I'm working in an open office, where there are various teams and various projects divided by tables.

My boss sits in front of me , and until now we've been using very informal ways to give us tasks like:

"Hey Anon, we need to fix this in the next 2 hours, let me know if you have issues" or things like that.

Now I have a work in our app that needs to go very deeply in the code, so my boss told me that I had to finish a part of the code in time X, and he would be working on another part of the code that is needed by my work so that I could then merge them and go further.

That happened 2 days ago.

Today I finished my tasks with 4 hours of delay (that was huge, no problem with short delays), and until now, my boss didn't tell me anything about my deadline or the code he was working on (which was largely written by me, so it should be plausible he could have some questions), so I have the feeling he did not finish the code, or he forgot to work on that (he is working on 2 other projects).

I have the feeling that I can't just ask him "Hey boss, did you finish the code?" in front of all the workplace, which can easily get him upset if any of the scenarios I described before would be true.

I also thought about mailing him, but that could be seen as rude or that I'm trying to low him down in some manner.

How can I ask that question? note that now I'm basically stucked with nothing to do.

  • 38
    What is an "evolutive?"
    – stannius
    Nov 17, 2017 at 19:29
  • @stannius I understood it was an evolution a.k.a. refactoring. I suggested an edit with the word "work", thinking it wouldn't alter this question's meaning. Nov 18, 2017 at 12:55
  • i'd guess an evolutive is an enhancement to an existing feature, or a new feature.
    – Thierry
    Nov 18, 2017 at 12:59

3 Answers 3


Just walk up to his desk and ask how it's going with his code updates and offer any help.

There's no need to make things any more complicated than that. He offered to do some work, so there's no harm in asking.

Chances are that he's been diverted onto something else and would appreciate the help while he does "managing" stuff....

  • 12
    I love these obvious "Just ask the person you need information from" type of questions. +1
    – Neo
    Nov 17, 2017 at 16:18
  • i just have the fear that this could be seen as disrespectful in his managing skills..
    – Anon
    Nov 17, 2017 at 16:20
  • 4
    Don't worry about that. Both you and he knows that he's got this task. There's no disrespect in making sure it's done and asking if he needs help since you now have some spare time.
    – user44108
    Nov 17, 2017 at 16:21
  • @Anon Just use Snows approach....the offer for help because you know he is busy as the boss.
    – Neo
    Nov 17, 2017 at 16:22
  • 4
    @MisterPositive, answers on SE breakdown like this: 50% ask your manager/HR/company, 50% ask a lawyer and 50% it's not ethical. ;)
    – cdkMoose
    Nov 17, 2017 at 19:48

You have two problems, the first one being that you have nothing to do.
That problem is easily solved by asking your boss "Hey, I finished task X, on what should I work next?"

The problem of his unfinished code could come up naturally from that. If that doesn't happen, try asking him in a way that won't sound aggressive, like "What about part Y?".

Also, sending a mail about something closely related to your task is almost never rude, and you shouldn't be afraid to do that. Work is work after all, and people won't come blaming you if you're just trying to do your job.

  • 4
    Its more than never rude. No boss will ever think anything bad of an employee asking for more work !
    – everyone
    Nov 17, 2017 at 16:27

The way you ask does matter. The best one in my opinion would be "Hey, did you had any chance to work on Y?" This would imply that you know he might have been trouble with other tasks and running late and will pave the way for him to say "Didn't had time for it yet" without taking the blame of being late in front of others.

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