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I am very experienced in the technology which I have worked on and finished in another project. But recently I have been deployed into a new project where the existing code is written in a technology that is new to me and I am taking time to understand the code first.

But the deadline of the project is short. I know that if do not take the time to fully understand the technology then it will take much longer to finish my development tasks than I have been allowed.

How should I handle this? Should I ask my Lead for more time to finish my tasks? If so then my project will not complete before the deadline.

Please Help me with your suggestions.

  • In software projects with short deadlines that are set with no involvement fail anyway. I'm sure it will just roll over to the next arbitrary deadline anyway. Your responsibility is to estimate how long the tasks will take to the best of your ability, this will include a reasonable amount of time to do a decent job. – Nathan Cooper May 22 '15 at 17:43
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First, take a step back and make a realistic assessment of how long you will actually require to complete your tasks. It is not enough to know (or be fearful of finding out) that you will miss the deadline, you need to know the extent of remedial action.

Having done that, inform your lead immediately. The earlier he knows there is a problem and can act, the earlier he can identify and implement a solution, which could be any or all of:

  • arranging training for you,
  • getting an extra person on board,
  • renegotiating the deadline with the client
  • reducing the scope of the project to deliver an incomplete solution on time

If he does not know, he cannot act, and as the deadline approaches the remedial actions become more difficult and expensive to implement. And if you are worried about being fired, you can be certain that the later you leave it, the more likely that option becomes.

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    +1 I would also add that it is good practise, at the point you are given something to do, that the first response is "when does it need to be completed by?" immediately followed up by "I will need to learn this new technology before I can work on this, has my learning curve been factored into your estimate?" – Marv Mills May 22 '15 at 11:06
  • thanks Julia for your valuable suggestion. There is no option of firing me from the company. But I am worrying about even Lead knows that it is very tough to finish tasks, but delivery manger don't have the idea about hardness of the code. If I am moving slowly into that project then, delivery manager thinks that nothing I am doing. In this scenario, this particular reason will cause any problem while giving hikes? – Dharma Sai Seerapu May 22 '15 at 13:18
  • @Tricky Then your lead should inform your delivery manager that he has unrealistic expectations – user8036 May 22 '15 at 15:02
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The most important thing is that people around you are informed, so they can make their decisions. Maybe the lead said "Time to the deadline is tight, I need someone who really knows X to help us", your boss said "Tricky knows everything about X, he'll help you", while in reality you know everything about Y and nothing about X at all. Not your fault, just a communication problem, but the sooner everyone knows, the better.

Whatever happened, the sooner people are told, the sooner they can react. A deadline is often not that rock solid, and if your boss is told today that the project will take four weeks or four months longer, it can be fixed. If he is told when the deadline ends, that is a lot harder.

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I'd do a quick eyeball overview of the code, then I'd contact my lead and ask him, in view of the short deadline, that he put me in touch with whoever worked on the project last. If that individual is not available, I'd ask that the lead make available to me someone who is versed in the technology so that I can iterate to him for support as I get a better idea of what's going on.

As I bite the bullet and get on with the project, I'll get a better idea of the hurdles I have to overcome and a more realistic estimate as to how long it's going to take me to overcome then. If it doesn't look like I'll be able to meet the deadline, I'll tell the lead as much and give him a time estimate as to long it's going to take me.

Again, it's very important that the lead makes available someone who is versed in the technology so that I can get up so speed faster and get this project done. I don't want to struggle through the documentation and figure out what to do about the missing pieces if I don't have to.

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