I am a lead developer for my organization, which means a not-insignificant part of my job is getting familiar with applications I did not create and have not worked on before. I have termed these "new-to-me" projects.

These kinds of situations can be overwhelming. A new, complex codebase, one I'm not familiar with, is a huge challenge to learn in a timely manner. But it is doable. You just have to go at it one question at a time.

The process I use to get familiar with these applications is to ask a big series of questions and see if I can determine the answers from the codebase. These questions range from "does this particular thing exist?" to "do I know what X does?" to "who do I ask if I have more questions?" Getting answers to these queries provides me with the information I need to get familiar with a new-to-me project.

Exactly what question are they asking? Photo by Evan Dennis / Unsplash

I would like to share my process of getting familiar with new-to-me apps, with the hope that it will help you, dear readers, get familiar with the next one you are assigned.

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