One thing that has always surprised me, and remained fairly consistent in all of the companies that I've worked with is that they don't seem to have the infrastructure ready for new hires. I always seem to spend the first week doing one of the following:
- waiting for a computer or even a desk to sit at.
- waiting for access to my computer or to files, folders, applications, servers, etc.
- setting up/configuring my computer - installing required applications, setting up internal website bookmarks in browsers, etc.
- waiting for licenses for the applications I need to run to do my job.
While I'm waiting for access or a license, I busy myself with looking for things that people with history at the company would view as the 'status-quo', but are really issues that could/should be considered problematic or improvable.
- Single Points of Failure. (email server(s), monitoring server(s), shared drive(s), VPN access, etc)
- Lack of network segregation between environments (can I ping/telnet from a dev or staging server to production?)
- Misnamed or legacy names for servers or monitoring notifications that are understood by employees but a source of confusions for newbies
- Lack of templates for common documentation
- Lack of exportable outlook email rules that can be shared with the team
- Lack of exportable browser favorites that can be shared with the team
- Consolidating and organizing documentation (critical documentation in 12 different folders scattered through different directories is a recipe for confusion)
- Lack of Automation - continuous integration through to automating deployment. Automating monitoring
- Preventing Fat-Finger errors (adding confirmation messages in start scripts)
So, next time you are on-boarded for a new IT position, keep these things in mind. Hopefully they can help both you and your new company. Also, if anyone has some other suggestions of things to look for, please add a comment!