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I started on a project and have been on it for about a month now (since my on-boarding) give or take. I normally pride myself a good employee, able to complete my task to at-least my own standards. But, in this new project, I keep hitting "challenges" I would say.

I'm not sure how ask for suggestions from the team because I keep hitting too many snags. The management hasn't been vocal about my performance, but I suspect it's just something which hasn't reached me yet.

Overall, I can normaly complete my work. But I get stuck on stuff like creating unit tests for it. Since, I cant push my code w/o it, it blocks my work too.

Any suggestions on what I can do?

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  • There are several tools for online collaboration/screen sharing: Slack, Teams, etc. I work in a different time zone than half my teammates and find that if you adjust your schedule accordingly, you can get enough overlap to collaborate online. – Phil N DeBlanc Nov 21 '19 at 7:42
  • Completely OT as an answer for this site, but you essentially need to design code from the ground up so it can be unit tested easily (single responsibility principle, injected dependencies, etc.) If you get completely stuck creating unit tests for code you've just written, it's usually a sign that underlying code needs refactoring (rather than you need more knowledge about how to unit test tricky cases.) – berry120 Nov 21 '19 at 7:50
  • What stops you from creating unit tests yourself? Is it because it is someone else's responsibility, or is it lack of experience with it? – Helena Nov 21 '19 at 7:53
  • I am creating my unit tests. I tend to get stuck with them because I'm not familiar with the code base more than my knowledge of test suite. I recently hit a snag because I was creating a test for an event triggered situation. Hence, I had to somehow find a way to generate the event (as most functions are private). Then, i found that it was causing my other test case to fail because I was using some API which expects to be defined only once. Doing the same for every unit test (singleton object, so not deleted mid way), caused problems. – Bhoot Nov 21 '19 at 10:55
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Working remotely is not an inherent barrier to asking for help. Presumably, despite different timezones, your working hours will overlap at some point in the day - schedule a meeting during this time with a colleague for half an hour or so, share your screen, explain how you're stuck, show your code, and ask for suggestions.

If they don't overlap, then you may just need to adjust your hours one day so that you can do the above.

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In practice, you need not be in the same location and the same timezone to seek or provide help. There are lots of communication tools (starting from e-mail to a collaborated wiki page) which can help you in this regard.

That said, in my opinion, first you need to work on your requirements and estimation. Given that this is a new assignment for you, it's expected that you're likely to face challenges with the overall knowledge - question is what has been done to overcome that?

  • Did you receive the required induction / knowledge transfer for the assignment?
  • Do you have knowledge / access to relevant documentation are you using the properly?
  • Is the requirement and acceptance criteria clear enough to you before you start working on something?

In summary: Challenges are inevitable (and sometimes, welcome), you need to ensure you have a plan for that.

  • Use the communication tools provided to you wisely.
  • Seek clarity on the work assignment.
  • Work on preparing a plan / estimation before you start actual work.

That way, you'll be able to foresee the blocker cases and seek for any help / assistance in advance which can help you overcome the timezone gap.

Finally, if all of the above still does not solve the problem, you need to find a time slot which is convenient for all and have a meeting to get this solved. You're the one asking for help, so you need to adjust the time slot based on the priority of the person you're seeking help from.

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