I'm an intern who recently joined a product based company. Recently after completing 2 tasks successfully, I've been promised a full-time role and right from that time my manager has assigned me to develop a new feature which requires in-depth knowledge about the product codebase and being a fresher I really feel incompetent to complete it within the stipulated deadline. I've not been given any induction/training regarding the product codebase.

Whenever I approach my mentor, who had been assigned to collaborate with me, says that he can't teach me everything and I have to figure out my solutions to my problems on my own. I really tried to cope-up and asked other team members working on other things to provide me KT(Knowledge Transfer) but they said they are busy and I should talk to my manager.

I'm still an intern just offered a full-time opportunity and I'm really not sure how telling my manager that I can't complete my assigned task within time would turn out and what impression that would create. But even my mentor once said that I have been assigned an unrealistic project that's impossible to complete with the knowledge of a fresher.

What should I do in this situation? I've been attending the office daily, sitting throughout the day, understanding literally nothing and then at the end of the day asking silly questions to my mentor.

  • The previous two tasks you performed, were they unrelated to the new one? Has your manager wrongly assumed you have the knowledge required, or has he expressed in any way that you will be expected to learn more with this new task?
    – user34587
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 10:44
  • The previous two tasks that I performed was totally unrelated to this new feature. I'm not sure what my manager assumed of me. Thanks for commenting. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 10:48
  • 2
    Goutam, the key is that you have to INSTANTLY tell the manager "Hmm, I'm totally unfamiliar with XYZ and know nothing about language PQR." So, within let's say 30 minutes of the task being assigned to you, you have to give that feedback. If you wait hours to do so, it looks bad. that's the secret to "not looking bad" in such a situation.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


I'm really not sure how telling my manager that I can't complete my assigned task within time would turn out and what impression that would create.

I can't say for sure how it will turn out - but it's highly likely that it will turn out much better than saying nothing and simply missing the deadline.

What should I do in this situation?

Talk to your manager, explain everything that you have done so far to try and gain the requisite knowledge (and what your plan is going forward to do so - be that getting some Knowledge Transfer time with specific people or figuring stuff out on your own and say that as a result you can't see how you are going to be able to have this project done by the given deadline.


Tell your manager that you don't currently have the knowledge needed to complete these tasks and that you'll need more time.

Also, tell him that you've attempted to reach out to your mentor and other team members, but they're fully resourced to other streams and don't have time to run through things with you.

Ask your manager if it's possible to release your mentor from their project for long enough to conduct some KT with you, at least in chunks (if more than one session is needed).

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