I'm quitting the company where I worked for one year. I was the only developer, and the product is a web application. The boss really appreciated me; he is sad that I'm leaving. He does not want to hire somebody right now and wants to call me sometimes for quick missions (a few days by month). I said it's not a good idea (because maybe I will not have time or will not want to work for it and other reasons), but he is sure of his choice. And he said if I am not available, he can call one other dev team he knows. And he said he will hire a new CTO(?!) in 6 months.

So, now, I'm preparing the code for my departure. Some classes are well documented, some are not, so I'm adding documentation REALLY everywhere. I'm coding more and more unit tests for some uncovered parts. And I'm adding more automated browser tests for critical path. I'm also writing documentation for day-to-day use (how to restore database, how to stop continuous deployment and so on) and documentation about architecture. I'm preparing code because I want it to be easy to getting started for the next developer (I will not have time to teach them anything, because it's in months).

The code is OK I guess (I worked alone, so I'm sure I made a lot of mistakes, but the application is pretty simple, I'm an experienced developer, and the stack is classic).

Should I continue to do this (add documentation, clean code, etc.) or what else should I be doing?

  • 6
    keep doing what you're doing. Well documented code is always helpful. – DCON Jul 20 '17 at 15:26
  • 2
    Only your boss can tell you how you should be spending your notice period. We random people of the internet can't know what the business priorities truly are. There potentially is something even more valuable that is needed of you during these last days (eg finishing a valuable feature that is at 99% ready). – Myles Jul 20 '17 at 15:30
  • 1
    @rap-2-h I down voted as this pretty much squarely falls into Questions seeking advice on company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies should be directed to your manager or HR department. that is off topic here. Even in its improved form of "What should I be doing?" the answer is "check with your boss on what is expected of you during notice period". Don't be concerned about the downvote or vote to close though, since this is related to a programming workplace a completely different set of rules applies. – Myles Jul 20 '17 at 15:41
  • 1
    @rap-2-h I didn't downvote, but I'm pretty sure it's because this could be conceived as a bit off-topic, as it's quite specific to the software industry. Oh- Myles answered why. Good man for explaining it :) – DCON Jul 20 '17 at 15:41
  • 2
    @DCON The issue of established members knowing what is and isn't off topic is compounded by the fact that in practicality we have a double standard between programming workplaces and other workplaces. If this had been about what to do in an accounting workplace during notice period it would have been closed in 10 minutes tops. – Myles Jul 20 '17 at 16:27

This won't be popular, but what did your boss say when you asked what priorities to focus on? If you haven't asked, that's your first step. The second step is doing what your manager wants.

Yes, more documentation is great for the newer dev, but your manager decides what is important.

I was in a similar position before, my manager insisted I keep pushing features until my last day. I told him this was a bad idea, but it ultimately was his call to make. You should explain the pros/cons of each but ultimately let them determine it. Stress the importance of documentation, but if your manager wants to shoot themselves in the foot... there's only so much you can do.

I said it's not a good idea (because maybe I will not have time or will not want to work for it and other reasons), but he is sure of his choice.

If you actually want to do this, you will want to ensure you have a documented contract for this (with an hourly rate associated with it and minimum "hours per contact" clause and some explanation of your availability - X hours/week, month, etc). Otherwise, you likely will find yourself doing a lot of "help" for them.

If you set your hourly rate high enough to where you actually would do the work either they won't bother you or you'll profit nicely. You should set this at least 2x or 3x your current salaried rate. I would actually recommend higher as all this work will effectively be overtime, so perhaps 4x your current rate.

However you can just say "no" too.

  • 1
    Private contractor rates are roughly 2-3 times your hourly rate as a salaried person, so keep that in mind when you negotiate. You should also set a limit on the number of hours you will be available. If you don't want to do this work, then tell him you are not going to be available at any price. – HLGEM Jul 20 '17 at 15:29
  • 1
    @HLGEM good clarification, I added that. – enderland Jul 20 '17 at 15:30
  • "what did your boss say when you asked what priorities to focus on?" we planned together a bunch of tasks including documentation/tests and he is OK with this (but more documentation means less new feature and he says: "ok, you are the one who knows, I would have preferred more feature but I understand your point"). We still can change what we planned (in France the end of a contract last 3 month) – rap-2-h Jul 20 '17 at 15:44

Documentation is always appreciated. Even if I have to rebuild everything you did, documenting your code well will help me do it correctly.

Also, it will minimize the need for calls to you/some other dev. It's a win-win.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.