Ask the NCG specific questions: Are you learning? Are you getting what you need? Do you have resources you need? Do you like the team? Like the job? Want to find out if right away if there are issues.
Manager profile: (17 managers responded)
7 QA Managers
8 Development Managers
2 Other (Interoperability lab, Advanced technology group)

4 managers from Sunnyvale
4 managers from RTP
9 managers from Bangalore

Ave tenure: 3.5 years (3 with 8 yr or over, 14 with 4 yr or less)

Valuable Technical Skills
Programming skills (C/C++) ( 9 mentions)
Unix/OS knowledge (7 mentions)
Scripting skills (Perl, Python, .NET) (6 mentions)
Software development skills (4 mentions)
QA/testing skills ( 3 mentions)
Storage knowledge (2 mentions)
Debugging skills (2 mentions)
Problem solving skills (2 mentions)

Experience with a software engineering class that
focuses not only on programming objectives,
but also focuses on the issues of requirements,
specifications, test planning and testing.
Top Technical Skills needed:
QA Eng - Scripting skills, QA/testing skills, debugging skills
Dev Eng - Programming skills, Unix/OS knowledge, sw dev skills, debugging skills

Also needed: storage knowledge, problem solving skills
Encouragement:(items to be incorporated in NCG mentorship Job AId)
  • NCG and manager should discuss appropriate skills classes to take based on skill needs
  • Point NCG to independent study resources on current areas of need
data captured in Competency Dictionary
Valuable Soft Skills
Seeks guidance/ ability to learn/ learn from others (13 mentions)
Communication skills (10 mentions)
Willingness to ask questions/ curiosity (5 mentions)
Team player ( 4 mentions)
Interpersonal skills/ professional behavior (2 mentions)
Self starter (2 mentions)
Ability to resolve items on time and bring it to manager's attention when things are looking difficult.
Top soft skills:
- Seeks guidance, willingness to learn
- Communication skills
- Team player

Other things specific to NCGs:
- know when to bring things to a managers attention and not spend too much unproductive effort
- Manager and team provide an open environment so the NCG feels comfortable and encouraged to seek guidance.
- Manager and team create an environment that promotes communication and being a team player
Challenges Developing an NCG
Understanding our environment, processes/
seeing the big picture (5 mentions)
Creating well defined short term goals and objectives (4 mentions)
Ability to understand the scope of work/ commitment to work/
responsibility/ accountability (3 mentions)
Only theoretical knowledge (3 mentions)

One of the most important aspect of success is a
well defined set of short-term goals and objectives.
There are always aggressive project deadlines - it is
difficult for the existing team to invest time/effort on
training/ramp-up of NCG's.
Top challenges in developing an NCG:
need to develop a sense of the big picture in NCG
- NCG needs to create their short term goals and objectives
- NCG needs to be able to understand the scope of their work
- NCG may have only theoretical knowledge
Manager and team need to understand that developing an NCG will take more time and effort than an experienced hire and allot for that extra time

additional conclusions from interviews
NCG may need an explanation of good work habits:
- General work hours (Dr's appointments and taking time off)
- Writing professional email (readable, correct grammar and spelling)
- Project role and responsibilities
- Taking notes
- Not a solo worker
- Build a network
- Read/follow and contribute to distribution list discussions
Big picture development:
  • Include NCGs, where possible, in vendor presentations and roapmap meetings and have internal post-presention team discussion to help NCG / team see beyond current projects
  • Manager (and buddy) should show examples of short term goals and objectives
  • Manager (and buddy) bridge the theoretical to practical/hands-on knowledge (application)

    additional recomendations from interviews (to be captured in NCG development/ mentorship Job Aid)
  • Encourage NCG to observe and adopt work habits/processes of senior level teammates and to discuss with buddy/ manager
  • Give assignments to the NCG: read this, do this, take over x sub-project with time limits/expectations, ask for weekly summary on projects
  • Set expectations with NCG that within a certain timeframe, they will build expertise in a specific area
  • Encourage the NCG to ask questions. "I'd rather have you ask questions than make guesses which can waste time."
  • Listen for gap in assumptions and expectations and gauge NCG's ability to be self sufficient
  • Ask the NCG specific questions in these areas: Are you learning? Are you getting what you need? Do you have resources you need? Do you like the team? Like the job? Want to find out if right away if there are issues
  • Development of writing skills section in Communications section Competancy Dictionary
Important Tools (already specified)
Bug tracking tool (14 votes, 82%)
Version control (12 votes, 71%)
Simulator (10 votes, 59%)
Debugger (9 votes, 53%)
Test structure (NATE) (9 votes, 53%)
Team meetings (8 votes, 47%)
Test scripts (7 votes, 41%)
Build tool (6 votes, 35%)
Email (6 votes, 35%)
Other tools:
Code review tool
Aligns with NCGs

Addition: Code review tool
Recommend these tools be captured in NCG development plan and competency dictionary
Important Processes (already specified)
Bug tracking process (12 votes, 71%)
Debugging (12 votes, 71%)
Software lifecycle (12 votes, 71%)
Version control (10, votes, 59%)
Team meetings (10 votes, 59%)
Testing/ Automation (9 votes, 53%)
Unit testing (9 votes, 53%)
Release process (6 votes, 35%)
Other processes:
Regular 1-on-1s with their manager for coaching
Code reviews
Aligns with NCGs

Addition: regular 1-1's with their manager, code reviews
Recommend these processes be captured in NCG development plan
Tools an NCG Should Use Consistently (write-in)
Bug tracking tool (8 mentions)
Test structure (NATE) (5 mentions)
Debugger (4 mentions)
Code review tool (3 mentions)
Version control tool (2 mentions)
Email (2 mentions)
Wikid (2 mentions)
Quality Center (2 mentions)
Automation tools (2 mentions)
Build tool
Cscope (analysis tool)
To do lists
Aligns with NCGs
Recommend these tools be captured in a NCG development plan
Qualities That Make an NCG Successful (written comments)
Motivated/ tenacious/ take risks/stretch goals (8 mentions)
Ability to learn/ learn from others (7 mentions)
Bring things to manager/someone's attention
in a timely manner/ seek guidance (3 mentions)
Good communication/ interpersonal skills (3 mentions)
Curiosity/ asks questions (2 mentions)
Problem solving and implementation skills (2 mentions)
Think big picture
Deliver on time with quality
Time management
Project management
Leverage other people's work within and outside of the company

- Willingness to admit they don't know how to do something and
ask questions of clarification.
- Willingness to take on tasks that are unfamiliar with the
goal to gain new experiences.
- Should not have the fear of making mistakes.
- Perseverance - need to have the mind-set to try consistently
till he/she gets it right.
- Hiding in the cube or not listening to direction is a recipe for disaster.

Recommend these qualities be captured in NCG development plan/ NCG job description
Importance of Buddy
Passing on group methodologies/
engineering methodologies (8 mentions)
Mentoring/ creating plan for induction/
another person to go to (5 mentions)
Explaining the company culture/ how things work here (3 mentions)
Explaining NetApp products (2 mentions)
Technology issues/ helping point to or find information
Buddy is considered important to the on-boarding process

Managers may not necessarily know how well the buddy is doing

- Manager, buddy and team should expect to spend more time ramping up a NCG than they spend with an experience new hire
- NCGs require a lot of direct feedback
Reinforce a process where managers check-in regularly with the buddy on their progress and set appropriate expectations of time and effort.
Factors Aiding in NCG success
- Ability, dedication

- Mentoring (two mentions) and team support (two mentions), being welcomed and challenged (two mentions)
- Clear support and directions, providing challenging tasks and assignments
- Quick and easy access to tech info (self sufficiency since they are in deep early)
- Communications within the group
- Making them part of the team, their role and its relationship to the success of NetApp
Managers and team need to be aware of success factors that aid the on-boarding of an NCG:
- mentoring
- team support
- feeling welcomed
- feeling challenged
- environment for open communication
- feeling part of the team and company success

Skills in order of Importance
Programming Skills (46%)
Testing Skills (43%)
Rmks: "This network can be fairly small for the first year, focusing on becoming competent is the most important"
(94 % felt this was important) 88% of mgrs felt that they had introduced their NCGs to the people that they need to know to work effectively.
Time management
Navigation of internal intranet sites
Presentation Skills
Project Management skills

Recommend that the order of skills be captured in the competency dictionary, and be used to help identify priorities for trg in a mentor monthly meeting
Email communication:
- have buddy peer Proof-read NCG's email for grammar, spelling, sentence fragments, ensure email makes sense - help NCG refine email and general online communication
development of Net App Communications Job Aid

Challenges and work environment
82% felt that the challenges are interesting and 88% of Mgrs felt that they gave their NCGs adequate opportunities to develop during their first 6 mos.
76% felt that the overall work environment is positive for NCGs (125 were neutral and 12% disagreed or strongly disagreed)
89% felt they clearly outlined the roles and performance expectations during the first few weeks of employment (12% disagreed)
Rmk "project Alpha made everything unclear"
84% felt they gave timely feedback on tasks to NCGs
89% of Mgrs have communicated how their NCGs work contribute to the overall success of NetApp (12% were nuetral)
"I am not ever sure how my team contributes"
Team Attitude
94% agreed or strongly agreed that their team has a great "go beyond" attitude
Majority surveyed felt challenged, and felt team had a " go beyond attitude"

88% feel that NCGs have the tools necessary to be successful in their job (6% disagreed)
Majority of Managers felt that they had the tools necessary to be successful in their job (more than NCGs)

65% felt NCGs were provided the correct financial and non-financial incentives

Rmk " I think our interns and NCGs are extremely well compensated"
NCGs are sufficiently compensated based on survey results