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My team and I are working on a project that is overdue, partly due to the fact that these deadlines were set before we came on board, partly due to challenges along the way.

However, we turned in some custom web forms we were supposed to turn when we said we would. We are now testing these forms in our staging environment. FYI, the only way these forms can be tested in the staging environment is by handing the forms in to an offshore team member that had to integrate them successfully. We spent three separate and long working sessions with him ensuring he could get this up and running. As a result, my team and I have been manually testing these forms in staging.

On a daily standup earlier this week, this team member stated we did not turn in these forms, I corrected him, to which he stated, "oh yeah but the styling is not there". This evening he decided to escalate this to all sorts of stakeholders once again using the phrase, "I have yet to receive".

What is the most professional way to handle this? Our team lead responded, is it as simple as let our lead team deal with it? What about if the offshore team member once again says "yet to receive"? I understand about keeping cool, we have to work together and things like that, but on a more granular level, how do I ensure I don't also don't allow my team and I to be thrown under the bus.

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The situation you describe is potentially quite tough to navigate, especially given you and your colleague span across several time zones.

Here are some things you should consider:

  1. Assume positive intent: Unless you have concrete evidence to the contrary, assume your colleague is doing what they believe is best in the situation.
  2. Get specific on specifications: Is it clear who has what responsibilities? Have you handed over the materials in the form requested and by the deadline requested? Are the specifications, responsibilities, and the delivered materials all held in a place that anyone can see (e.g., in version control)?
  3. Keep exchanges "AFK": If there seems to have been a misunderstanding, or a risk that tone is being misinterpreted, get the conversation out of email/Slack/etc. and onto the phone. In person communication is always best, voice/video second, and text communications should be avoided whenever possible.
  4. Confront your colleague and share your feelings: Again, assuming positive intent, let your colleague know how their actions have made you feel in the situation. Be careful not to accuse or make any assumptions about intentions or objectives - the only thing you know for sure is how you perceived the actions of your colleague and how you're feeling now.

I hope the forms are up and running soon and that this becomes an opportunity to build a better relationship with your colleague.

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    I had to check your answer off and upvote you, wonderful answer. I especially appreciated the comment: "the only thing you know for sure is how you perceived the actions of your colleague and how you're feeling now".
    – Daniel
    Aug 6, 2020 at 2:40

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