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I've been in the team for a couple of years and about a year back, our team absorbed the responsibilities from another team which consisted of senior/very technical people.

For this process, there was a very huge amount of information to absorb but an extremely brief transition time was given by the management. This resulted in our team members burning out because there was a lot to absorb suddenly. Our team worked till midnights everyday for 4-5 months by resorting to trial and error mostly and figuring out their own solutions.

Now most of the team members have quit the company. I am taking on the responsibilities from other people and there's still new things for me to learn.

Now I have to ask a member from the original team. For example, when I forsee that a solution will work immediately but cause unintended consequences after a few months.

When I interact with this person, the one from the original team, then he always responds in snappy ways to my questions. He also takes a stance that these are very obvious things and gets angry in explaining about it. I try to explain that I'm taking this responsibility for the first time and that I'm going to ask them these questions only once because it's the first time for me. They respond back "that's okay" but still get angry with me and take up the same stance again.

I also find it rude when they behave in a similar manner in team meetings by speaking to me in a condescending manner.

How do I deal with this senior person who's behaving rudely towards me, especially in front of the whole team?

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I've been in the team for a couple of years and about a year back, our team absorbed the responsibilities from another team which consisted of senior/very technical people.

To me it seems like the general expectation (at least from the POV of those handing over) was that your team is now enabled to tackle things on their own.

Our team worked till midnights everyday for 4-5 months by resorting to trial and error mostly and figuring out their own solutions. Now most of the team members have quit the company.

This is the fault of your team (manager ?) for not having planned for the bus factor. Given that the knowledge transfer happened an year back, no developer would feel comfortable in being held responsible for it in the future date. I believe this to be the root cause of the frustration of the senior dev you mention. Why must he be helping you on a project handed over an year back? From his point of view, the expectation was that the team was already enabled. He may also need to dig through a lot of old details which he may not directly remember now, so this "boring work" can add to the frustration.

In any case, its a coincidence that you still have this senior resource available with your organization, he himself could have switched in the duration.

I try to explain that I'm taking this responsibility for the first time

So given the general expectation above, it doesn't matter whether you are taking the responsibility for the first time. Because your team already took the knowledge, the right source for you to refer should be your team, and not him.

I also find it rude when they behave in a similar manner in team meetings by speaking to me in a condescending manner.

Is this just directed to you or your entire team? I would say it is directed towards anyone who talks to him on behalf of the team (which currently happens to be you). So don't take it so personally.

How do I deal with this senior person who's behaving rudely towards me, especially in front of the whole team?

You begin by having empathy for this person. He may have his own priorities, commitments, projects, deadlines to meet. Being dragged in a project from which he moved an year before does not help him meet them. This person may have also faced a lot of heat during the earlier transfer of project, given the high expectations from management that you mention (when a bridge breaks people on both sides get affected).

One way to move forward would be to set a 1:1 meeting/small group meeting with him, and set expectations respectfully around his time and engagement that is needed. You may want to loop in a manager to get alignment from his leadership if that is a blocker.

But at the end of the day, you have to own up the responsibilities being given to you (or being thrust upon you?) and stop bothering the senior dev for the trivial affairs. If you think this is an over expectation from the management for you to fulfill, I would suggest to brush your resume :)

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There is never justification for anyone in any work place to respond in an aggressive/snappy tone to a question. That is a poor personality trait of that person and something they could change should they have their behaviour highlighted to them and they are willing.

If you are finding it hard to deal with this person/persons then I would raise this with your direct line manager as an informal grievance, then your line manager should take steps to discuss the persons behaviour with them and potentially bring you both together to discuss the best way forward.

From my experience, the other person doesn't realise they are acting that way and are usually stressed due to being overworked. If you feel comfortable with it you can raise it with the person yourself directly, or point out in discussions when you feel their response isn't appropriate. Always check the person is ok and not busy to answer questions before just approaching them, even suggest setting up a short meeting with them to go through a couple of questions you may have in one go rather than lots of individual ones each time. Always thank them for their time and say you appreciate them helping you.

If you continually act as if you are accepting their behaviour they will continue to do it.

If you have to ask lots of questions all the time then perhaps suggest setting up some refresher training with that team if possible.

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I think it’s possible this person is just annoyed that after a whole year he is still answering the same questions. It may not have to do with you in particular.

He might even like helping you, but be so swamped with his own work that any time you come over he cannot help but sigh and snap at you.

I know, because I do these things sometimes when a junior comes asking me something that seems really obvious to me, and I feel bad about it.

Of course, it’s possible he’s just an irritated ass, but I find it more productive to believe the best of people at least initially.

If he does actually help you out every time it’s a good indication that he cares. If you get sent off with nothing every time (not just sometimes) it might be trouble.

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