With how often software engineers change teams, it's crucial to be efficient at this. Learn how to get coding within a new codebase fast, build the proper relationships, and hit the ground running in general.

How do I give critical feedback to my manager?

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
Anonymous User at Taro Community


I recently started a new position and I'm facing challenges with my manager's communication style. It's making my onboarding process difficult and I've noticed it's affecting our team's culture.


  1. On my first day, there wasn't a structured 1:1. I received a call with scattered instructions about completing 4 PRs by the end of week 1. When I mentioned needing time for machine setup, signing up for health insurance and mandatory trainings, my concerns were dismissed.
  2. By day 4, I hadn't been assigned an onboarding buddy. When I tried initiating a discussion, my manager seemed to think it was unnecessary. During an impromptu meeting, I wasn't given a chance to speak.
  3. My manager suggested working during my vacation. During that vacation, I injured myself but hadn't completed health insurance formalities to see a doctor.
  4. In the first week, I saw my manager confront our designer aggressively during a standup.
  5. In week 2, I was abruptly reassigned to a different project without clear communication to other stakeholders.
  6. During week 3, my manager had a heated debate with our team lead during standup. When I tried mediating, I was told I could leave the call.
  7. Again in week 3, I was told to drop everything to complete a security training by the end of the day.

Environment & Manager:

Speaking with peers, it's clear I'm not the only one feeling overwhelmed. Our onboarding process seems disjointed and the team's morale is low due to constant shifts in priorities. This all seems to link back to our manager's communication style.

Seeking Counsel:

While I understand I'm new and might not have the full picture, I believe this issue is beyond just my experience. I'm looking for advice from:

  1. Someone within the company with the authority to effect change.
  2. Someone who has dealt with similar situations before.


  • Given what I've shared, how would you handle this situation?
  • How can I maintain high performance when it feels like there are barriers?
  • How should I approach giving feedback to my manager?
  • Are there any strategies to improve my current situation?

Desired Outcome:

With your guidance, I hope to find a sense of balance and detachment, focusing on my role while navigating these challenges.

I genuinely want to make the best out of my current role and contribute positively to my team. Your insights and advice will be invaluable. Thank you in advance.

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Editor's Choice
a month ago

How can I safely plan a difficult project for which I have little context?

Senior Software Engineer at Series C Startup profile pic
Senior Software Engineer at Series C Startup


  1. My team is going to work on a new project which involves upgrading a service and migrating/enabling all of the dependents to use the new service.
  2. This service provides a business critical functionality for our teams and the new version attempts to solve a lot of high impact pain points with the previous version.
  3. We have just inherited this service and none of us have worked with it or any of its dependents before. We have some support from the previous team that worked on this project but only in a consultation capacity.
  4. This is a project that has been attempted multiple times by various teams over the years - unsuccessfully or with little progress. My perception is that it's going to be a difficult project with low-moderate chances of success.
  5. There is a lot documentation but most of it is somewhat outdated. There are a lot of PRs as well but these are for the unsuccessful attempts so I'm not sure how impactful it would be to go through them.
  6. The plans for the previous attempts only had internal milestones for the team and a single big-bang completion milestone for stakeholders.


  1. How can I identify smaller, independent high-level milestones that are relevant for external stakeholders?
  2. How can I come up with broad estimates and capacity requirements for the external and internal milestones if I'm not clear on what these milestones would require for completion?
  3. How can I think about de-risking this attempt of the project and improving the probability of success?
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Editor's Choice
3 months ago

How to effectively onboard and train 20+ engineers for production on-call support?

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
Anonymous User at Taro Community

Hi everyone,

I work for a company that offers online web and mobile apps for US-based customers. As part of a recent re-organization, all mobile, web, and backend engineers have been combined into a single on-call rotation. Even though most of these 20+ engineers (mobile + Web engineers) have not much context about the backend system, my director wants to alleviate the frequent on-call rotation, and he proposes having a healthy size of on-call rotation that uses the "follow the sun" model approach, which involves training engineers in different time zones to have knowledge transfer about the backend system and potential issues. I'm curious to know how I can effectively onboard and train over 20 web and mobile engineers for the on-call rotation while following this model.

The Backend team has compiled a comprehensive support run-book log for each corresponding issue/alert, which shows the severity, priority, and range of the issue. The on-call rotation involves acknowledging alerts and following the steps outlined in the run-book.

Please note that the support run-book is not a 100% comprehensive source of truth since the production system is integrated with multiple 3rd party APIs and systems, and the backend platform serves as middleware for both mobile and web applications. There may be instances where issues are caused by third-party vendors and cannot be solved by the on-call person.

I would love to hear your thoughts and perspectives on this matter. I'm also meeting with my boss for our one-on-one to talk about his idea. This is still an experiment, but would like to get people's perspective. Thank you!

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8 months ago

Assigned too difficult work, what can I do?

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
Anonymous User at Taro Community

I'm mid level, new to the company.

I got assigned a chunk of a bigger project owned by a staff level engineer, let's call him X, who has worked on the product for a long time and has a lot of context.

Things that were new to me: the language, the tool chain, product context. The codebase is several years old.

My skip level manager (1 level above my direct manager) once encouraged that I should aim to finish my work in less than 2x the amount of time it would take X to do it (but besides this I received no pressure, or reminder to push for this target from managers).

This was overly ambitious. I worked longer hours and harder than anyone around, including weekends but still could not finish it in 3x the amount of time initially estimated.

The staff engineer overestimated what I can do too. He's very willing to explain but I had a hard time mapping his high level explanation to what happens at the code level.

I could not tell if the standard here is high or the task is too hard. So I leaned towards putting in more effort rather than voicing my concern.

I also did not have a good sense of "are these unknown parts of the code base grok-able with a little bit of time or do they require a lot of time?" to estimate time spent up front.

In the end I got some barebone thing out and he took over. Still took him a couple more weeks to get the thing finished. Along the way he solved some problems I'm sure I have no chance of solving in that timespan.

With this evidence I was sure the task was legitimately too hard for me and was comfortable letting my manager know my opinion.

Back up a little bit, when I started working on the project, my manager knew I could not stick to the original timeline set by the engineer and encouraged me to take my time to learn the codebase. What is puzzling is my manager did not tell the engineer about this unrealistic estimate. The engineer reports to a different manager and has been around way longer than my manager.

Maybe there is some politics going on that I'm not aware of.

Anyway this has been a very stressful experience.

What could I do better? What should I do to mitigate any harm done through this experience?

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10 months ago

What strategies are there to recover from an unproductive week?

Senior Software Engineer at Twitter profile pic
Senior Software Engineer at Twitter

I recently joined my team, and I've been sort of overwhelmed picking up this new tech stack which may be leading to some procrastination. I literally have to Google for everything I want to write. Twitter also has certain in-house technologies, which are pretty challenging to learn. I also started working on a critical project recently with strict deadlines due to headcount shortage.

I saw this as an opportunity to make an impact and am trying my best, but I wish I had more time to get acquainted with the stack. I feel like I lost a few days last week unraveling through the ambiguity and getting context, so I didn't make progress with implementation as much as I wanted to.

I am kinda anxious that I will miss my delivery in the first project which is not setting a right impression. In my experience, there is no excuse for missed delivery and it will treated as a red flag. It's a newer company for me and my org is revenue-generating. Given the phase Twitter is going through, this project is critical and hence I am hesitant to push back on the timelines too.

I also see mid-level and junior engineers on the project moving way faster than me right now, because of their tenure and familiarity with codebase and that can be disheartening.

Lastly, should I be transparent and discuss with my manager if I feel a few days haven't been productive? I don't see any way that will help.

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a year ago