As someone who attended 7 different schools before high school and uh have hopscotched my way around several different companies during my career I'm something of an expert beginner and have found the quickest way to onboard to a new system in lieu of detailed docs or any semblance of an onboarding program is........ asking questions.
Here is a sampling of questions your engineering onboarding should cover - this is not exhaustive and fairly generic high-level but should give you a nice springboard for bringing an engineer up to speed.
- How many environments are there between local dev and production?
- What is the state of service ownership here? aka the line of responsibility between developers and operators
- How to deploy?
- How to rollback?
- How to file bugs?
- What are the custom in-house tools? Does everyone have contributing rights to them?
- How do we measure the customer experience? the health of the system?
- What is the path a request takes from the edge to a particular instance of a service?
- What is a typical traffic pattern for the product/platform? Are there any peak traffic days (a la 4/20 or Single's Day)
- Who are our primary customers?
- What does a production app instance consist of - container? orchestration? hardware?
- What version of language/framework are we running? How to check?
- Do we load test?
- How are features deprecated?
- What is the local development situation?
- What is the process to spin up a new datastore?
- Do we routinely pen test? Scan for vulnerabilities?
- How big is the on-call rotation?
- Is the primary on-call expected to take on sprint work?
- Who are the biggest customers in terms of usage/load/importance?
- What visibility does the Support team have into production?
- How do we build Docker images and what registry are we using?
- Are there communities of practice aka SIGs aka Brown Bag sessions?
- How do we fund projects for "unowned" communal tooling and libraries?
- How do we attribute financial cost of running services?
Any questions I missed? Let me know!