In the last 12 months we had several team changes. Even if the company is doing fine, a high turnover rate is not a good sign so I spent some time thinking about what’s happened. I’m sure that there is always space for improvements, if you care to look.
The first developer we lost had been working with us for just five months. Such a short spell usually means that company and worker were not a good fit and this was probably the case. This guy was very good, very passionate about his job, but this being its first full time job he was clearly still exploring his options. Three months in, he already wanted to quit, but I convinced him to wait a little more. After he reported the same desire again I decided not to stand in his way, even though I was not pleased, as we were losing a valuable resource.
I had a talk with the senior dev that managed him directly and we asked ourselves if we put too much pressure on this dev. He was very skilled and maybe we assumed too much. We agreed to take extra care about monitoring the stress level of any junior dev, taking into account that some may be less able to cope with it.
The other developer we lost had been working with us for 11 months. Once again, it’s a relatively short spell to draw any conclusion, but I probably had failed his evaluation when he started. As the months went by I became aware of my misjudgement, and even though a technical improvement was taking place, I still could not see him fitting into our very particular way of supporting software projects.
So after a strategic planning for the next few months, I realize the both he and the company had only to lose by dragging on. So I gave him some time to find another job and we could be both satisfied that working for Refactory had been a significant learning step in his career.
What I learned from this is that with a junior developer you have to make different provisions, from their cost to the difference in estimates, attitude, attention to details, communication skills, and so on. Also, I learned more about what the specific traits required to work successfully in our company.
Now, the latest addition to our team is a very young developer who’s completely dedicated to a single project that’s not too hard and has a very relaxed deadline. He’s also encouraged to take time to learn concepts he may not be familiar with, try things in different ways, and ask all the questions he wants; with a gentle reminder that sooner or later this phase will end and we will expect more from him, but that is not yet the case and I will be very clear about it. This seems to be working fine and we’re happy to see him grow as a well-established Refactorer.
I’m really grateful to everyone who worked with us, helped us building projects and gave us the opportunity to learn something new about people. We’re trying to build a great environment, a place where young, passionate, talented people can learn how to really care about software projects (spoiler: they are not only made of code).
BTW we’re always happy to receive applications so get in touch!