I am part of a software development team working on a project that is about 5 years old. I joined the project as an intern almost 2 years ago and i am a full-fledged software engineer now in the same project. From being an intern to becoming a software developer, i have grown and have come a long way. Good enough that my manager has mandated my participation in code reviews. Prior to that, I have worked on several software projects in different technologies.

My problem is with the rest of the team. Except me all the others have 3+ years of experience in the same project. Lately, I have been feeling less motivated at work because of their behavior and also feel they are holding the project back. Few things about them based on my observation:

  1. They don't like to learn anything new or when they are forced to do so they don't put much effort into it. I have seen them say, "this is not feasible" when it actually is. For most of them, this was their first project and therefore are not aware of the best practices, processes or other technologies in the industry.

  2. They are a close group of friends. Many of them hang out outside of work as well. I tend to see this as a problem because they tend to cover each others' back at work and deal with issues ear to ear among themselves instead of following the process.

  3. They are in critical roles for the project such as technical leads, lead developer etc., They are the decision makers. I have suffered in the past because of them quoting unreasonable estimates and time limits without analyzing the requirements well or understanding the complexity involved for the tasks. Luckily, the process has changed in the recent times.

  4. The quality of the work delivered by them is low. This has become a major concern for the onsite team that assigns work for us. Many a times, the features we had delivered for the customers came back with issues. For someone with 3+ years of experience, they don't even seem to bother refactoring or to clean up the code.

  5. Our onsite project management team and our customers distrust us. We are losing work to contractors because of this. Right now, we are just a cost-cutting support team for them.

  6. My managers are well aware of this but they don't want to lose them because of their experience/knowledge in the project and also as it seems like we won't be getting much work in the future for the project, they don't want to invest in building a new team.

The only thing that was keeping me in the team is that the work I do is challenging and significant. My managers support me a lot. They encourage me to work on my own phase and to learn new things. [FYI I don't report to any of them] I like the organization. I am being paid really well.

It's frustrating when I have put 200% of my effort in getting my tasks done right, on time and getting blamed as a team by the customer because something the others developed isn't working as it should be.

Also I have started feeling that its time I worked with people from whom I can learn and grow.

Is there anything I can do to turn the tables around and continue working in the project?

EDIT: Also will working alongside such people affect my career growth?

2 Answers 2


Do it the right way. Since the team is such an obstacle, do it for you and your career. Not for them.

I believe, based on how clearly and cleanly you get your point of view across in your post, that you show unusual talent, promise and vision. It's not every day that I get to read a post from someone like you. I'd hate to see your qualities blunted because you are running into frustration. Don't allow yourself to be discouraged or demotivated because if you do, you lose whatever it is that makes you sharp. That would be a shame.

You're very much alienated because you are up against a consensus based on conventional wisdom, a smug attitude and groupthink.

Do what you can. I believe that you bring the clarity and sobriety of thinking to the project that the team lacks - a clarity and sobriety of thinking that your management should very much appreciate. If the project fails or stalls, it won't be because you didn't do your part.

Be acutely aware of your physical limitations - you are just one person - and make sure to push back if they overfill your plate as they realize that the project is going south. After all, you're already doing 200%.

At the same time you make your best effort on this project, talk to your management about other projects where they could really put your talents to use and where you find the team dynamics more congenial.


From the information you provided, I can say it's far beyond to be considered a "problem" anymore, it's a crisis. A group of team doesn't put an effort just because they know the project, and backing up each other's faults, customers and the field team already lost confidence on your team... This needs prompt action. It's understandable to hesitate firing few of them because they will be backing up each other, but even such an advantage (or blackmail) has it's limits too.

On the other hand though... This is what your bosses should be doing. Not you. Your task is to do what you do best, report to them if necessary. Life is not about what you should be doing, especially if you are paid well, as you mentioned.

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