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Background Information

I work as a junior software developer for a large company and am a part of a small team of developers. A lot of our work has been outsourced to an offshore team. Recently some of their work is starting to come our way due to time constraints and CR's (Change Requests) are being dished out to our developers. Most of us are in the midst of setting up to be able to start on these CR's. However, there are a lot of issues at present (due to a lack of assisting documentation and a few other factors that are beyond our control) that mean we are unable to fully set up our local environments. We work in 2-week sprints and the setup has delayed our sprint by a week.

The Issues

I am having difficulty in assessing how to approach the issues I am encountering due to the information above.

Progress

I am worried that I will still be expected to deliver my sprint work on time. I think it would be unfair to assume that I am operating at 100% capacity given the fact I am not set up for development yet. Daily standups (basically meetings to update on progress etc) also take place where I am expected to share my progress, given this, I am also concerned that my boss will assume I am not doing any work, which is not true since I'm trying my best to get set up.

Time

Since I am waiting for documentation/assistance from the right people to get set up, I have quite a bit of free time. This feels wrong and hasn't happened to me before so am not used to it. I feel uncomfortable and want to feel useful to the team.

What I have Tried

I have spoken to my boss verbally and also used more than one form of written communication (IM and Email) to update him and also ask for assistance. On one occasion he told me to wait for the offshore team to get back to me with assistance but this hasn't happened yet. He has many meetings and the opportunities to have a proper talk with him are few and far between.

What I Want

I just want to be able to have the resources I need, such that I can get my job done on time. I am trying my best to work hard but it seems very difficult as of late. I don't want to come across as needy or incompetent, that is firing off emails left right and center to my boss and allowing him to assume I can't get anything done without his input.

Basically, my question is how should I approach my boss with these issues? Or is it not necessary?

  • The title seems to be the opposite of the question. Perhaps you meant: Dealing with long periods with no work finished? – Juha Untinen Jan 31 '18 at 14:50
  • Have you talked to your product owner or looked in your backlog for items you can work on without any dependencies? Typically when you're blocked on one thing you should be picking up something else. – ColleenV Jan 31 '18 at 15:01
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    See it this way: your management is learning the hard way that outsourcing may or may not be net positive, and you're helping them learn the lesson. – pmf Jan 31 '18 at 15:05
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  • At the stand up report your progress is that you are waiting on X. – paparazzo Jan 31 '18 at 17:04
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Document all of your dependencies and all missed deadlines that are holding you back, then spend your time sharpening your skills, ask for additional work, and keep busy any way you can.

This will serve several purposes:

  • You will be demonstrating initiative
  • You will be making the problems of the outsourced team GLARINGLY obvious
  • You will be protecting yourself when people start asking questions
  • you will find some way to be productive during down time.
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If you are working in a scrum environment (you mention sprints and daily standups), then presumably you have someone in the Scrum Master role. The problems you are mentioning with resources are clearly impediments that you should raise with your scrum master, and ask for their help in resolving them.

It should be of deep concern to the scrum master that one of the team is seemingly still waiting for their environment to be set up.

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