This might turn into a collection. Let’s see.


Joining a team.


To earn trust and reciprocity.


Demonstrate good will and good skill.


Observe what’s regularly tedious, bothersome, or frustrating. Do not choose something you think they should want; this technique is to show that you’re listening, that their needs matter to you, and that you’re willing and able to help those needs get met. (Examples of what you might see or hear: make unreliable tests reliable, speed up slow tests, automate a build step.) Then go off and fix it — or if it’s too big, a tractable part of it — as promptly as possible.

By the usual criteria, this is a great gift. They want it, they’d never get it for themselves, you made it for them, and it marks a special occasion: the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.