How to get traction and become productive fast at a start-up, when it's a new domain and sw stack & goals are obscure ?

Amazon Jei39 7^kr
Aug 28 4 Comments

A few things first
This is my first startup gig . Sr SDE. I have 10YOE @ big companies, so still getting used to the usual differences like lack of documentation, process , some infrastructure (in terms of automation , CI , etc ).
To add to the challenges, I'm working in a completely new domain , new software stack and potentially new languages (Java vs Cpp before). I'm closing in on one month and feel the pressure to show productivity and gain confidence from manager and the team.

The goals set for me are very obscure , like "don't restrict yourself to one area, we believe you can add more value across the stack ,etc. "

Any suggestions from people who have done it before on how to navigate this ? It's not easy finding a mentor at a start-up as opposed to a bigger company .
What questions to ask the manager to get the expectations clearer ?
How to get a good command of the same stack with almost no documentation and a vast code base ?

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TOP 4 Comments
  • Expedia Group travelbug
    The art of shaving the yak. Or multiple yaks. Find the parts with the most impact-infra, actual code, automation, menial random tasks, etc. Write down 1-2 key results that would significantly improve productivity in those areas. Quantify them. Estimate the amount of effort it will take to achieve those results. Pick the lowest hanging fruit , knock it off, quantify, report on achievements, rinse, repeat.

    Best way for dealing with the code base is to take a few major use cases and trace through them. Map out architectural patterns, note down confusing bits. This is also a good time to take notes on the parts that can be improved in the codebase to speed up ramp up time.
    Aug 28 1
  • New wvVJ67
    I've had both a successful (exited a company) and unsuccessful attempt as an entrepreneur. I also work actively with venture capital funds as a scout. I can give you an idea of my entrepreneurial journey thus far. Feel free to PM! But just as an FYI, I'm a pretty young guy... not nearly as much full-time work experience as you. I'll let you judge whether you think that will be a deterrent.
    Aug 28 1
    • Amazon Jei39 7^kr
      OP
      I'll definitely take you up on that and hear your take on it.
      Sep 5