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Long story short, following a team reorganization 2 years ago I became a technical team manager of a team of 2 (myself included), without my new role being officially acknowledged by my organization. I code but I also receive the feature requests, write tasks, set the planning etc.

I am now leaving the company and was asked to train the other team member to take over some of my work in case the company is not able to hire a replacement for me on time.

Side note : I am not confident that the company will really look for a replacement.

This other team member clearly stated to me and our manager that she does not want more workload. And it was accepted that she will not cover all of my current duties.

My current plan was to :

  • Write documentation
  • Ask her to be more and more involved with the customer support team requests (To be honest that one should have been done from the beginning) this way she can learn by answering questions
  • Ask her to write design documents for a new incoming feature, this way she can better understand the incoming features without me having to explain the tasks.
  • And as my departure approaches I will let her handle more and more of my work.

But I clearly felt that it’s already too much for her to handle. And that she does not want to do any of that.

What’s my desired outcome : To make her autonomous for when I will leave without pressuring her and worsening the communication between us.

How I am thinking about handling this situation :

  1. Discuss it openly with her.
  2. Ask if she is indeed against any of the tasks I gave her lately.
  3. If she confirms my feeling, explain that things will be worse if she is not autonomous when I leave the company, because people will ask her questions anyway.
  4. Ask her if she can come with a plan the next day to achieve this in a way that suits her.
  5. Make adjustments to this plan if needed
  6. Follow the plan

What I don’t know, is :

  • Should I also involve our manager ? I feel that he does not care much about how things are going for the team. Let’s say he is always available for a meeting but never calling for one.
  • Should I really go on this path ? I was asked to, but in the end I am not officially her manager. I could just write a bunch of documentation files she can read when needed. (That’s part of the plan anyway)

Any advice ?

2 Answers 2

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It sounds like she's not fit for the role. If so, you cannot make her fit for the role. You need to escalate this issue to management so they can choose another alternate course. If they choose not to, then go through the motions, leave, and then enjoy the next phase of your life.

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    From her perspective: I'm already overworked, and now instead of hiring and onboarding someone, they're probably going to ask me to take on all of OP's work without any change in title, role, or compensation. No wonder she doesn't want it. Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 0:46
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    Agreed. Management needs to either convince her that she needs to learn this, or pick another candidate, and they need to know there's an issue while there's still time to do so. If they don't, that is not your problem unless you want it to be your problem.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 0:58
  • I mean they admit they're doing all this work already without a title change. Why would she get one? Extra work for no benefit. No thanks Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 13:57
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The person who you have been tasked to train is apparently resisting accepting the additional tasks. The company, if they don't replace you, is asking this person to take on all the responsibilities for the team. The company has also made it clear that there is no promotion, no credit for taking on the extra duty, and no additional money.

You are stuck in the middle. I see two paths forward.

  • Negotiate a truce with the other employee, minimize the training by focusing on where the documentation is and a general overview of the things that have to be done to keep things from collapsing. In other words the things they would have done if you were gone for a week of vacation. After you leave the employee can meet management to negotiate a solution.

  • Go to your manager. Inform them that you are unable to complete the expected training and why. Then let the manager talk to the employee.

Ultimately he company will have to fold the tasks done by your team into another team, or create a proper team by hiring new employees, or transferring existing employees onto the team. Since this will happen after you leave you will have very little role in the process unless they can implement it before you leave.

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