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Exchange program

Our team has a program where developers from other teams can come to work with us for a month or two. This way, we can share our know-how and spread best practices™ at our company. Sometimes, one of us will go to help out at other teams.

So far, we had three people come to join us (of which two decided to stay with us — it might not fulfill the goal of spreading knowledge completely).

When someone comes to our team for an exchange (or when they join our team full-time), we assign them a buddy. This is a person that makes sure that the newcomer learns how our team works as fast as possible.

When I was selected as a buddy for one of our exchange colleagues, I decided to put together the "Buddy contract" — a list of explicit expectations and responsibilities.

Buddy contract

What is my purpose as a buddy?

I’m guiding my buddy in completing the assigned task.

I’m helping my buddy when they are stuck.

I give feedback on what my buddy can improve, and when they are doing a good job.

I’m ensuring that my buddy learns as much as possible.

What are my responsibilities?

I must be available as often as my buddy will need me (within reason).

I must give honest feedback.

I must continually assess their progress and adjust my guidance accordingly.

I must ensure that my buddy always knows what to do next.

What do I expect?

I expect my buddy to be motivated and interested in learning.

I expect to learn something new from my buddy.