I consider the initial stage of an engagement to start at the interview and end a couple weeks after starting the job. This stage is all about forming solid first impressions, building relationships with people, and gathering information about a project.
The first week is the most important time in any job. First impressions last a very long time, if not forever. Any negative first impression you may leave with someone is probably going to stay with others. How others perceive you and your work is their reality. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the first impressions you leave are positive. If you leave a negative impression with others, it will reduce your ability to be effective later in the project.
This is also the time in the project where you get your directions. It is essential that you understand what it is that you should be doing. The focus of your efforts should be toward portraying a professional image of yourself and understanding what it is that you should be doing.
1. Prepare yourself
2. Make a good first impression—be early, be professional, and form relationships
3. Be alert and gather information
Look at source code, design documents, automated tests, wikis, requirements and anything else you can get your hands on. Get up to speed on what’s going on.