What Senior developers sometimes forgot is that years back they also were juniors and thus in the same position as the juniors now.
I also say the same to juniors. Just ask if you need some information.
Once I had a problem with a junior. He always came in late. around 10 o’clock or later. He works always late. The whole day he never asked questions. But the moment when we (the seniors) want to go home he starts with asking questions, so we have to do overtime, fometime 2 hours. He just doesn’t understand we want to go home. One day I just said, sorry it has to wait to tomorrow, because I need to be somewhere at that hour. He didn’t understand it, went to our unit manager. The day after this manager told me that the junior felt him overwhelmed by me and that I need to slow down. Explaining the situation, doesn’t helped; The manager just said we need to help the junior. In my eyes I didn’t overwhelmed him, but OK. From then on I just put the extra hours as overtime, which gave another discussion.
So the overwhelmed issue, is the certainly something to keep an eye on….
One thing I forgot to say in my post was lead by example.
I show both seniors and juniors I ask a lot of questions.
Sven, you might remember from my days @ U2U, that as a trainer I asked a lot of questions. I also rewarded people for asking questions. (The post-it’s we gave away for free, I gave them when people asked their first question.)
Even when I do a large scale presentation I ask lots of questions.
It’s hard to understand that situation just by reading one comment, I have the tendency to say, ask a lot of questions to the junior to see if he understands. Make sure he pairs with multiple seniors. Ask him why he feels overwhelmed.
Because he is. When people say they feel something I always believe them. I might challenge it, but I do respect their feelings.
But it can be hard sometimes, and that is when I go see my coach as I wrote yesterday http://paircoaching.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/facilitating-the-skill-of-multiple-partiality/
Indeed, I remember the U2U days with the post-its.
And you’re right.Talking helps. I must say it’s now almost 2 years ago and I didn’t had the experience/knowledge at that moment as I have now (and I’m still a junior in team leading).
A good constructive talk can help a lot of problems out of the world or a perception of someone.
The moment you consider yourself senior in leading teams go see a shrink. ;-)
Most people only lead a few teams in their life.
I led a new team of students every week (for 5 years) when I was at U2U, that gave me more experience then most people.
Especially because I experimented with the way I lead those teams. And I still think I have a lot to learn.
(That is why I spend 20% of my revenue on trainings)
First, I’d like to expand your comment about the diversity that a junior team member to provide – this is a critical ingredient for creativity. And creativity is really important for great products.
The second comment is around craftsmanship. In the best organizations this is an ongoing process for everyone. People learn at a deeper level when training others, so Junior team members are useful in that regard.