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I am a software developer who is creating integrations services between the ERP system of our customers and our system (dataflow happens via XML and webservices). I am doing this for around 4-5 years already and completed +10 integrations successfully. I am doing everything from planning to deployment and support although I am not the project leader. I am currently the only one having this experience at work. We are now moving to a new ERP system and have a lot of third parties involved in it. One of them are also specialized in general integrations but not specifically the part which I am doing. The integrations will be created by part of middleware solutions and mostly in the beginning by the third parties.

To cut the long story short. There is no overall design yet but the main objects are identified. On basis of this the high level planning is made. So what they are going to do is trying to recreate the workflow and data flow exactly the same as the old ERP system. But when this is built we also need to do an UAT with the customer. Normally this UAT takes 4 to 20 weeks (like 15 hours per week unless a major issue pops up) per country. They planned for me to do 4 countries now in 2 week and after 2 weeks they intend to go live. The customers aren't notified yet when we want to test with them.

Now I raised a discussion on this and tell them this is impossible. Now the project leader (newly graduated guy with 2 years exp who is on the side of the third parties) tells me that these 2 weeks is calculated as effective time, so i need to see it as 40/80 hours. But after 2 weeks on the planning there is a go live planned (move to production). He told me: don't mind, if UAT during that week is on pause, you can focus on another integration build instead. While those integrations builds all are (according to planning) be done before the UAT testing..

So when I am trying to make it a bit more realistic, the project leader + third parties are seeing me as a complicator.. And the tell me to be optimistic. How can I be optimistic + realistic in planning a good amount of time, and not make it more complicated and longer than expected? Or am I really making it to complex here?

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I'm also a developer. I suggest for the time being, you just shut your mouth on this poor planning. Send one (1) last email to the project lead to summarize that you don't agree with the proposed schedule, and make sure the message is clear but don't pressure him. BCC to your boss, and make sure you KEEP the email as well as any responses.

After that, make sure that you meticulously account for your work. When the situation turns critical, you're covered.

I know you want to do the best job you can, but sometimes we have to allow overconfident, know-it-all project managers to trip, fall, and get themselves removed. Talking will do nothing but raise your own blood pressure in the current situation, so you'll have to handle things the longer, hard way.

Document, document, document.

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    As someone who have been called "negative" for the very same reasons of being realistic, I couldn't agree more with this answer. Since I've taken this approach of "alert but don't push back too hard", which I just consider choosing my battles wiser, I haven't got any such remark and I even have been praised for my positive mindset. PM's are still dreaming, projects are still delayed, devs are still put under some unnecessary pressure because of unrealistic deadlines, but now I'm seen as part of the solution, not of the problem anymore...
    – Laurent S.
    May 12 at 7:45
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    Not a fan of BCC'ing the boss. By all means CC them, but BCC feels like going behind the back of the project lead. May 14 at 1:09
  • @LaconicDroid Project lead works for another company ("3rd party").
    – Xavier J
    May 14 at 13:44
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    @XavierJ, In which case, I would immediately forward the message I just sent to my own boss (at my own company) instead of using BCC. This would be to prevent my boss from accidentally replying to everyone involved. May 14 at 22:49
  • Thanks @XavierJ I already raised it during some meetings and also had a private call with head manager. Now we planned an internal meeting with managment and all IT staff. I wont attack any person but will just state my concerns.
    – YdB
    May 17 at 6:27
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It's your duty to make some attempt to point out this problem.

Not only is it generally the duty of everyone in a company to point out things that might cause trouble for the company, in this case it is possible that the problem might be laid at your door in the future.

From your description, you seem to actually have a better grasp of the realities of the UAT than your newly-graduated project leader. This isn't an unusual situation. I recommend you send an email to your PM, pointing out the problem in simple terms.

For example

Dear X

I see that you have scheduled a number of UAT operations for me to do, each with a duration of two weeks, and with release scheduled at the end of the UAT. In my experience, while a UAT does require 2 weeks of effort on our part, delays in interactions with the customer mean that they generally take more than 2 weeks of real time. If I begin a UAT on a specific date I cannot guarantee that the UAT will be complete 2 weeks later. If we schedule a release 2 weeks after the start of the UAT, we will probably miss that release date. I recommend adding several weeks between the start of the UAT and release. We may be able to do more UATs in parallel to compensate for this.

Xavier J

If you do not get a response, or a response that does not make sense, take this to someone else who knows how this works and ask advice. However if you are told specifically to use the schedule provided, keep a copy of this email to show that you already warned the PM that this was not possible.

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