So, I have this colleague (call him Mark). Both of us are software developers with more than a year’s experience (his being two months longer than mine). Since we were hired, he has been working on automating a product using Selenium, while I, after doing automation for the first four months, was given the opportunity to work in software development by my CTO. I continued there for six months and during that time, Mark, along with another guy in our team (who is in testing automation, and is three years my senior) was working on the automation of that product.

Their automation was about to get completed in six months but it couldn't because they were facing many issues. My CTO then brought me back into our automation group to start it from scratch and then complete it. We are in the final phase of of our project’s completion. The problem is that this final phase is getting stretched beyond the last three weeks.

Our CTO has pressured us to hurry up and finish all the remaining work as soon as possible. The problem is that my colleague (who is also my friend outside our professional relations) is working extremely slowly. The CTO has made me responsible for managing both of us and finishing the project quickly. But my colleague is behaving extremely negatively and says that it will take another month to complete the remaining tasks. Along with this attitude, his main problem is his own huge ego and his non-receptiveness to fast solutions, which I or our other colleague provides. I understand that he’s jealous of this, a notion which I get from our CTO. Also, when I was stabilising the test suites, I realized that 99% of the test suites had issues, was code implemented by him, and wasn't working correctly. The data he prepared had issues as well.

Realizing all this, I informed my CTO of the situation, who organised a small casual meeting and told my co-worker indirectly to be somewhat open to solutions provided by others to improve his work and to leave his ego behind while doing so. But after the meeting, Mark being Mark said to me that the CTO is stupid, so he ignored the CTO’s words. Now, he is working in the Test cricket mode in a situation which demands T20 cricket mode. I talked to him about what we all can do to support each other, but he simply said this task is impossible and is working in extremely slowly.

The CTO always comes to me to ask what the status of our plan is, and again and again I have to tell him that the work is still in progress. He’s scolded me about this many times over the past couple of days, which makes me look bad even though it isn’t my fault. Now I don't know what to do. Talking with Mark about the issue was futile, and if I were to inform the CTO that I'm not able to cooperate with Mark because of his negative and egoistic attitude, then he would definitely throw Mark out of a job, which I don't want because Mark is still my friend outside of work.

Please advise.

  • 1
    Take him of the project and get it finished. Dec 30, 2018 at 0:12
  • "CTO is stupid, so he ignored the CTO’s words." - sounds like the CTO will have to do a talk or two more. This is unacceptable in a team. Mar 25, 2019 at 12:14

3 Answers 3


The business world is cutthroat, and you are paid for results. Friendship ends where your well-being and income begins. Mark isn't going to pay your mortgage or look after you when you're sick. And quite frankly it seems like you are trying to be a better friend to him than he is to you.

If Mark is holding you back, you need to be upfront about this. If he's unable or unwilling to do the job, you need to tell your manager and stop covering for him, because more than likely Mark's attitude will only get worse. Right now he is sabotaging himself, his team and, most importantly, you.

Never mistake a friend for a work colleague.

  • But won't it be called backbiting if I tell my manager about his truth? Dec 28, 2018 at 15:49
  • 1
    @DG4 you can always continue lying to your manager that things are progressing when clearly they are not. Dec 28, 2018 at 15:53

You're essentially now the team lead.

What you say has to be done.
Apparently your other colleague agrees with your solutions.

THUS your decision WILL be implemented.

If Mark has a problem with it, you tell him it is faster and Management wants fast, not elegant or beautyful code.

If he still won't follow your lead let him know that HIS unwillingness will jeopardize the deadline and you'll have to inform management about his behaviour.

You might lose a friend (if he truly was one) but you secured at least a few more paychecks, possibly a promotion further down the road.

The very least you finished a project that he couldn't.

It looks like management realized btw. that Mark is not as good as you and that's why they gave you the responsibility and brought you back to automation to fix Marks work...

  • I will argue that team lead is never a boss over their peers and has no authority of how and when things should be done. They can help with planning and communication both ways, but generally team lead is not a step on a career ladder, just an extra backside pain for those who seek it.
    – maksimov
    Dec 29, 2018 at 23:47
  • @maksimov it may depend on company but as I know it and wherever I was team lead it was a superior position (mostly with higher wage) to "regular" team members.Leads implement and prepare general set-ups,templates and procedures that need to be followed for project consistency that were decided upon by the supervisor.They consult or offer solutions if members struggle with tasks.Often preliminary approvals before supervisor sign-off are included.They also may delegate and assign work to the team.Additional responsibilities may vary between industries and companies, even projects and teams Dec 30, 2018 at 8:50
  • if you want to feel superior towards your peers, fine, it's a common enough thing. But that's not what leaders do.
    – maksimov
    Dec 30, 2018 at 12:43
  • @maksimov it's not about what I want.It's called hierarchy.Helpful to structure purviews,responsibilities and authorities with command or management classifications.It is essential for businesses and other human endeavours to run smoothly,working towards a set(common)goal instead of a chaotic,aimless congregation of individuals.Besides: google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/english/leader - [...]a person who manages or controls other people, esp. because of his or her ability or position[...]a person in control of a group, country, or situation - so, there's that... Dec 30, 2018 at 13:18

In leadership communication is the key trait.

  • You must make sure Mark understands the expectations from the management regarding the timelines of this project. Engage Mark to come up with the plan to deliver the project on time. Remember, you are not his boss, you and Mark are equals, you have just been chosen to be responsible. Make sure Mark understands this and appreciates your situation.

  • You must communicate the estimates back to CTO, explaining these are affected by estimates given to you by Mark. You cannot give "optimistic" promises to the CTO if you know that the work will be done slower, this is an absolute no-no, it breaks trust and will negatively impact your career;

  • If your "friendship" with Mark is such a huge problem and is affecting your work, you must communicate this to the management so that there's an understanding of potential conflict of interest. This may be risky for both yourself and Mark.

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