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I work for a startup, and I handle from interviews to Production ops/ delivery. Many times I anticipate the future and I was ready with the work even before it arrives. This is how i used to deliver. The average working hours for last 1.5y is 12-14hrs a day. No holidays no family. We developed web, mobile apps. The team grew from 3 to 15 today. As per my founder's colleagues the velocity of the work is exponential.

Later the product manager came. The product keeps changing the UI with out any logical reason. They moved form UI1 -> UI2 --> and back to UI1; I started to questioning the rationale. They get angry. but. no answers. I explain them the issues for changing so frequently. They are adamant. My developers lose motivation. Their work is getting scrapped (remember the several hrs they spent?)

As we solve problems we shift from solution to solution. On different occasions my founder made comments like "you wasted somuch time. But still I am ok with it. I am giving you one more chance" ; But in reality there is no other option i have. thats how software gets developed. In the last 1.5y atleast 4-5 times he has mocked me in the meetings/ personal phone calls in the middle of the night.

Last week a colleague in my company has come-up with a new way to do the work. I would have been happy if he allowed me to do the new way. But instead, he has built up a team of 6 and is refactoring my teams work. he projects the work as a kids play. He made a kid (16years) do an ultra simple screen and. Now, this is giving me sleepless nights. It looks as though I am a fool.

Now, the point is i feel like a fish being chased by a shark. I feel diluted. I feel to stick to 6-7 hrs a day of work and then stop.

The team is also tired. Many resignations. They feel the work done today will be scrapped tomorrow. Though I arranged meetings with the product head multiple times who tried to convince. But looks like this is not helping anyways. By December I clearly see 4 leads to resign.

But shome-how i am emotionally attached and I am unable to digest and agree with the situation. I lose a lot of sleep thinking over it.

[edit1] So the questions:

  1. Can you suggest me some checkpoints. Any fundamental principles I might be forgetting at work? Which I need to tick off to say I am not at fault.
  2. Before I leave the company I want to make sure that I did best of my efforts to get the situation back to good. Now, what could they be?
  3. Throughout my career I have been working for long hours for prolonged years. Resignations in the team are the last thing I want. I know of companies where people worked for 6y even with out hikes. Before recruiting people i tell them that the work demands 10-12hrs a day. Can making the team work huge hours demotivate them?
  4. I give full ownership to my recruits. I allow them to make mistakes, and be devils advocate to their thoughts. Any other strategies to retain people? Now, i am trying to cut their working hours to 6-7 hrs a day. Tough. But have you seen it working anytime? Does it prove to be counter productive eventually?
  5. Any twitter handles/ people to follow which can help me in long run? to understand and solve team dynamics.
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    Why do you want to stay at this company? Sep 11 at 16:37
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    @PhilipKendall probably because the OP has invested so much time and energy to the company, leaving would be like admitting failure or surrender. isn't there some sort of pathology about the abused who become emotionally attached to their abusers? Trauma bonding The OP should definitely leave the toxic environment.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 11 at 18:25
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    Why are random statements bolded unnecessarily?
    – Donald
    Sep 11 at 19:35
  • Working 12 hours a day on the wrong thing is less productive than 8 hours on the right thing. If you don't want to quit, then your priority is to work out what your boss actually wants.
    – Simon B
    Sep 13 at 9:29
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The team is also tired. Many resignations. They feel the work done today will be scrapped tomorrow.

Follow your coworkers to a new job. You're not motivated, and your mental health has taken a hit. These are 2 clear signs it's time to move companies.

EDIT - I don't think you will last much longer here. Plan your escape.

The CEO is a bad manager. It sounds like your CEO is not on your side.

On different occasions my founder made comments like "you wasted so much time. But still I am ok with it. I am giving you one more chance"

He's likely planning to fire you soon. You need an escape plan. Your issue is with your CEO, not the other team.

This sounds like a terrible company to work for. The CEO is pitting 2 teams he's paying against each other. Smart people are quitting and finding a job where the CEO values teamwork.

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  • Supposing i want to stay back for 2more years before i giveup. what would be your suggestions? Any checkpoints you have for me to follow?
    – chen
    Sep 12 at 4:38
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    @chen - You're not gonna last 2 years. Your CEO is bad at managing people. Get out before you get fired. Sep 12 at 16:49
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Sounds like sunken cost fallacy. If you are not a co-owner it is hardly worth working more than 8 hours a day. Your quality of work drops anyhow if working longer.

I would suggest that you also look for a new job. Ideally one which leaves some time for your hobbies or just recovery from work.

Another hint: Do not focus so much on velocity, but on sustainability. In the long run it becomes very relevant how much trouble an app may or may not cause in production (don't know if this is relevant for your case). Another point is, that one well thought through and well implemented epic that perfectly meets customer demand may be worth more than ten rushed epics in terms of business value.

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