Onboarding into engineering within MNF

Dion Beetson
December 16, 2021
Onboarding into engineering within MNF

There is always a level of excitement and anxiousness when joining a new software engineering team. Will you enjoy the role? Will it challenge you? Will it provide you with the career growth you are after? These are all very important questions. However, what's also important, which lays the foundations for the above, is what will the first 30 days look like for you in this new role?

We wrote this blog post to help you better understand what your first 30 days within the software engineering team at MNF will look like.

Prior to Day One:

Before we dive into what happens on day one, let's quickly touch base on what happens before you even begin. You will have met a few of your new team members throughout the interview process and would have been able to have some valuable conversations around tech and engineering practices. Your direct manager would have also reached out to confirm starting time, as well as what type of laptop and equipment you would like us to order for you. Our awesome recruitment team will have reached out a few times before you begin to see if there is anything they can do to help you before your first day.

Day One

We normally start day one at 10am. This allows the team to settle in, have their morning standup and get ready to spend the whole first day with you. Plus, we have a pretty flexible working arrangement, and being software engineers, a lot of us don't enjoy the early mornings. By 10am, the team will be in the office (or online) if they are working from home that day.

Once we have met you at reception in either our Sydney, Melbourne or Manila office, we will show you to your desk so you can drop your bags off. We will then check in with you at 5pm to see how the day went.. Kidding! First we will introduce you to everyone in your immediate team. Most teams have between 4-9 people within them which includes developers, testers and product owners.

Now that you have met the team we will introduce you to your buddy. We pair up every new starter with a buddy who is not their direct manager to help them in their first few months. A buddy is there to offer advice and guidance around many of the day-to-day aspects of working at MNF. They help explain how to access on-boarding resources and act as an ambassador for the MNF engineering team, its culture and values. Our buddy system was setup by Del Davies who is one of our engineering managers and provides a great framework for how our buddy system works.

Next step is to make sure you can log into all of your accounts that have been already setup for you (think email/calendar/wiki etc). We will also check if you require any additional software licenses that will help you in your role - this might be an IDE or other software subscriptions. We normally would have pre-organised a welcome lunch for sometime in the first week with your team so you can get to know everyone a little better and start building a relationship with them. However, some teams are a little more reactive and choose to do this on the day in a slightly more casual fashion. With the basics sorted, we will walk you through the office so you know where everything is, as well as where key people you will work with outside of your team are located. Don't worry if there are too many names to remember, we have a great wiki page that has names and photos you can reference in the future when needed.

In the afternoon we begin to take you through some of the key engineering platforms we use like GitLab, JIRA and AWS, as well as HR platforms to manage leave, pay etc.. Lastly, we make sure we add you to all the relevant MS Teams channels, both work related and social ones like (bubble tea, foosball fanatics or soccer club etc). We then leave you for the rest of the afternoon to get settled in. This is also when your buddy and direct manager are around to support you in anything you need.

Week One

Throughout week one we begin to give you greater exposure to other platforms that exist outside of your current team that you might not have direct exposure to initially. At MNF we focus on long-lived teams and bringing projects to teams. This allows teams to own platforms in an entirely end-to-end way. This means owning and improving the entire SDLC of the platforms within the team. It also means there are a range of other software engineering teams working on many different and exciting platforms. By understanding the wider engineering and platform ecosystem you will begin to understand the crucial part your platform(s) play.

We also provide you some visibility on the MNF employee benefits around training, upcoming new swag, tech talk program, charity days, micro rewards program/bot (Karma in MS Teams), and our employee recognition platform. There are also a range of working groups (think Spotify guilds) we run across our engineering team that we give you visibility on in case you have interest in joining. At the moment they revolve around cloud, architecture, QA and microservices best practices.

Finally, and most importantly, we talk you through your role in more detail, making sure any questions or concerns you have are answered. Our goal is to ensure you are happy in your role and know the importance of why your role exists.

Month One

Trust me, week one goes so quickly! Throughout the first month we begin to focus on giving you exposure to the wider engineering team. We setup eight onboarding bootcamps for you to attend. Onboarding bootcamps are 30-60 minute sessions with different software engineering teams (outside of your own team). We have over 120 engineers across 16 teams within MNF, and we are mostly located in Sydney, Melbourne and Manila (with a few remote workers located in cities around the world). We ensure as part of your onboarding you meet at least eight of those teams (don't worry, you will meet the rest naturally throughout your time at MNF). In each onboarding session you meet some of their team members, they will talk you through the platforms they own, the history of their platforms as well as their target state aspirations. They will also share how best to collaborate with their team if you ever need something from them.

As well as meeting many of the software engineering teams, you will have had 3 or 4 1:on:1s with your direct manager. All our managers (lead engineers or engineering managers) come from strong software engineering backgrounds which means you are working with leaders that understand the tech, but also care about your progression within your role. Even our CTO comes from a strong software engineering background!

End of Month One

After the end of month one, you will have found yourself with a fairly good picture of how we work, the platforms we build and architecturally where we are heading. As with many organisations, we find onboarding can take many months for you to be in a position where you are comfortable in your role and the platforms you are working on. This is entirely normal. Our goal when we bring on new software engineers is to ensure that process is as seamless as possible to get you off to the best start possible.

If you are about to join our engineering team we are looking forward to having you as part of the team shortly. If you are thinking about applying or accepting an offer from us then we hope you choose MNF as your next opportunity. If you find yourself wanting to know a little bit more about something I wrote about, you can always email me at dion.beetson@mnfgroup.limited or find me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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About the Author
Dion Beetson

Dion is the Head of Engineering at MNF, based out of Sydney. His leadership style focuses on providing context, not control, so teams can better understand the problem and then own decision making at the team level. He enjoys his coffee - a piccolo 1/2 sugar is his daily order.