The power of shadowing people

It's difficult to take direction from people when they don't fully understand what they're asking for. They tend to underestimate what's hard and what's easy, implicitly assuming that they know the best way to do things. To avoid being one of these people, I shadow the people I work with, so I can get a better understanding of what they do. While ideally I'd spend at least a day performing their duties, volunteering to spend a few hours working alongside them is usually enough to get a pretty good idea.

Shadowing is a great way to accelerate onboarding. It provides an opportunity to build personal relationships while also educating me on how the team has done things before I joined. Without both of these, suggestions are easily dismissed because they'll appear to lack context or the appropriate level of specificity.