I have documented my difficult work situation in this question and this question

Where things stand is that I am actively looking for a completely different group to be on in the large company I am a part of. This will take me away from the functional manager who empowers bullies by taking no action, and far away from the team I am currently on.

My problem is, as documented in the above questions, my scrum master is 'threatened' because I have more experience than him. Multiple colleagues have made me aware of this. Since I started at the company, it has been nothing but an uphill battle - with the scrum master constantly doing whatever he can to make my work take longer than it has to, making it look like that I am having a performance issue.

A frequent routine is once I completely finish a story on our agile board, resolve all git comments, and the work is now going through the pipeline - I am asked to add additional functionality that is outside of the scope of the story by way of 50+ sudden git comments, in order to make it appear to management that I am unable to complete my work in a timely manner. This will happen again and again, dragging my work out for weeks on end.

The last time this occurred, I stood up for myself and asked 'Is what you are looking for within the scope of the story? I am not sure that it is.' This caused the scrum master to run to my functional manager, and the functional manager said it is perfectly OK for me to ask if requested functionality is in scope, and for a change, I actually got to complete my story in a decent amount of time.

However, this behavior has resurfaced. During my time with this team, when I ask for 'help' from the functional manager he either does nothing OR he goes entirely too far. By going too far, he always ultimately ends up not actually resolving the issue at hand and creating more problems for me at the office and interpersonally with my team. It is too much stress + anxiety to ask for his help at this point.

The scrum master will not let me take stories off the Agile story board. I am the only employee who has to ask him if I can be assigned a new story. It seems that every story he assigns me, has a different type of 'disaster' associated with it, which again drags out my work, which again makes it look like I am having a performance issue when I formerly worked at one of the most well known organizations globally, as a lead developer on a large software product that I almost entirely conceptualized.

That being said - my latest issue is, I have been working on a single story for about six weeks. It is a program that is too big to run on our standard kubernetes set up, and requires the scaling up of numerous pods (with more memory resources) to get the program to run. After last week, for some unknown reason - our systems cannot handle running this program at all. I've been trying everything, and it's not a code error - it is just too big and with too many assets for our current environment setup. That's not my fault.

However, another component of why this story has taken so long, is that the entity I am doing this work for wants to make sure certain things are done to the 'letter.' The scrum master, doesn't 'agree' with what the entity wants, but in this case they are the 'customer' - we have to make sure we meet their requirements. Last week, the scrum master left a comment on the merge request 'I don't understand the issues, all you were asked to do was update X program.'

I communicate with him about the issues daily at the scrum meetings, no help or support is provided, and I also leave notes in the description on all tasks in the Agile board associated with my story so everyone knows what is going on. I make sure to put 'see details' next to the title of each task so it is highly visible. I can tell you, that there is no way - humanly possible, he has no understanding of what's going on. I have no doubt this is again another attempt to make it look like there is a performance problem.

I have a 1:1 meeting with my boss tomorrow. The last 1:1 meeting I had, I said I was working on this story and I was finishing it. That honestly was what was happening 4 weeks ago. I am mortified that I am going to go in there, and say that I am still working on the same story, when there's already a performance concern, and I am worried about how it is going to negatively impact my situation at the office.

I have no idea how to handle this situation. I almost want to find a way to evade this meeting until this story is successfully completed/merged, so I can say I'm working on a new story, with no mention of the current/old story.

Can someone help me out here? Do I go to the meeting? Do I try to reschedule it? What do I say?

The problem is, there's no point in trying to have the issues with the scrum master addressed - this functional manager backs up the scrum master to the hilt - that is why this situation has dragged out for so long.

I can tell you how I honestly feel is like this: "Hey Boss, I recognize the team is a poor fit, so I am working hard to network across the company to find a different group/team to join, as quickly as possible." I wonder if having the conversation from that route would make the 'performance issues' less serious - because it is clear that there is an end in sight w/regards to me being on the team, and also I am acknowledging that I recognize that things are 'not working' ?

I am completely mortified by how I have gone from being a well known high performer in all of my previous roles, to becoming someone there is clearly performance concerns about - due to the actions of others. I have been urged by numerous people at the office to go to HR (there are other incidents - workplace bullying etc that others in the office have observed), but I read on an employee message board how going to HR for a situation like this totally backfired and had negative career consequences for another employee, so it makes more sense to move on.

I am doing everything I can to network across the company, and leave this team as quickly as possible. Any help you could provide regarding the 1:1 meeting would be greatly appreciated.

  • 1
    Unique situations are sorta out of scope here. SE's goal is to accumulate answers that will be useful to other readers. But your situation is probably far less unique, and probably less fraught, than you're making it.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 1:27
  • 1
    True. It just feels that way because I really wanted this position to be a new chapter/fresh start in my life. Big sad.
    – zee
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 1:35
  • 1
    Do other team members are treated the same way by the scrum master ? Do other members also have stories that last for 3, 4, or even 5 weeks (because of the scrum master) ? Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 2:29
  • 1
    Do you also work on any other tasks or stories while working on this 6-week long story ? Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 2:31
  • 2
    Why would you not discuss this with your boss? But you will probably get better results if you don't directly accuse the scrum master as an individual and focus instead in the issues/perceptions that are making it hard for you to move forward. The answers may involve changes in your approach as well as in others' behavior; listen carefully to the feedback and remember that your manager is trying to help you succeed.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 14:07

2 Answers 2


You accepted my answer in your first question and my advice is similar to Anthony. My one fault with you is that you tend to get lost in the details. The details specifics don't matter what matters is that you are being bullied and harassed.

Go to the meeting and since the boss requested it, he will run it. He will probably ask you questions like "why are you leaving my group". Be armed with short concise facts. Something like: "On these 7 dates I came to you asking you to do something about the harassment. Since then there have been brief pauses, but it hasn't really stopped. I prefer to work where I am not being bullied."

Have a list of short concise facts. You are a smart person and can anticipate the general nature of the questions being asked. Just talk about numbers (dates and instances) and say the harassment has continued through it all.

Also I feel "harassment" should be used instead of bullying as that specific word is probably used in policy by the company.

I feel the overall purpose of this meeting is for the manager to save his own skin. Make him sweat a bit.

Edit due to comments: You kind of have a choice here move to another dev team or go for the lawsuit. Not only is this harassment allowable by your boss, he is attempting to retaliate for you reporting it. Where are you located?

Here in the US this kind of thing is ground for a very large lawsuit. Like probably on the order of 4x your annual salary. While we tend to be a litigious, we don't have the best employment laws. If an investigation was launched and HR did nothing the then company as a whole is liable.

To me, it sounds like your desire to work for this company is ill founded. They treat you like crap, move on. Let them remove your qualification, sue, and move on to a different employer.

  • Pete I agree with your style. My issue is, that any time I bring things to my boss' attention, they mushroom. Case in point, I tried to get an accomodation for anxiety to WFH to avoid the office. This was effective for another person in our office who was 'bullied' off this team. My boss reported the accomodation to our company, and I then became at risk of losing a 'qualification' needed to do my day to day job. I ended up finding a way to withdrawl my accomodation request and save my 'qualification.' (see next comment)
    – zee
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 15:06
  • Additionally, I am a programmer and any time I bring up the harassment to my boss, he wants to immedately move me to a non-programming team which could be career limiting - as no timeline is given as to when I can get back on a dev team. His rationale is that it is him trying to end the harassment situation as quickly as possible. It shouldn't end at the cost of my career. But these reactions from him, make me afraid to say anything. (see next comment)
    – zee
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 15:09
  • I did consult with an attorney about all of this, and they said had I lost my qualification and the behavior continued, that I'd have a lawsuit against the company - I believe it was for unfair treatment or discriminatory behavior. I was honestly thinking of just doing what you said and saying something like ... (see next comment)
    – zee
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 15:11
  • 'I've come to you with numerous complaints, every time they are dismissed or my situation gets worse, in addition my family is in the law industry and they advised if I had lost my qualification and the behavior continued, that I would have a suit against the company. All of this combined is why I am looking to find an entirely new group in the company. I want to leave quietly and start fresh.' I say quietly because it seems the team + my boss is afraid of me because I started out ALWAYS speaking up when there was a problem. I stopped after my qualification became threatened.
    – zee
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 15:12
  • Please note the other person who successfully got a WFH accomodation for anxiety due to this group, DID NOT have their qualification threatened to be removed -- I reported this, apparently an 'investigation' occured, but I never was informed of the end result.
    – zee
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 15:14

I am going to reiterate my previous answer to your past question: You can't be meek and weak when you encounter bullying.

Do I go to the meeting?

Yes. Dodging the discomfort / pain does not relief yourself of such pain. Such action will not make your program feature be more successful or allow proper management to assist you. Ask yourself: By skipping this 1:1, what additional benefit would I obtain than if I had attended?

Whenever you meet with difficulty in your professional life, trying to hide or seemingly being afraid to engage is rarely the wisest choice. In my opinion, waiting this long until your 1:1 , rather than proactively escalating the problematic behavior of your scrum master to correct level of management is already a bad move.

I have been urged by numerous people at the office to go to HR (there are other incidents - workplace bullying etc that others in the office have observed)

Assuming the behavior that your other colleagues suffered from is objective workplace bullying, and that the scrum master behavior is only targeting you, I would agree in meeting with HR. When you do, you want to present evidence, rather than subjective , vague personal gripes. Show them the feedback you got from scrum master that you felt were harassing / uncalled for. Explain how only you were targeted.

Yes, escalation to HR can be career limiting, but but does not have to be when done in the correct way at the correct time for an appropriate incident. Enforcing non - harassment policies and preventing workplace bullying by any other colleague is in HR interest, which in this case, aligns with yours

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