On-boarding a New Team Member

As a Scrum Master for an Agile team, you will need to bring new team members onto an existing team from time to time. Make them feel welcome, included, and productive by considering a couple of these ideas:

Get the team involved. This often happens but if it doesn’t, ask the hiring manager to include yourself and other team members in the interview process. The team can help ensure a candidate is a good fit for your existing team culture and will be able to thrive in an agile environment. Obviously, selecting the right team member in the first place will make embedding them on the team much easier.

Be prepared. Once you know a new team mate will be joining you, make sure equipment, supplies, email accounts, and network access are ready to go. Nothing worse than having a new employee showing up and waiting for a computer or unable to log on.

Do something creative. I have seen some teams take a sheet of poster board with each team member signing a little welcome message. You can decorate their desk but don’t go overboard as some people would rather not have the attention. Regardless of what you do, putting a personal touch on their arrival is a great start to their life on your team.

Welcome with food. Either go out as a team if the budget allows or have everyone bring their favorite dish to celebrate the addition of your new team member. Nothing brings people together like food!

Teach your Agile framework. Once they are settled in, take some time to teach your Agile framework. You may be able to tailor this based on their past experience with Agile but every organization has its own subtleties. Include this session in your formal on-boarding curriculum if possible.

Share “local rules.” Every team has their own set of rules or behaviors they usually function under. This could include such things as how pair programming is determined or how build changes are communicated. Sometimes these “local rules” are left unspoken and people will learn through trial and error but give your new hire all the information they need to fit in right away.

Check in. For the first week or two, frequently check-in with your new team member. During this time you can see if there are any questions they may have or see if they are struggling with anything.

These are just a couple thoughts around bringing new team members onto your team. If you have any others, please share!


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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