Two projects in, and I'm fed up.

Project 1

I was asked to make a unified control interface for several $50,000+ dollar pieces of equipment, single-handedly. I told management, "this will take months at least, assuming nothing goes wrong."

Well, things went wrong. There's a proprietary 7bit comm library the manufacturer didn't tell us about for months. There's a 50-year-old, poorly document comms protocol on top of that. And then there's the wildly inaccurate reference and user manuals I have to constantly make notes in and correct.

Okay, no harm no foul, but then the $50,000+ dollar POS quits working right after I try to establish a connection over RS232, per their manuals. ... Awkward.

Project 2

Make a videogame, as the only developer. I also ended up making almost all the art assets -- I'm not a graphic designer or artist. I told management that means it will take months, especially since I don't know all the requirements upfront, and will not only need to learn-as-I-go but make while I'm learning... And I was asked to teach the rest of the team.

After doing a huge about of design work, we don't have a working prototype because I was chasing wild goose "requirements," and then being accused of wasting my time not making an MVP. When I say "these were the requirements you asked for" I'm answered with silence. ... And my manager scheduled a meeting between her manager and me.

What's got my goat

I've communicated clearly these projects are difficult, and that I'm only one person. Management seemed to listen. Now they are on my case about why things aren't done and I'm asked to work over the weekend "because [they] work over the weekend all the time, so what's the big deal?"

The hardware I'm supposed to integrate from several different companies each has huge teams of software engineers, and it took them years to make their software/hardware. My workplace wanted their thing done in a few months.

Video games are very difficult. They want me to offload work, which I try to do, but none of the team can actually write any code... And I'm still left holding the bag.

When my immediate manager said "maybe we should hire another person," I replied, "you should" without much thinking. Which was met with a totally shocked look, I realize, because it was a suggestion meant to shame me into working "harder/faster/stronger." And now I'm shocked they are so unrealistic as to think this only required one person making software.

I should also point out there is 0% modern SDLC implemented (waterfall preferred). There are no kanban boards (or rather, the ones I've made the team refuses to use). Nothing is in Git (despite my insistence).

How do I drive home just how difficult and time-consuming these tasks are? (And just how unfair and unrealistic this has been?)

  • 5
    Question: When they were saying "maybe we should hire another person," do you think they meant hire another person so there would be 2 devs, or do you think they meant "maybe we should replace you"?
    – Stun Brick
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


You can and need to find a new job. Here are the key points why:

  • Your communications have been rarely listened and definitely not addressed
  • You are being asked to sacrifice your weekends (no harm if they pay you well and it does not affect your life negatively)
  • You are being told that you don't work hard enough although you single-handedly worked on the reasonably complicated Project 1
  • There is no SDLC in place or being followed, how do they track progress?
  • No source control/git, really?

Overall, this is not just a case of unrealistic expectations from management but rather a case of absence of management.

The fact that you attempted to work on a 50 year-old device with inaccurate documentation and that you worked on video games (complicated for someone who hasn't at all worked on them previously), indicate that you are hardworking. This is alone enough for you to find a better job where you would be treated fairly.

  • 2
    If OP is the only one in the team that can code, I'm not surprised that they don't care about version control. As an advice for OP: you can set up your own, local version control, installing for example mecurial. It will not save you in case your PC crashes and burns, but at least you can revert the code to a previous state or work on different branches. Just make sure that you don't use online services that have you upload company data to external servers, they might not like that...
    – Dirk
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 8:14

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