In my company there is an employee who is senior to me, he has assigned me a task which I am performing currently. This task was assigned to me more than 3 weeks ago, but I am unable to complete it still.

At start, I completed everything in the SOP within 1 week. I thought, I did it, then we had a meeting and it became clear that he wanted more, so I worked.

Its been two weeks since, he has been busy, and when he finds time, he always suggests me thing or two to add up or optimise in the task at hand. I have gone frustrated because of this. My co workers also think that he is trying to optimise the task too much and ignoring that I am also a human.

EDIT: Task that was initially defined in the SOP is way different than what I am currently doing, I have atleast done 30% more to the original task in the SOP. The employee in discussion is not my Manager.

What should I do to handle and clarify the situation?

  • What relationship is this employee to you? You mention he is not your manager. Is he a senior person in your own team? Is he a "client" in the sense that he's a member of a business unit your team serves? What authority does he officially have to assign you work and/or change the scope of work? – dwizum Nov 27 '18 at 17:34
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    What is your team's process for tracking or reporting scope change? – dwizum Nov 27 '18 at 17:34
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    "Yes, that's a good idea, let's spawn a new ticket for it" – Richard Tingle Nov 27 '18 at 21:59

Depends on the use case, in my opinion. Requirements always change and sometimes only leads are privy to those changes. So to outsiders, it might seem like overkill, but maybe the lead knows something you don't? Maybe it's a very critical part of the system. Personally, I would see it as the scope opening up because of further requirements investigations revealing early analysis wasn't as thorough as it should have been. In the end, if the senior is expanding the task then it must be justified.

  • What if my manager is looking at things like; the task is being delayed by two weeks? – Rahul Bali Nov 27 '18 at 16:16
  • @Megadon Be honest. Say you completed it a week in, but the senior developer who assigned the task keeps expanding the scope. It's the truth. Then the manager will see the senior. Everyone is accountable to someone. A senior can't just assign work and change requirements and not be accountable to someone. You were assigned a task you're doing it. You're doing your job. The senior is doing his. You can't be responsible for the behavior of someone for whom you work under. That's just not how that works. – ShinEmperor Nov 27 '18 at 16:23
  • I did complete my work in under a week, and the senior is expanding scope. And he is still including the steps that are unnecessary and will expand my work and ease his. And mind you this is not included in the SOP. If everything he is telling me was not included in the SOP, I wouldn't be here asking the question. "I respect your time, thank you for answering." – Rahul Bali Nov 27 '18 at 16:38

Is he your manager? I would bring this up to the manager if not and see if you can find a solution together. If he is, I would mention that the scope creep is not doing wonders for your productivity.

I would also make a point of documenting requirements and sticking to them. Additional features should be separate tickets.


I've had this happen a number of times before; where there is a risk of scope creep, or a task starts growing arms and legs.

Ask your senior for a few minutes so that you and him can iron out a 'definition of done' for your task; to make sure you are both clear on the requirements and that nothing else gets missed, as well as ensure that this information is documented somewhere you can both see it, even if it's something as simple as an email saying "Just to confirm, here's what I noted from our chat about the project... Does it match up with what you're looking for?"

This will give you a chance to explain how the extra work will mean allocating more time to it. It also means that if more work comes along, you will have the opportunity to discuss if it should be a new separate task. If your senior insists on having the extra work tacked onto your existing objectives, you can again iterate that you both will have to re-evaluate the time involved. These things will happen, but in discussing it in advance as much as possible can reduce the damage / stress from additional work.

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