example
Since i was working alone this past month i worked without a repository.But when i start working with a team ,i will try to find a tool for repository.When i worked for a maintenance project we used BMC Remedy to have the errors and bugs reported ,SLA so may be findd a tool for that. I am thinking of keeping one fresher for testing ,but i jsut used Unit Testing till now and no other form of testing,but i read in the net and found out that Selenium is good for testing in websites.Now should i learn Selenium and teach these guys ,i have no clue .Any guidance/help .Thank you
 
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Vasmi,
A few pieces of advice:

1) Get to know the team members. What are their skills? What do they like to do? What problems are they struggling with.
2) Carve up the work into smaller pieces. You should be involved in the design. And how to carve up the tasks into manageable pieces. This also lets you know early when something "doesn't work" so you can help/intervene earlier.
3) If you have time, see if you can pair program with each of them. Even if it is just an hour or two a week each, you can help grow their skills.
4) Don't assign yourself any coding tasks. You'll be plenty involved pairing, mentoring, etc.

And yes, Selenium is a great tool.
 
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Further to what Jeanne said

1) When you do assign tasks to your team, such tasks should be the use-cases or functions for the site, not different phase of SDLC like testing. That way the person can develop it, test it, refine it... He owns that function. Yet you as the leader is responsible if anything goes awry.

2) Prepare to work on documentation (tech spec, design spec, etc)

3) Ask the team what tools they have used. Research on such tools then decide if they can be used in your project. Relearning/using something that is familiar in the past tends to be quicker than learning something brand new.
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Vasmi,
A few pieces of advice:

1) Get to know the team members. What are their skills? What do they like to do? What problems are they struggling with.
2) Carve up the work into smaller pieces. You should be involved in the design. And how to carve up the tasks into manageable pieces. This also lets you know early when something "doesn't work" so you can help/intervene earlier.
3) If you have time, see if you can pair program with each of them. Even if it is just an hour or two a week each, you can help grow their skills.
4) Don't assign yourself any coding tasks. You'll be plenty involved pairing, mentoring, etc.

And yes, Selenium is a great tool.



1)I will do the first part,getting to know the team and the problems they are struggling with.
2) For making up the design ,is there any good article to read.I can google it but i have to do lot of work alone as of now,and any pointers will help to reduce the time .Cause when i worked for a development project we had Buisnness Analysts who got requiremnts ,and they gave another team the requirement specification document to another person and it passed on and on,by the time i got the work it was basically an excel sheet row ,that i had to implement .
3)It sounds like a very good idea,i am also thinking of giving them small tasks every week ,like first encrypting and decrypting a password saving it to Database,then telling that Hashing with Salt is better ,guide them through the process ,so that they will develop their skills.Tell them about SQL injection attacks.Is that fine?
4)As far as coding is concerned till now i did all the majority of coding but from off shore,so i dont know their skills we didnt have an introduction yet until i meet them in person,but is it ok to ask them to code dirctly,i want to train them with the basics ,give them assignments to complete .A sample project to finish then only ask them to code .

I need some suggestions on training the freshers,i am thinking of training them in Java ,then train them in Blue J,and ask them to build a sample application in Blue J so OOPS concept is understood fully. But i dont know about how to train someone in testing ,front end design ,database so i am thinking of asking my boss to buy a few accounts in TreeHouse or similar sites like it so that they can be trained using these sites and i dont have to learn them and train them in these.
 
vamsi naki
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K. Tsang wrote:Further to what Jeanne said

1) When you do assign tasks to your team, such tasks should be the use-cases or functions for the site, not different phase of SDLC like testing. That way the person can develop it, test it, refine it... He owns that function. Yet you as the leader is responsible if anything goes awry.

2) Prepare to work on documentation (tech spec, design spec, etc)

3) Ask the team what tools they have used. Research on such tools then decide if they can be used in your project. Relearning/using something that is familiar in the past tends to be quicker than learning something brand new.



Hello,
Thanks for your reply K.Tsang ,

1)The first point ,sounds good .But only issue we have ,is that the government rule is to employ more locals ,and finding local full time,experienced programmers is very hard .So my plan was after the initial training (in Java and Blue J) i will see who all arent able to code that well and then put them into testing team or design team where there will be lesser coding . I know this goes against what you said ,but the idea is to create more jobs for local people .
2) I will work on the documentation,like you said.
3)This point is very good,will do that.
Any other suggestiongs,please do tell
Thank you
 
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Here's another issue which I don't know if you meant to ask about: For quite a while your team will not be producing anything useful for the company you work for. So you're going to have to work with your bosses to make sure they understand that and are OK with it. It may be that they thought that they could hire a group of beginners and expect them to be productive immediately, and if so then you need to help them to understand why that isn't the case.
 
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vamsi naki wrote:2) For making up the design ,is there any good article to read.I can google it but i have to do lot of work alone as of now,and any pointers will help to reduce the time .


I don't know of a design article. There are book length works on the subject. Think about how you would write the code. What APIs would you need?

vamsi naki wrote:3)It sounds like a very good idea,i am also thinking of giving them small tasks every week ,like first encrypting and decrypting a password saving it to Database,then telling that Hashing with Salt is better ,guide them through the process ,so that they will develop their skills.Tell them about SQL injection attacks.Is that fine?


Yes. Giving them those tip is helpful.

vamsi naki wrote:4)As far as coding is concerned till now i did all the majority of coding but from off shore,so i dont know their skills we didnt have an introduction yet until i meet them in person,but is it ok to ask them to code dirctly,i want to train them with the basics ,give them assignments to complete .A sample project to finish then only ask them to code .


I'm not clear on where you and they are. If you can't pair in person, can you pair remotely? Being in charge of a bunch of new programmers you can't communicate with synchronously isn't likely to end well.

vamsi naki wrote:I need some suggestions on training the freshers,i am thinking of training them in Java ,then train them in Blue J,and ask them to build a sample application in Blue J so OOPS concept is understood fully.


Wait. They don't know Java yet? I thought they were inexperienced and not lacking in basic knowledge. Freshers usually wen to university and come in knowing some programming language. If they don't even know Java, you need to talk to your boss. Expecting you to teach them and get a project done is a lot to ask!
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
I'm not clear on where you and they are. If you can't pair in person, can you pair remotely? Being in charge of a bunch of new programmers you can't communicate with synchronously isn't likely to end well.



I will be going to Onsite within a week,so i can pair program with them in person rather than remotely

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
Wait. They don't know Java yet? I thought they were inexperienced and not lacking in basic knowledge. Freshers usually wen to university and come in knowing some programming language. If they don't even know Java, you need to talk to your boss. Expecting you to teach them and get a project done is a lot to ask!



I thought of teaching them Java and Blue J cause i think Java helps in building the fundementals and Blue J is very good in teaching Object Oriented Programming .I dont know as to what they were taught in college,only when i meet them in person i will come to know about how much they learnt .

Thak you very much for your advice Jeanne Boyarsky.
 
vamsi naki
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Paul Clapham wrote:Here's another issue which I don't know if you meant to ask about: For quite a while your team will not be producing anything useful for the company you work for. So you're going to have to work with your bosses to make sure they understand that and are OK with it. It may be that they thought that they could hire a group of beginners and expect them to be productive immediately, and if so then you need to help them to understand why that isn't the case.



Thank you Paul Clapham for your advice,i will talk to my boss about it and explain him that it will take time to get anything productive done.
 
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