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I have been working for 1 year now in a tech company as an Expert Unity 3D developer. And few days ago, I got "promoted" to a new project. It is a Unity3D project that a customer paid for (with a huge sum of money). And I have 5 days to help to finish it. But here are the problems in this project:

  • The technical manager onboarded me to the project in few hours before quitting the project, leaving everyone else working on the project "alone"
  • I've got about a dozen Unity bugs to solve in 5 days (resolving by someone who knows Unity and understands the bugs), which is impossible in 5 days.
  • We are a group of 10 people, and I am the only one who knows Unity, and other people are not programming oriented. Some of them are interns.
  • If the project is still buggy in 5 days, the company will lose a potential customer's future contracts, which can be valued at few dozen millions of dollars
  • The project uses Unity's "collab" services, which use third-party cloud services. So customer's information may be somewhere on the earth and could be accessible by Unity (and so, can create lawsuits led by the customer). None of us have Unity Pro (mandatory for professional projects like this. I must get information, but Unity could initiate lawsuits too, I think)

My superiors know the situation. All members of the project are not motivated anymore. So, in your opinion, what would you do in this situation? Tell the truth to the customer? Let the project end buggy? Let me know what's on your mind.

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    Have you consulted with your boss on how to proceed? – DarkCygnus Jan 29 at 23:47
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    Is the Technical Manager that 'taught' you the project still with the company? Was there a different Unity expert person on the project before you? It seems like others are trying to distance themselves from the project before the official failure. – Mr.Mindor Jan 30 at 16:16
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    "If the project is still buggy in 5 days, the company will lose a potential customer's future contracts" - how do you know this? – Filip Milovanović Jan 30 at 22:07
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    Any chance we get to know what happened after those 5 days are over? Really interested – glace Jan 31 at 10:57
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    @glace This could well be a hypothetical question to be used in an interview to see how possible candidates would handle this situation and Matthews answer just made it into their answer-sheet as the one a interviewer would want to hear. If it's a real situation the OP is facing then I would be interested in a follow-up as well.. ;) – iLuvLogix Feb 3 at 15:22

13 Answers 13

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You should be focused on a lifeboat for yourself

Someone promoted you to lead a project with just 5 days remaining which is an absolute disaster? With only 5 days, it seems that they should have chosen an interim leader from the team itself. Unless they informed you of all these problems ( mostly interns, Unity license issues, and the exceedingly high stakes) before you accepted the job, you are being set up as the scapegoat or work for people lacking curiosity/skill/the ability to check up on things.

I would inform my superiors of the problems in a formal letter (I would make all sorts of excuses to avoid anything other than writing emails to maintain the paper trail) and start job hunting. I suspect that you will need one in a little bit anyway. Whoever promoted you handed you a steaming pile of crap and a toothpick to deal with it.

If you trust management at least somewhat, inform them in detail of the problems and that the project is nowhere close to completion. If they take sufficient corrective action and don’t put the onus on you for meeting the deadline, then you can consider staying. Otherwise, just execute on the departure plan you were already preparing.

If you don’t trust management, send the same email and do just enough work to avoid being called a slacker while you job hunt. Essentially write the company off at that point.

If you really don’t trust them and think you have been set up, resign effective immediately if you can afford to. I wouldn’t want my name attached to a major project just before it collapsed, especially if it is a major enough project people would know about.

Be careful thinking that you will find a way to save the project. I can’t say definitively that it is impossible, but things do not look good. And you will be held to account for claiming (or even saying that you will try) that you can complete the project. Your developers may balk at crunch, they could have their departure plans set, a lot of the seemingly working code could be garbage, etc.

Time to build yourself a lifeboat and paddle out of there before your manager tries to serve your head up for the failure of the project.

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    Really clear and complete answer. Thank you for your time writing it. I was thinking about the idea to leave this actual job, because the management here had some serious issues before, but not as far like it. FYI, i have been automaticaly linked to the project, and nobody asked if i wanted it or not. So, all the bullet points on my post are things that i learned 24h to 72h after being involved in it. – FrancoisL Jan 30 at 10:39
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    I cant agree more with that analysis of the situation. I strongly suggest to hear the Matthew Gaiser advice and distant yourself from this project as much as you can, up to resignation, stating all the issues with the project and fact that you have just been assigned to it. – Strader Jan 30 at 14:58
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    That part is not clarified in the question, but to me it sounded like a small-ish company earning money with Unity projects? Which is why they previously had 2 people skilled in Unity and now are down to 1, which is why the project worth "a few dozen millions of dollars" is assigned to the only option left. If that's the situation, them getting rid of the last bit of know-how about Unity is a lot less likely. If it's more of a corporate setting though, this answer is much more likely. – R. Schmitz Jan 30 at 20:49
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    Being set up as a scapegoat does sound as an option. However, the ridiculously close deadline speaks against it. "FrancoisL couldn't finish the project in 5 days, he's the one to blame!" Not remotely plausible. So, as long as the office politics are considered, the OP's role could be the Truth Finder, the one who points out all the flaws in the previous project (mis)management and reveals new reality to the amazed bosses. – IMil Jan 31 at 3:15
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    @IMil they drop "in 5 days" from that sentence and then it becomes perfectly plausible. They do it without OP in the room and then OP must correct the record after blame has already been assigned. I've had to defend myself on qualifications like that and 1/3 of the time the response is "no excuses", 1/3 of the time they fail to understand that detail and focus on "couldn't finish the project", and only 1/3 of the time do they get it. – Matthew Gaiser Jan 31 at 7:35
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So, in your opinion, what would you do in this situation ? Tell the truth to the customer ? Let the projet ended bugged ?

I would go ASAP with my boss and expose to them the situation. Tell them that, as of this moment, you lack the resources to finish the project on time.

Call them, write them... whatever you have to do to contact them, as this is critical.

Ask what can be done to get the project on time.

Do this in writing also; an email is ok. This way you have evidence to back up your claims in the future (so you are not used as a scapegoat).

And in the meantime, continue working on the bugs normally (seems from your comment that this is what your manager told you to do until the deadline).

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    I had'nt thaught about writen evidences like mail. A lot of comunication was oral or by phone, so a full mail to clarify this again, and clearly could be useful. – FrancoisL Jan 29 at 23:59
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    @FrancoisL Just in case, it might also be worthwhile to BCC someone else who you trust and make a saved copy of the emails incase anyone tries to throw you under the bus. Also don't talk to the customer yourself. Let the boss handle all that. – Shadowzee Jan 30 at 4:35
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    @FrancoisL I would recommend you actually print out relevant e-mail(s) or otherwise get paper copies; if the e-mail servers are controlled by your firm, they can theoretically be wiped at any time, which would prevent you from accessing evidence to protect yourself. – SeldomNeedy Jan 30 at 20:21
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    And if important dialogue occurs verbally, follow it up with an email like, "Just to confirm our discussion from earlier today, this is my understanding of what we talked about... ...please let me know ASAP if I have misunderstood anything or missed anything". Then your are also covered for phone and face-to-face calls, because you've noted it in writing is such a way that the other party also has effectively agreed to your version of the conversation, or otherwise informs you of their version of it. – Son of a Beach Jan 31 at 0:37
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    Re: "Wiping out e-mails is hard". I beg to differ, @Graham; my own org does this all the time on individual messages to mitigate phishing attempts. As soon as they do and Outlook gets a connection, the messages are toast even on your local machine. At the very least, messages should be saved to hardware that OP personally controls. – SeldomNeedy Jan 31 at 0:58
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If the company is to survive, you can either become the scapegoat - or profile yourself in professionally handling a horrible situation.

You should concentrate on writing down and communicating the problems of this project.

As it sounds, 5 days may be too few for even this task, but try to get at least that one done.

  • Where are the issues of the project? Technically & organisationally
  • How can these issues be solved
  • How much additional time will be needed

Prepare this information for your boss. Communicate that.

When talking to your boss find out, if:

  • the customer even knows that some issue exists
  • the customer is prepared to wait somewhat longer - as this should have been obvious for long enough

Five days before deadline someone should at least have communicated there are still some issues to tackle... If not, the customer should at least be informed in a structured way and know how much more time it will take. Without a proper schedule you will not be able to tell the customer. There are always issues in every project and sometimes deadlines will be missed. The question is, how professionally such situations are handled. This is your task now. Communicate, communicate and communicate.

And order a book for your boss for future projects: "The mythical man month". Your situation is the exact example made in this book. If a project is failing never ever try to throw more or other developers onto it. Seems bosses in software industry have been the same for the last 40 years.

  • "If a project is failing never ever try to throw more or other developers onto it." In this case, the one exception to that would be to locate a Unity rockstar, and give them a briefcase full of money to fix the problems. And communicate - Send information up the managerial chain, and let decisions come down. – PeteCon Jan 30 at 23:59
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For the company's benefit: There should be a discussion between you, your manager, and someone who can make decisions about multi-million projects.

Fact is that there will not be a bug-free product in five days time, that is a given. Fact, that must be communicated clearly to someone higher than your manager, is that there is nothing that you could do about this, and that if it goes pear shaped, it's your manager that should be fired, not you. Fact is that this is very, very time critical.

The one higher up has to make a decision whether to lose many millions, whether to go to the customer grovelling and somehow managing to reduce the cost (that is something outside your league and outside your manager's league), or to ship a product with bugs and suffer from the loss of reputation and some additional cost for fixing bugs.

So that is one thing that you need to get going. And the other thing is, you need to do everything you can to put the software into a shape where it doesn't have obvious bugs, so that it can be given to the customer, and accepted by the customer. A customer will always find problems with the software after accepting it, and they don't know if there are problems that you knew about. So "free of known bugs" is not the criterion, but "free from bugs that make the customer reject acceptance of the software costing us millions", that is the criterion.

So there is a chance coming out of this as a hero, and a chance of coming out of this with no job. Depends on you.

  • It's a somewhat big jump to assume that the manager can't make decisions about the projects, and it's very likely not a good move to go above the manager's head, especially on a new team. – Mars Jan 31 at 2:46
  • This project could cost the company dozens of millions in list contracts. Way out of the league of his manager. Especially since this is not a development problem, but a business problem. – gnasher729 Jan 31 at 16:00
  • You should also evaluate these bugs if they are critical or not for customer. Critical ones should be fixed if possible before release or at least have some workaround implemented that hides them or reduces their severity. For non-critical ones you can prepare list of known issues with workaround (if exists). This list may be sent to customer later if necessary. – Daniel Frużyński Jan 31 at 16:16
  • @DanielFrużyński Not without something higher up agreeing. it seems a situation where you don't want the customer to have any suspicion that you knowingly sold them faulty work. And you'll have to fix problems anyway; I would focus (after someone higher up agrees) on fixing problems they report asap so the company looks reliable and responsive. But that is all for the future; most important is what to do this week. – gnasher729 Jan 31 at 19:27
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Crisis management is sometimes about shaking things up, flipping over the tables (metaphorically), "dropping your tools" and getting out of a rut. You have demotivated staff and an impossible project. Keeping quiet and letting it fail isn't an option; neither is whining about it or ignoring it. You need to take charge of the situation and show the path forward even if you don't have formal authority to approve it.

It is important not only to show the team, and your managers, that the situation has changed, but also the customer must know that a new 'crisis manager' has been appointed to the team and there is a new plan to deliver. Remember, the customer has certainly known that the project was behind schedule and buggy, and they want it fixed. They are probably ticked off at the previous project manager and don't like "the way things are going". Feel free to build rapport by telling them about all the things that the previous manager did wrong, or failed to do, and make it clear that there's a new sheriff in town.

Your plan should be presented to the client directly (not through your boss or a sales department) and should include:

  • Identify what you will do and what you're not going to do. List the 12 specific bugs you will fix and announce a "freeze" on any other code/features until after release.

  • Give a new timeline for doing specifically those things.

  • Tell them exactly what you need if they want this to succeed (i.e., the "pro" software licences today). Be a little tactful here; don't accuse your own manager of being cheap or incompetent or flouting the law, just tell the client that this is something we need you to pay for without dwelling on why you don't already have it.

  • Explain the problem with the 3rd-party services and tell them what they must do or decide because (as part of your code freeze) you're not going to deal with it until after the release

In short, you make it clear that the current situation has a problem and that you are a new team leader who is 100% determined to fix what's broken about it, and you have a plan. They can take it or leave it. If they have millions of dollars invested in it, they're going to want to save the project rather than see it fail. Your boss or your sales department may try to discourage you from talking to the client directly, because (conciously or not) they enjoy the privilege of owning the client relationship, but they will thank you later for saving the project. "Better to ask forgiveness than permission".

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    This assumes that the customer knows what's going on. It's entirely possible that they have no idea because (previous) management just told them, "Sure, no problem. It will be ready on day X." – Llewellyn Jan 30 at 18:52
  • This is a customer that supposedly has multiple millions of dollars invested in this 10-person team, and the deadline is 5 days away. I'm sure they've paid some attention to it. – workerjoe Jan 30 at 20:54
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    @Llewellyn Then you can blame that on the previous manager. The customer may lose their shit, but you can make it clear it wasn't you. It can be good to agree with them that the situation sucks, albeit without admitting liability which would screw your company over. But the main thing is to show you've got a plan, and that plan is workable. I've been there myself, although not to this extreme extent, but the customer then really appreciated being kept in the loop on the gap analysis and everything like that. – Graham Jan 30 at 23:41
  • It's not clear to me from the way that the question is written that the OP has authority to talk directly to the client. – Michael Kay Jan 31 at 19:05
  • @MichaelKay If I were in the OP's situation I'd talk to the client anyway, formal authority be darned. If he's explicitly forbidden from doing so, then he's being set up as the fall guy for the project failure, and he is not bound by honor to play along. – workerjoe Jan 31 at 19:34
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You need an emergency meeting with the top management (the highest people whose heads are rolling if this project crashes and burns).

You don't clearly say if you've become the manager of the project or the lead developer. If you are the manager you must call for this meeting, right now, with zero delay. If not, you must insist that the manager does so.

You may be able to find outside help to save your ass. A few real Unity cracks who can bail you out. For top $$$, of course, but the damage will still be less than if the project crashes. But that's why you need top management involved, because you need a person on the table with the necessary spending authority.

You also need an emergency communication to the customer. Depending on what he knows or not, the nature of the project and the contract signed, it may be possible to announce or negotiate a delay to buy the necessary time.

You must escalate this and make it very clear in writing that this is the situation you found upon taking up the new role and that you are very much certain that unless emergency actions are taken immediately, the project will fail to deliver on time. This you must do to cover your own ass and avoid becoming the fall guy.

6

A lot of people are telling you to cut and run. But that's because of the level of drama you are creating about this, which obviously reflects a very high level of discomfort and anxiety. Which makes you a bad fit to be a crisis manager. They need someone to right the ship. It's possible they're in trouble because the last person wasn't honest with management.

Your liability is limited

As a W-2 employee, you don't have personal liability for the results here in a legal sense. The customer cannot come after you personally in any way.

It is a Unity3D project that a customer paid for (with a huge sum of money)

If the project is still buggy in 5 days, the company will lose a potential customer's future contracts, which can be valued at few dozen millions of dollars

Those are a big bag of not your problem/not your job.

It's easy to get a hero complex and think the result is "all on you". But it's not. It rests squarely on the shoulders of others, who have skin in the game: They've invested their capital in this business, and their personal wealth floats or sinks based on their decisions.

As for the impending crisis, you don't know. It was their job to have their finger on the pulse of their project, and be in constant communication with the customer about it. It's quite possible they are already having the "gonna be late" conversation with the customer, and the owners and the customer are sorting this out. Not your problem.

So customer's information could be accessible by Unity (and so, can create lawsuits led by the customer). None of us have Unity Pro (Unity could initiate lawsuits too, I think)

They can't sue you. You're just an employee. You're protected by the corporate veil, you're not a director, officer or high manager, so you don't have the particular kind of fiduciary duty that is sueable. And you're not a lawyer, and you're not privy to the company's legal work product, so you really don't know.

You should say something like "I am not sure we have the correct Unity software license for what we are doing, please have Legal check it" and your work is done.

So it's gonna be late

First, absolutely very first thing, you must report to management that it is late, and a coarse sense of how far behind, vis-a-vis the parts that are your responsibility. It is more important to do this fast, than to thoroughly research it, so spend 1 hour not 2 days writing this report. This is the stuff they need to know to make their business decisions.

Your next task is to formulate a plan to get your parts done ASAP, albeit late. You'll want to develop that in the next day or two tops. Set up a realistic timeline, and put that in another written report. That is your job.

These are CYA reports. They go on paper. Put a copy in your car before you present it to them, and then hand deliver or present to their admin assistant or their manager. Also send an email PDF. They don't need to know about the copy you keep for yourself. That's a "get out of jail free" card in the unlikely event you need it, but I'm hesitant to say that because I don't want you going into a panic. You won't need it.

Not that this is any of your business, but what's really going to happen here is the deadline is going to come and go, and the company will have talks with the customer and try to figure out what to do next and how to best preserve value. Almost certainly, the customer will assent to a pushed finish date. If your company has your estimates on hand, then they can negotiate from a position of strength and confidence, and that is the best shot at salvaging the contract.

This isn't the first late project in software development.

4

Opportunity Knocks

Unlike the accepted answer, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the probability of getting fired is 0. Unlike the previous manager, you have demonstrated that you know what you are doing and can get things done. You got assigned to the project because every knows it's a $#!+show and nobody wants to touch it with a 20' pole. Probably everyone knows it's a "suicide mission". So they expect you to fail, and you probably will.

Since the company is in a bad position, and you have been put in charge of the rescue mission, you now have tremendous leverage. What are their options? If they had someone better to patch up the Titanic, this question would have been authored by that person. So don't think of this situation as getting "promoted" to a project: think of it as a real promotion opportunity.

Tell The Truth

The former manager either lied about the progress so they wouldn't look bad, or they already told management that the timeline was impossible, and management ignored them. Give your professional but dispassionate assessment of the situation: "I triaged the remaining bugs as small, medium, or large. Small bugs can likely be fixed within 2-4 hours by an intermediate Unity dev. Medium can be fixed in 4-12 hours, and large bugs may take 12-48 hours to fix. Given these estimates, we need about 340 hours to fix these bugs, but we only have 4 devs x 8 hrs x 5 days = 160 dev hours available. This is due to the significant lack of Unity experience among the team."

Make Your Demands

First, tell your manager that you need to get proper Unity licensing, or you won't work on the project. Remember, you personally do not have millions of dollars at stake to lose. And if the company kicks you out right now, someone (or possibly many folks) above you are going to be following you out the door.

Second, if you know of any other Unity experts in the company, especially ones you know and trust personally, tell your boss exactly who you want on your team, and how long you need them. Use your triage model projections as rationale. If you think you can bring in outside hired guns to help, go for that, but I would imagine that even on-boarding time would make this solution infeasible.

Third, tell them what you think you can realistically accomplish, under the most likely resource scenarios. Don't sugar-coat it. It will be a bitter pill for them to swallow, but they need to hear it, and prep the customer. Just to drive the point home, tell your boss: "If these terms don't work for you, I have prepared my resignation for you." That's basically just a bluff, but you do need to write it up in case they call it.

Aftermath

If the company survives, there will be consequences, obviously. A problem doesn't get this bad without multiple levels of management fail. Dig around, find out who ignored the warnings, or hid the failure, or otherwise acted in bad faith, and make sure the management deals with those folks appropriately, or you will simply find yourself in another crisis a few months from now. Hopefully, at this point, you will have the leverage to demand changes and improvements (more Unity training, obviously), as well as a bonus/promotion for yourself and anyone else who stepped up above and beyond. Or, you could be looking for a new job. Good luck!

3

Focus on what a leader would do in this situation.

Be objective in your assessment and provide your leadership a thought-out analysis of the situation now that you're actually able to get your hands on all of the relevant information. Inform them of the outstanding issues and provide solutions for each one.

If you can fix the bugs in 5 days but you'll need to hire three expert freelancers at $500/hr, then present that as a mitigation against the risk of losing $10M if the project fails.

Don't be negative and say how badly the project is going - state the current roadblocks and then tell them how to defeat each one. That way you're not the person who couldn't do it, you're the person who presented the solutions that another person turned down.

  • 2
    ...you'll need to hire three expert freelancers. This is an excellent idea, which could save the day. However, also follow the other advice about communicating with your management, and pronto! – Mike Waters Jan 30 at 19:42
  • Another thing a leader would have to do is communicate the situation with the customer ... but that is even more of a minefield :) – rackandboneman Jan 30 at 22:00
  • @rackandboneman That's very true, but depending on OP's actual position in the company, this may be beyond their responsibilities. When it's such bad news, I'd say the hands-on lead (OP) should make a written report for the customer and be available for in-person explanation at the meeting, but a director or VP will probably be the one leading the discussion on behalf of OP's company. – Brian R Jan 31 at 15:17
2

Some of the above answers warn about being set up as a fall guy. I've worked at places disorganized enough to have the problems you describe, but not Machiavellian enough. Occam's razor suggests simple chaos, fog of war, lack of information flow, etc. And, they already have a fall guy: the manager before you. You can't possibly be the fall guy, if I understand correctly.

Some of the above answers suggest doing the minimum possible, don't be the hero, start looking for the next job, etc. In my career, experience at being a hero is actually useful. It's required every so often. In your shoes I'd be excited at the prospect of getting to practice putting out a fire this big. If you fail, it's not your fault, and you'll surely learn something. In my experience industries are small and you'll bump against people time and time again going forward and its better they remember a super-human effort than a shrug and your CV on the team printer. And who knows, there's a possibility things work out and it gets you a serious promotion. It may not be more money or new title, but people will start asking you more, listening to what you say, and so on. This alone makes a job so much nicer.

Of course, don't talk with customer without permission, but assuming you can, listening is paramount. Maybe they need the date but not all features. Maybe they need all features but the date can slip. Maybe their top desire is simply to have someone listen to them and understand what they really need and they can slip date and features and reliability.

Also, underpromise at this stage, the hardest thing for any engineer in my experience.

1

That’s DOA – before arrival. And you were certainly set up for failure.

Immediately returning the project to the previous manager advised, who likely distanced himself, because narcissists often live in some dream-world and they are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions. Whoever agreed to switching the project manager shortly before the deadline might be one, too - and they might be playing you. No wonder the environment went toxic, once the reality surfaced. This interview nicely explains the actual problem - and the insanity of the situation. Always try to leave a paper trail and have a witness with you, when relevant meetings take place. If this is not an option, follow the chain of command and let representatives communicate with the client - in order to present them a realistic timeline and license requirements. In order to keep the client, agreeing to some conventional penalty might be required, because the contract terms will not be met on time. Replacing some irrelevant team-mates with freelancers might be required to speed up the progress.

0

Here is a rather mercenary view on the subject.

If you haven't been told it's your job to talk to the customer, then it's not your job to talk to the customer. Leave that to management, or contracts, or whichever department it is.

So there are two possibilities:

  1. The software is going to ship with bugs. If there is a support contract, then the bugs are going to be fixed under that. The customer won't be happy, but there's nothing you can do about that.
  2. The software is not going to ship on time. Whoever is responsible for talking to the customer will have to sort that out. It's not your job.

So do everything you can to fix the most serous bugs now. That may mean getting the other team members to help. Or it may mean freezing them out while you work on things yourself. Do whatever will fix the most serious bugs as quickly as possible.

Keep management up-to-date with what's happening. That's assuming they are not already having daily meetings.

0

While most, if not all, of the answers here are focused on looking out for #1 (i.e. you,) I'm going to propose a radically different answer. But before I do, I want to say that what I describe in this answer is not mutually exclusive with what is described in other answers (i.e. job-hunting, documenting everything, quitting before failure, etc.) So keep that in mind, timing is everything in this situation. You want to leave enough time to radically switch your approach if your understanding of the situation changes.

What you need to realize about a situation like this is it is one where the proverbial s*** hit the proverbial fan. Someone dropped the ball big time, and you were inserted into this situation because of only two possible scenarios:

  1. You are being set up to be the fall guy.
  2. You were inserted into the situation because someone higher thinks you are a miracle worker.

Granted, every gut instinct tells me 1. is far more likely, but 2. is a possibility that can't be ignored, and even if it's not true, you can still make this possibility a reality.

In this situation, if you want to resolve it as best as you possibly can for the company (i.e. work the miracle,) you really only have one play, and that is to assert your position as leader of the project and negotiate for more time with the stakeholders. If you fail to negotiate, you are in no worse a position than you currently are. If you succeed, you can negotiate from a position of great strength (because you are representing the only light at the end of the tunnel.)

Realize, however, that these are the only two possibilities and you might as well swing for the fences because if 1. is true, you will be looking for a new job anyhow. However, you might just end up hitting a home-run instead.

TLDR: Negotiate for more time because you have nothing to lose. You either are the fall guy or the miracle worker, so assume the latter, and in the worst case fallback to the former, and commence your escape.

  • he's not being set up as a fall guy. If one were needed--if it were that type of firm--they already have the manager who screwed it up and split. You don't need to bring on people five days before release to take the blame, and how much blame would stick to a guy who wasn't even involved until five days before handoff? It's also not certain that he's thought to be a miracle worker. Departments only have so many workers. He might be thought good but not miracle worker. There might be better staff who can't be pulled off projects, etc. – Swiss Frank Feb 2 at 13:11

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