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How can I more quickly identify blockers in my starter project?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [SDE 1] at Amazon2 years ago

My starter project was to migrate a web service to a new API which offers similar functionality. This was intended to be a pretty straightforward migration, mostly renaming + replacing some strings. However, this project took much longer than my manager or I anticipated. How could I have predicted and prevented this?



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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 years ago

    Estimation is a classic problem in software engineering, and it especially plagues more junior engineers. This is not your fault since you’re being handed a starter project, but there’s still a risk of this looking bad for you, since at the end of the day it’ll be viewed as a task/project on your plate that was delayed.

    Leaving a paper trail of what you did, and who you talked to, is really important, so people are aware of issues as they come up.

    • When you find new information, broadcast it to the people who care, and ideally you want to leave a permalink to the source of that information so they can dive deeper if they choose.
    • It’s extremely valuable to make it as simple as possible for people on your team to understand what happened. So making a nice, concise summary post is really powerful.
    • Finally, you can go the extra mile to make things better than you found them. Why did your manager mess up the estimation of this project? Could you add some clear documentation around the underlying difference of these APIs, or do a brown bag for the team with what you learned?

    If you do that, you’re in the top 5% of new grads 💯