- cancelled a long-planned trip due to a delay in project deadlines and my backup person quitting, and received most of the cost back from the company.
- Turns out in retrospect it wasn't necessary as the deadlines then moved again and the original dates would have been fine.
- Now I would like to know how to address the current situation (if I should) with management/PM, and how to tackle it in the future.
I'm a lead developer and occasional architect in my company which develops projects for customers (the particular technology isn't important here). I'm involved in various projects but I'm the lead on, let's say, the Smith project.
About 6 months back (January) my partner and I planned a vacation to 'City X' but involves the cost of hotels, travel, etc which we obviously had to book in advance. We chose the dates based around the Smith project and its deliverables as that's been my main focus for the last year or so and most of my role at this company at the moment is the successful delivery for Smith.
At the time of booking, the Smith project was due to go live in June. As many readers will know... projects almost never go according to schedule so we didn't book the trip for "the week after the Smith delivery" -- I booked it for August, so around 2 months after that project was meant to be complete.
Although I'm the "Lead" developer, we do have other developers on this project, some of which are junior or mid-level and one other 'Beth' who is "Senior" developer and she is my de-facto backup. (The company would prefer that I'm around to oversee the Smith delivery but if I was out sick or something, Beth would be able to do it in my absence.) Beth and I both have multiple years of experience with this company and its code base which can be a bit... idiosyncratic ;-)
The context now
About 3 months ago (March) Beth has given notice to quit the company as she's moving on to a better opportunity elsewhere (to be a Lead, I think, so it's a good step up for her). I'm happy for her as her work was always excellent and she deserves to do well. She left a couple of months ago and the company is now recruiting for a replacement for Beth but shuffling their feet over whether to "promote from inside" or find someone via a recruiter, do they want to reconfigure the positions, etc etc.
Meanwhile the deadline for the Smith project has slipped, and go-live is now expected to be around the time I'd booked for the vacation. This wasn't directly due to Beth's departure -- there are more pressing reasons that I won't go into too much detail about but mostly are due to 3rd parties, incompatibilities with versions of vendor software that we are dependent on, etc etc. Smith are ok with this (as far as it goes) -- new deadline expected to be mid August. (2 months delay)
If Beth had been still at the company this wouldn't be an issue with the vacation as she would be a competent backup and I would have been able to hand over the knowledge to her.
However, since she left although we have other developers we don't have a senior-level 'Beth' type other than me, so reluctantly the company asked if I'd be able to cancel/postpone the trip (with any costs made up for). After discussion with partner I agreed as we don't have a particular reason to take the trip at that time (family weddings or whatever). A couple of bonus days off were given as well as vaguely making us whole financially (we could get some, but not all of the money back for the cancelled trip).
(Edited to add: the company refunded travel, hotels, etc. But there were a few other small costs I didn't ask for like additional fees we paid to the hotel for late checkout, advance tickets to tourist attractions, etc.)
I've now found out, this week, after cancelling the trip - that the deadline for Smith has now been moved again (mostly due to factors on Smith's side, rather than ours) and will now be several months later most likely... but with no specific time frame at this point. And that it would have been fine for me to take that trip as we'll now be mostly working on other company priorities during that time, which I'm not particularly needed for (other developers could do my part of that).
I'm angry and disappointed! I was ok (within reason) with cancelling the trip for the 'bigger business purpose' and not to leave them in the lurch now that Beth has left.
Now I feel betrayed, uncertain, and a bunch of other things. I feel like I can't re-book the trip in case the same thing happens again, that I have disappointed my partner (who thought we should push back against my company not cancel the trip, which resulted in quite an argument which I 'won' in the end, but it was a pyrrhic victory!)
I did express some of this to the PM who came back with something like "yeah, that sucks but when we asked you to cancel it we didn't know Smith were going to delay it like that" PM cheekily suggested booking fully refundable reservations next time! (which, as you all will know, cost significantly more. [I wonder if there's a line item in the project budget for that cost difference..!])
I would like to know... (how would the workplace.SE collective suggest I proceed from here?)
- Should I do anything further (if so how) in terms of bringing this up to management, project manager, etc?
- How can I approach booking any future time off given that this could happen again? At the moment I feel totally reluctant to book anything ever again.
- Did I do the right thing (I realise this one is more subjective) in agreeing to cancel the trip?
NB - I haven't (yet?) told partner that the Smith delivery has been delayed so it would have been fine to take that trip (in retrospect). Partner works in a completely non-IT field dealing with "day to day" workload (e.g. a call center) so doesn't really know about how IT projects tend to go and such like. I'm not sure what the response will be, although I know how I'd respond in his position!