After a discussion with my manager (also project-manager) I've come to some personal conclusions. - There may have been a communication issue were what was expected was not conveyed properly. - I've had bad attitude about some things.

Since I'm also bad at reading subtext I'd like some help on how to approach my manager on the following topic:

  • How to discuss the past to see if there was indeed some miscommunication about what was expected and what I understood was expected? And if so, how to fix it?
  • How to prove prove myself or how to ask how to prove myself in a short time (< 3 months)

Edit: Adding some information about miscommunication. It breaks down to two points:

  1. I'm developer in an agile team however management is not agile. As a developer in a agile team I worked for the completion of the goal of the team. When assigned task or priority I did not hesitate to ask for help when things could be done in parallel to close tasks quicker. I also help my teammate when needed. However it seems that it was expected that I do these things alone.
  2. On some tasks it seems I was expected to take ownership of a complete process and lead it to completion when I thought I was only to work on a subset of activity in this process. In our team there is no designated lead for this process.

During the previous discussion with my manager I was criticized on point 1 for having asked for help of my teammate. For the second point it is just my conclusion after talking with my scrum master. I was only told by my manager that the process had not been done properly. It was not clearly stated during this discussion that I was expected to be owner of the process.

  • I don't know what it is, so I'd say no
    – user97203
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 13:41
  • Regarding how to talk about the possible miscommunication, we could help you more if you gave us more specifics as to what happened, what you thought was expected, etc.
    – Jim Clay
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 16:01

2 Answers 2


Usually in these types of reviews, it is hard to answer at that moment with your manager because there is no context provided.

Ask your manager for examples. Then ask for advice. Don’t be defensive. This is the time to be in receiving mode.

As far showing improvement, it will take time. You have to be legitimately showing that you are trying to improve. Once people see that then they will have a different opinion of you.

  • I know that it take times for improvement to be recognize. It's just that professionally if I have to wait one or two more years before expecting a recognition (If I do what I should and If I'm indeed recognize) I'm practically better to just change employer for better salary/work environment/etc.and just work on being recognized there.
    – user97203
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 16:51
  • @user97203: seems a little drastic to change for that reason alone. How long have you been at this employer? If 3-4 years then I understand Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 0:49
  • Indeed, but you perfectly nailed the time frame.
    – user97203
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 8:45

This might sound odd, but are you SURE you're in an Agile team?

From experience with a client, they happen to love the concept of 'Agile' and constantly try to bring up 'Agile' in all of our requirements and discovery phases. However, from an actual project management perspective, nothing my team has done for them or been involved with has had any remote inkling of a true Agile project.

Our latest project for the client is the literal textbook definition of a Waterfall based approach, where we simply cannot move on to the next task until the prior one has been completed. We actually had 2 sections of work being worked on in parallel, but were explicitly told that they wouldn't test or even review the second portion until the first had been completed and passed through QA.

I mention this as some backburner thoughts when you approach your manager. If you just remove the whole 'Agile' concept, would you view your prior work differently? One of your notes was you thought had only been assigned a subset of work rather than the entire process. Try discussing with your manager why you had interpreted it as such, so you can both work on clearer communication. I assume you wouldn't have had an issue if you had known this initially.

For trying to prove yourself, I would argue not to. Doing your job and performing as they expect will do that on its own, trying to forcibly prove yourself might just sabotage the effort instead. I don't think you need to talk about potential miscommunication, that seems to have already happened. Instead, discuss how requirements could be more clearly written or you could ask for clarifications on company 'standards' that don't line up with how you view them.

I'm also worried that you got criticized for asking for help, thats a red flag, but thats a different conversation altogether

  • 1
    I personally stopped saying we're agile because management is not and we're practically doing nothing that is in the spirit of the agile methodology just implementing some project management method inspired by agile.
    – user97203
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 8:43
  • 1
    Totally reasonable. I would definitely just tune out any 'agile' references then. You should still definitely sit down with your manager. I don't know your workflows there, but maybe you can come to the meeting with some ideas for how to define task assignment better? Good luck to you!
    – Red Mage
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 14:12

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