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How long should I take on my first JIRA ticket?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Consulting Startup2 years ago


I was assigned my first JIRA ticket at my first official dev job, which I started about two weeks ago. Given my situation, I want to know how long my manager expects me to work on the ticket, so I don't end up underperforming or not meeting expectations.

Some background: before this job, I worked at a very early-stage startup (one other person and myself for about a year), so I don't consider myself a complete junior. Additionally, I don't know my official title since I came in as a contractor and the contractor title does not match the FTE title, so I'm not sure what is expected of me.

Some of my thoughts: I've considered asking my manager directly how long he expects me to work on this JIRA ticket, but I wasn't sure if the question was too noob-like or too forward. I've also considered that so long as I'm making progress (which I am), I should be okay (until it's not).

So, all this to ask, should I ask my manager how long he expects me to work on my first JIRA ticket?



(1 comment)
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago

    First, congrats on the job! 🥳🥳🥳 Getting your first job is so important, and everything career-wise becomes way easier from there.

    So, all this to ask, should I ask my manager how long he expects me to work on my first JIRA ticket?

    Yes, definitely!

    If your manager isn't upfront with this information, you can ask it in a different way like, "For past engineers around my experience level who onboarded, about how long did they take on their first ticket?" Something I want to mention here is that I wouldn't pressure them for a super exact time-frame like 5 days on the dot - Ask for a range, so that they're more comfortable giving you this information (and a range is better anyways as every software engineer works at a different speed). Another tactics is that if there's other new engineers in your team/org, you can observe them to see how fast they move.

    At the end of the day, your manager is responsible for your success. It's in their best interest to make sure that their new hires onboard smoothly, so I wouldn't be afraid of asking them for more clarity. Being open with this information is so helpful as it will lower your anxiety from ambiguity, make you more likely to onboard faster, and all this leads to more impact/output for your manager's team overall. As long as you are polite and tactful asking for this information, I'm confident you will get it.

    In a vacuum though, I would expect an engineer to spend <1 week on their first ticket. You generally want new hires to accumulate small wins to familiarize themselves with the codebase, so if it's unintentionally taking >1 week, it generally means 1 of 2 things:

    1. The engineer is moving too slowly
    2. The team did a bad job scoping out this onboarding task

    However, I have seen teams give really meaty onboarding tasks (At Meta, teams did a thing called "Hack-a-month" where new teammates would work on a huge project), which is why the best course of action here is to simply ask your manager or tech lead.

    Another thing I recommend on top of getting clarity with your onboarding task is to see if your manager can get you a dedicated mentor/onboarding partner. Here's a Q&A from an onboarding engineer at Snap which talks about this alongside this same topic of figuring out how long to take on a starter task/project in general.

    Here's some related onboarding resources as well that may help:

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