Working for a client I noticed that after weeks I still had gaps in my knowledge about the product roadmap. And I wasn’t the only one. I felt that in meetings people did not dare to ask questions because they didn’t want to be the person that is out of the loop. The one that didn’t do their homework.
Well since I belive that appearing stupid is a risk worth taking if it helps me to delete some ignorance, I usually ask. And often afterwards others dare to ask their questions, too. Many knowledge gaps get closed this way.
But usually some well informed people (,sometimes just the one person presenting something) wonder why we don’t know. Then a link to a wiki page or offers to forward a helpful PDF are given.
But in reality the people simply have not been properly briefed. Or, in the case of new employees, the on-boarding process was lacking. Instead they were too quickly given their first task to they can slowly learn the ropes. Fast forward a few months and they only know the bits they’ve been working on well.
Here’s what I would suggest instead: Any new employee, after setting up his computer and accounts, is paired with a QA person. QA people know the product well. They know the details of requirements, even old ones. And they do regression tests regularly.
The idea is simple: Have the new guy or gal perform a regression test with the QA person. Preferably a full regression test. Those should occur often enough. Or just have him or her observe as the regression test is performed.
This can take a while of course, but consider how much time would be saved later on.
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