My manager works in a different city and asks for updates in a group chat several times a day. Me, and one other contractor were hired a couple months ago to work on a specific project. There is one other person (call him Bob) who sits across from me. Bob is sort of the "unofficial boss/go to guy" because he's been working on the project since the beginning and my official manager said I can ask him questions.

Basically the project is migrating a web app from one system to another. There are some sections have pages that are very similar to each other so I duplicate a template instead of starting from scratch. I was asked to assist the other contractor on a section he was working on. I asked him which portion I should do, and I asked if I could use the already completed pages of the portion as a template. He said yes and I've got this saved in the chat.

Unfortunately none of the pages that had appeared to be done, were actually done (or were done incorrectly) so basically I thought the section was done, told the manager that I was just double checking things, and keep finding things that were done wrong but the expectation wasn't clearly communicated to me.

Should I just tell the manager it's not as close to being finished as I thought it was, or should I tell him that the other guy said his section was done and I could use it as a template? I kind of feel like I'm throwing the other guy under the bus but it is true.

I don't believe in getting people "in trouble" or "getting mad at them" in the workplace, but I sometimes find this incompatible when something goes wrong and the manager asks for an explanation.

Additionally my understanding was I'd be helping him with his section, but aside from the couple of (incomplete) pages he did at the beginning, I did the whole thing.

Another thing was that all the other sections had a feature that this section didn't. I told Bob that it was going faster because it didn't have this feature. A lot latter Bob told me this feature was needed though he probably knew I hadn't been including it because I had mentioned it to him several times as an aside.

This is really stressful as the project is behind schedule and I really care about it. I'm feeling sick and may have to miss work tomorrow and I had told the manager it would definitely be done by noon and when I found all the other problems I told my coworker I'd come in early to get it fixed.

The manager prefers everyone use the group chat, but since I don't want to create ill feelings with the coworkers should I take the initiative to send him a private message, or only if he brings it up first that there's a delay?

3 Answers 3


You are dealing with a contractor and not a colleague. You are the face of the client, not his friend.

You are supposed to be double checking, and not doing his work. I would go further, and would say it is your duty to report issues with the contractor work.

I am afraid you will have to report what you are telling us to your boss.


The other contractor is not getting the job done. You need to go into CYA mode, and fully disclose what has transpired.

A course-correction is in order and it needs to be immediate.

The other guy LIED and put your employment in danger by doing so. This isn't throwing him under the bus, it's dodging traffic after he told you it was safe to cross the street.

Contact your manager and let him know EXACTLY what is going on and ask how to proceed. If the guy were merely struggling, that would be one thing, as someone can be helped and/or bailed out. A liar, on the other hand is nothing but a liability.


In situations like this, whether or not you're colleague is in the wrong, it will be up to your real manager (not the 'unofficial' one) to see all the evidence and deduce for himself who is to blame, if any one person is. If you are determined not to directly blame or get someone into trouble, there is a way to (possibly) mitigate the damage.

I've had this happen in long development projects; there are always unknowns or something taking longer than it should. If your boss asks for an explanation, go through the paper trail from start to finish. Explain how it was agreed between you and the other contractor that some of the other contractor's pages could be used as a template. It was on this determination that you made your estimates for time. It was later realised that some of these pages were missing crucial components absent from the template and had to be checked over again. In short, simply talk over your paper trail; requirements, future discussions, how you addressed them. That isn't the blame game; you're just giving your manager the facts and it will be up to him to decide who gets a telling off. It won't come across as you having a personal vendetta against your colleague.

In this situation in particular though, it really does sound as if there is little short of lying you can do that will prevent your boss from seeing where the problems originated, if he has all the facts. The worst case scenario here is that your boss holds you equally or more responsible for these errors; a situation I'm sure you'd want to avoid.

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