Me and a group of colleagues now friends work for a medium sized start up. We were all working fine until our manager changed. We were given various assignments to complete before and after the change we are still given various assignments.

One of my friends who works in coordination with me has stopped working, citing that the new manager is not giving us the opportunity to pursue better assignments etc. We went to directors and while they listened to us because of our previous experience with the company they are not much help.

I have finished my end of the assignment and asked him to finalize things at his end however he refuses to work until he believes that the assignment is better and maturer than before.

How do I make him realize the importance of the assignments and make him realize that every assignment is different and we'll surely get better assignments as the manager settles in his position?

I don't want to leave the manager with a negative impact on our first assignment together since he may lose interest and/or gain doubt in our capabilities.

  • 5
    Have you told the new supervisor this? It's really his problem to resolve, not yours. Don't wait until the deadline to let him know what's happening. What your friend is doing is not cool. If he wants to stop working on assignments given by the new manager, he should tell him directly to his face, not drag you down with him. Nov 24, 2019 at 9:44
  • Are you using Agile or Waterfall project management methodologies at your company?
    – nick012000
    Nov 24, 2019 at 10:37
  • We try using the Agile method but it really depends on manager to manager Nov 24, 2019 at 10:51
  • 1
    What is your colleague’s goal? To get the manager replaced, or to get him to trust you with more responsible assignments? If it is the latter, your colleague is going about this entirely the wrong way. If it’s the former, for sure failing managers are often replaced - especially if they lose the confidence of the whole team - but the directors would expect the new manager to be given a fair chance first. Nov 24, 2019 at 12:35

3 Answers 3


You can have a whole discussion about how to talk to management to get nicer assignments. However, your first responsibility is to protect yourself.

Your colleague is going to get into trouble He gets paid to work and he's not working. And he's sulking instead of speaking up, which is going to create an unpleasant surprise for a supervisor/manager at some point.

Don't let his problem become your problem If your project fails because he's not doing his part, then you're in trouble too. At this point, the "colleague now friend" is not a friend anymore; a good friend doesn't go sabotaging your job because he's sulking.

You need to tell him (in a nice but quite clear way) that you're not going to let him drag you down with him. If he's not going to do his part of the project, you're going to have to tell your supervisor that you can't finish the project because of him.

This is not Agile Agile methodologies depend on open communication, not on passive-aggressively sabotaging projects because you're unhappy.


How to get my colleague to work with our new Supervisor?

It's your colleague not your child, exhibiting unprofessional behaviour that impacts directly on you.

You have already spoken to the directors, and tried without a positive result. You now need to protect yourself instead of focusing on protecting someone who is proven fully prepared to throw you under a bus.

It's only a team if it works together. Your supervisor needs to be made aware that your portion is finished and you're not responsible for any hold up. It's up to the supervisor to then develop a resolution strategy.

You're other option would be to complete the whole project yourself. This is obviously unfair unless you also take credit for doing so.


Depersonalize this. If you're doing anything resembling agile you have a short daily meeting where you mention "blockers." A "blocker" for you is the incomplete task presently assigned to your co-worker. You can't do a system level test of your work until his task is complete, so you're blocked. Mention that in your daily meeting.

It's not on you to get him to do his assigned work. It is on you to bring your "blocker" to the team's attention. It's on the team and the supervisor to figure out how to deal with your blocking issue. Maybe they'll ask you to do that work? Maybe somebody else can do it?

If you were a supervisor or startup founder asking this question, I would offer a different answer. It would involve either persuading your colleague to do his work, or removing him from the team. It would involve explaining to him this fact: almost all startup software development work is painstaking and maybe even a little boring. But success means getting it done well enough to get something useful into your users' hands. Your company is burning precious time and startup capital to get that done. And, it's likely that everybody has a (stock option) stake in getting that done.

You're investing your only irreplaceable resource, your time, in this company in return for your stock options. This bad behavior is wasting your investment. If your founders refuse to deal with this problem, their startup probably will fail. Don't let those founders waste any more of your precious time.

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