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Take a moment to think about the last week. How many small, or perhaps not so small changes to your ways of working have there been?

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How about over the last month? Have you changed the way you do code reviews? Changed your branching structure? Reorganised your entire delivery strategy from waterfall to agile? How many mistakes would you make in a single week, or even a single day if you tried to work without knowledge of these changes?

For example, if you were returning from parental leave. The fast-paced nature of the tech industry can cause large knowledge gaps to develop in those taking extended leave. This impacts people’s mental health and wellbeing, intensifies imposter’s syndrome, and further promotes poor stereotypes of what a real developer looks like. As an industry we are working hard to encourage more diversity into technical roles, but for many (myself included) being a part of that diversity can result in a painful mismatch between our personal and professional goals.

For women and diverse genders that chose to be parents, we work hard to get where we are, to prove ourselves in an industry that historically prioritises long hours, years of experience and the ability to keep up with the cutting edge of the industry. None of that aligns with taking a 6–12-month career break where your main concerns are nappies, bottles, and the last time you had a shower.

Today I am going to talk through how you, as Development Leaders, can provide visibility of key decisions to those who have been on leave, ensure they aren’t overlooked during their period of absence and how you can prevent cognitive overload when they return, guaranteeing your best and brightest return feeling empowered, valued, and ready to code.