What do you look for before joining a team?

Ben Riordan emailed me an interesting question a while back and I promised to bring it up here and see what my readers think. Here's his question:

When working with a team of developers what should I look out for / any best practices? (vs. working on projects as the sole developer)

I thought that was a great question. Here are some things that I'd consider looking for - and as always - I encourage my (much) smarter readers to chime in.

  • If you meet with the team, what's the mood like? Subdued? Relaxed? Fearful? I'm not the best at reading emotions, but I figure if I can pick up on something, good or bad, than I try to think of what that means for the team dynamics.
  • Are there standards in place? I don't care what standards - but are there any at all?
  • How are conflicts resolved? Is there a tech lead who decides everything? Or do folks do their own thing? If you have an idea about how to do something - what's the process to bring it up to the group?
  • I didn't want to include this because the assumption is that everyone uses source control - but - not everyone does. In a team this is critical. It doesn't hurt to ask ahead of time.
  • If the team has remote employees, how are they included in discussions?

That's all I can think of. Anyone else?

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