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In my job, I am part of a junior team who works with senior employees to support them in their roles. Usually we have several seniors who all need similar services, and the seniors normally say "I need X done by Y". In my organization the seniors work on projects that usually last a few months, so normally how it works is the senior and I meet at the start of a project to go over expectations, deadlines, and what needs to be done, then I go and do those things. I keep in touch with the seniors throughout to make sure it's all going smoothly.

One such senior is extremely organized at the start of a project - he always sets up meetings, provides excellent timelines and I'm always very clear on what I need to do. However, during a project it's radio silence. For example, I was asked to prepare a document to go out to clients on last Friday. I had the document ready and edited by Monday, and sent it over for editing and final checks. But I heard nothing. I prodded on Wednesday, which would have been enough time to make any edits, but nothing. I prodded again on Friday morning, reminding the senior that this was the day that the document was supposed to go out to clients, but still nothing even now.

Not only does this look bad on the organization, it looks bad on me (it is known to the client that it is my role to get these things ready), and I'm getting client emails asking me for the document.

This is not the first time it's happened. In fact, every time I work with this senior it's the same pattern, with the same missed deadlines. There is never any acknowledgement.

The way my organization works, my manager and his manager aren't even on the same level of the org chart. My manager is aware of it but the answer is always a shrug and "what can you do?"

So...what can I do?

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  • @SouravGhosh haha fair. A previous post of mine indicates that should have been possible, but the new role didn't make sense for me to move :-P
    – work572
    Feb 13, 2023 at 14:45
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    Did the document need to be approved by the senior or were they expecting you to handle the task fully and send it. Do you have other examples? The point I'm making is perhaps they don't think the messages are worth responding to Feb 13, 2023 at 15:11
  • @DavidLindon the senior has asked that he be the one to proofread and approve all documents, yes. For another example, I had to release results to clients and still got radio silence. I said "screw it", since I knew the results were OK, and released them. The senior did not like that and commented how I should have checked first. The results actually were OK, so that's good, but definitely the senior wants to review and approve. Technically there is no requirement that the senior does so at the organization, though, so I could just do it, at the expense of the relationship
    – work572
    Feb 13, 2023 at 15:17
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    Did you refer them to your previous email for the results to which they didn't reply? Feb 13, 2023 at 15:25
  • Note that this is one of the things scrum is good for: "My blocker is that I'm waiting for review."
    – keshlam
    Feb 14, 2023 at 22:35

1 Answer 1

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First of all, make it visible that you did your part of the deal. Send the Document, set the task in your project planning tool to "done". If appropriate, include his manager, your manager or the client in the delivery.

If you are waiting for review, don't just mail your colleague a "please review" mail, but create a task for it with deadline and assign it to him. Now everyone knows where the bottleneck is and it's no longer your problem.

If someone complains to you, just refer them to your colleague. After all there's nothing you can do about it. Don't be afraid of being unfriendly. Keep all communication free of blaming, but factual.

If he is perfectly organized at the start of the project, plan separate deadlines for "document ready for review" and "document sent to client" beforehand. Ask if the review is really needed, or if you can do it without one.

Be also very clear in your communication with the colleague. No overflowing niceities like "maybe you can..." "please, if you have time...". Just bare facts. "I need the review by xx.xx. Thanks."

If there is a project end retrospective, bring this up. Be nice, but tell him that you think this could have been handled better. Ask how you as a team can avoid such things in the future.

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    In addition, when you send the document for review, say that it will be going out on X day, and they need to have any reviews to you by Y. And then, if they don't respond, send it out. No response was a response. Feb 13, 2023 at 16:40
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    @thursdaysgeek The last line is exactly right. "Senior said nothing regarding review that was sent on Monday, with additional follow-up sent on Wednesday. It is now Friday, so document is being without review per Senior."
    – Nelson
    Feb 14, 2023 at 1:33

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