I’m working for a new client. Every time this happens I feel unproductive for the first couple of days. Just reading and debugging dozens of classes feels unproductive.
First I need to understand what the code does. Debugging every function is the best way for me to get into a new project. Recently I discovered Xdebug for this purpose. There is a gap between getting a new task and knowing what steps need to be done to complete the task. This gap is the lack of understanding what the code does. When I’m deeper and deeper into the codebase the gap is getting smaller and smaller. Until I reach the point where I know every facet of the codebase. At this point there is a very tiny gap.
It’s good to have colleagues who are into the codebase. I can always ask them. The colleagues to ask about the code needs to be coders as well. Not project managers or CEOs. A project manager cannot tell you about code. This needs to be a person who wrote the code.