I am working with a developer who does the following:

1) Does not respond to questions you ask in a timely manner (takes anywhere from 35 mins to hours to get back). We're all working with some urgency to meet an upcoming deadline, so there's some need for responding quickly.

2) Does not convey all the relevant information of the work he's done that you're dependent on for completing the next task.

One particular example is that he wrote program 1 that did X. He then uploaded his files to a shared directory so we can use his program 1 to do Y.

I was under the impression that if program 1 did X, then all I need to do Y in program 2 is call program 1. But there were lots of editing required in program 1 that would enable it to be called in program 2 to do Y.

I understand that we had this misunderstanding because we work differently. The engineering teams I've previously worked with have the following way of working: any code they pass to you or upload that they say does X, will do X no questions asked. That's it.

There's no guessing or editing their files or creating supplementary modules to do Y in program 2.

Here though, is different. Basically I wasted a lot of time doing the wrong thing thinking program 1 did X when I should have done lot of supplementary things which were needed to make program 1 do X.

This is made worse by the fact that this guy is an incredibly poor communicator, he just doesn't know how to give you the right information even when you ask him direct, pointed questions that don't leave any assumptions.

How do I talk to this developer in a way that makes it easy for everyone, and I get the information I need, and can do what I need to do.

Is this a good way to work, and I just need to adjust my expectations?

edit: can downvoters explain their issue so I can edit the post accordingly? Thanks!

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    I suspect that this is too broad to be answerable. You are asking a number of different questions, each of which seems like a separate issue (i.e. the problem of getting a fast response is probably separate from the problem of the code that doesn't do what you want). And there is likely a fair amount of background required for each of these questions (i.e. was X perfectly clear in the specification or is it possible that the other developer had a different understanding of the requirements, who did you alert when it didn't do X, what did they do, etc.) – Justin Cave Apr 5 '18 at 22:48
  • To improve the question, I think you should make it more abstract and condensed. Leave out all the details, boil the problem down to its essence. If you have multiple problems (which it seems like you do) see if you can figure if there's a 'root cause' which could be solved to solve all those problems, or consider opening separate questions. – Cronax Apr 6 '18 at 9:40
  • What exactly is your role/job description in this scenario? The way your question is written, one can get the impression that you are supposed to provide specification-level descriptions of the task X to the programmer, who's job would be to implement them. If this impression isn't correct, then you might be speaking two different languages, and you might need an interpreter who can take your requirements and translate them to tasks the programmer can implement. – Michael Schumacher Apr 6 '18 at 14:34
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    You need to both lower your expectations while simultaneously finding other strategies to communicate. It's difficult to communicate technical details, and in my experience only about a half of people do it reasonably well. That's just life, and I've had to deal with poor communicators in every job I've been in. However, doing things like establishing a better relationship or finding their preferred method of communication can help. – Slothario Apr 6 '18 at 19:18

I honestly think all you need to do is get him to show/demo the information he is telling you. This will clear up any misunderstandings. Don't spend allot of time trying to figure out what he means, this is a very inefficient way of working. If something isn't clear straight away, simply ask him about it in person. Something like:

Hey mate, thanks from uploading that thingy in that place which does that thing. Can you show me how I use it ? Cheers.

  • Like I said, asking him questions doesn't clear up anything as he will say one thing, and there will be ten different things he leaves out. I have started asking in person as opposed to sending text/chats. We even showed each other our screens, and then he'll still leave out something that was crucial or hold back something that could have helped. I don't know what else questions to ask. – user232323 Apr 6 '18 at 1:12
  • Bring your laptop and sit next to him and both do it together. – Snickers3192 Apr 6 '18 at 1:16
  • We did that, it did not help. – user232323 Apr 6 '18 at 3:22
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    I don't know what to tell you user1234, I'd suggest you could cast a spell on your compute, or buy the exact same computer as his and swap, but you would just reply with, 'did not help', there is no helping you. – Snickers3192 Apr 6 '18 at 5:29

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