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Welcome to ryanwold.net

My experience onboarding to an in-flight software project

I've been working in a new space lately. There are more than 30 teams working on all sorts of different things. Web, mobile. Front-end, back-end. New products, new features. Ruby, Python, Javascript, Go, Swift, Java, lots of Java.

Questions that I had

  • Was there an Inception for this project? Where are the artifacts?
  • Are there Personas for this project?
  • Is there a system diagram for this project?
  • Is there a data diagram for this project?
  • Are there workflows (Use Cases) or mockups?


  • Have you considered adding a designer to this team?
  • How do you onboard new folks in a less-than-trivial domain?

When assessing the priority of features, build features that provide business value. Should we build X? is always a decision that has to be made. How do you begin to approach that decision?

I'm a software developer, so I think about how to build software and what software to build.

David Bland and Andi Plantenberg have instilled in me to always ask: is it Feasible?Usable? Desirable? as a good way to scope a discrete piece of work.

As an Engineer, it is tempting to build for scale. Rather, as a Product Manager, I want to build for depth of experience. I seek to understand how user's engage and what they expect from a specific software tool that is being developed.

These notes are a work-in-progress, and they outline what has often been my experience onboarding to new software projects - what is the state of this project right now? What applicable context can help me understand how to steer the project in accordance with its natural and desired trajectories?


notes, onboarding, and ux