0

Is it bad form to tell to the team lead when a co-worker is refusing to hand-over a task? That is, is escalating an issue regarding who does what when (i.e. not a technical issue that can be debated on merit) to low management constructive or not?


I'm new on a project full of messy legacy nonsense, so I tend to be stuck on something that involves information kept around as "folk wisdom" regularly. I'm currently hung up on being unable to get FooApp to run, and now deploying my first changes to BarApp to the test machine. I asked the coworker that's to onboard me to check if FooApp even runs for him to see if it's just me, and he's been putting it away since last week, and now found out it indeed doesn't run from a clean checkout with the docs he's written, and is determined to resolve that with a senior. I've asked him to just let me talk to the senior in question since I know as much about that issue as he does, if the extent of what he knows is some documentation that hasn't really been verified, and to take over the deployment since that's what he does regularly. This after checking with the supervisor if that's a good idea, who told me that that's what how actually meant us to do things in the first place - the coworker wasn't to take over the FooApp issue entirely, just do a sanity check for me if it's my setup given that the issue I've been facing doesn't seem related to it.

I've now flat out told my coworker the boss said we're to switch tasks, and he said no, and probably flat out made up an excuse - blaming the senior setting some vaguely defined conditions on helping us out - to justify this; this while passively aggressively telling me I can just message the senior myself, without sharing anything they've found out so far with me. (I did message said senior, all he had to say is "well it works on my machine I dunno what more I can tell you", so I suppose I'm not missing out on much.) Earlier the coworker also tried to get me to verbally approve that it's right of him to focus on FooApp first, because the senior is leaving the company soon; I've refused him because it came across as wanting to cover his ass by shifting some of the blame for acting willfully.

I'm kind of exasperated, it's clear the coworker is being obstinate for whichever reason, and don't know what other options I have beyond either doing the same thing he does in parallel to "race" him to a fix; or pressing the issue to the supervisor to get him to tell the coworker to do the other thing. The latter feels like a political move, especially if the coworker's job is already precarious because of a history of playing fast and loose with responsibility.

(FWIW I'm leaving the company soon because I just don't feel like dealing with this sort of nonsense, I just need some survival tips until my notice is due.)

  • I've asked him to just let me talk to the senior in question since I know as much about that issue as he does If it involves folk wisdom as you say, he might actually know more than you do. And if it's his job to onboard you to FooApp, why not let him resolve whatever issue prevents your onboarding? In the meantime a status update to the senior Just waiting for X to get resolved, I understand Colleague will be in touch with you should do it – rath Nov 15 '17 at 12:20
  • "the coworker wasn't to take over the FooApp issue entirely, just do a sanity check for me if it's my setup given that the issue I've been facing doesn't seem related to it." He did that, and the sanity check failed. The most effective thing is for him to resolve the issue, since you'd rely on him either way. – pmf Nov 16 '17 at 11:03
  • 1
    @pmf - Failing the sanity check in this case meant the coworker really knew as little about the FooApp issue as I did, meaning he ended up doing the same thing I would have - addressed the senior. I only asked him for help with that one because I figured FooApp was running on his machine and wasn't on mine, not that nobody in earshot ever actually saw it run. – millimoose Nov 16 '17 at 12:42
5

Is it bad form to tell to the team lead when a co-worker is refusing to hand-over a task?

I would ask this question a bit differently. I would suggest you consider it more as though "Can I do my job without this individuals contribution?. If the answer is yes, since your planning to leave anyway, I would not make an issue of this.

If however you cannot do you job without their contribution, you really don't have a choice. When you discuss the issue (missing piece if you will), be factual, and leave your personal feeling for this individual out of the conversation. Also, remember to document everything you can in this regards.

If you have to report it, at that point let go from your mind and have the lead or your manager sort it out once you have reported it.

  • I can't really make progress without advancing on either of the tasks, except the one task I can advance on without his help, and that's the one he's muscled in on and will use as an excuse to delay working on the other one I really need him for. – millimoose Nov 15 '17 at 12:16
  • Although I suppose that means the best course of action is to indeed continue on the first task independent of him, and let him bear the consequences for working on it in parallel despite being told not to. – millimoose Nov 15 '17 at 12:17
  • As long as you attempted to work together, and can factually demonstrate this to your lead, I don't see what choice you have. – Mister Positive Nov 15 '17 at 12:18
  • 1
    Regarding the personal feelings about the coworker’s attitude, I’ve had similar told to me by management on another occasion, which is probably why they loom over this. That and my generally trying to be introspective to understand how my reactions to what goes on around me are formed. I try and avoid leaning on them in professional communication, but they’re still an inextricable part of the situation, and that’s the reason I mentioned them here. Thanks for the reminder of these boundaries and the answer as well! – millimoose Nov 15 '17 at 12:41
1

If it's just this

I just need some survival tips until my notice is due.

Then try to do your best work under the circunstancies. Be sure that everything is written down like on emails, so you don't have the problem of promises that disappear or at least you have evidence to deal with them. When you can't do your job because of someone else, if you already discussed with that coworker with no success then is ok to escalate. If you want to leave because of the way that this company works, I suggest you discuss this issue first with your manager, maybe something can be done to fix this situation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.