Rather then go into the details of my current situation I will just skip to my main question.

When a deadline is missed due to a coworker's or supervisor's failure to do their part in a project and then they try to make you the reason why it wasn't met do you:

a) Stand up for yourself and prove that it was not your fault and provide documentation on who's fault it was.

b) Suck it up and drive on, because in the case of a stubborn supervisor it will still be your fault.

c) Try to explain the situation as tactfully as possible, yet make sure it is clear who's fault it is.

d) Some other way.

I tried a + c approach but I'm sure I am going to get a not so great response.

I do have 6 emails over the last two weeks saying "Hey I need this to do my part" with "I am working on it" or "I need to make sure your part works first" kind of replies. Now with one day left, even if they do their part I'm going to be behind now.

  • 1
    Who would you be trying to convince that it's not your fault? Customer, senior manager, supervisor, etc.
    – Myles
    Jun 9, 2015 at 17:53
  • 4
    Very related if not the same basic question - workplace.stackexchange.com/q/46985/2322. My answer there (here) is relevant here, too, I think.
    – enderland
    Jun 9, 2015 at 17:59
  • This is your managers job (unless you are accountable for the delivery in which case it's yours); just be honest with your manager and they have to spin it correctly. If your manager is the cause of the delay and refuses to admit it then that's a bigger problem.
    – Ben
    Jun 9, 2015 at 19:11
  • 1
    @enderland Your answer is quite relevant and applicable. I'm voting to close this as a duplicate. Jun 9, 2015 at 20:36

2 Answers 2


If it is another worker:

In writing, discuss the details as to why the deadline was missed without assigning direct blame to a person. If X had to deliver Y on Z and they didn't, clearly state that Y wasn't delivered on Z and this caused the delay because . It made by that X was given a higher priority by their management, and management vs. management isn't something you want to be involved in. Keep the evidence handy, but do not attach it unless some disputes yours claim (say X says that Y was delivered by Z).

If they try to blame you, ensure your manager has the evidence backing the report you gave (and verbally express concern as to the fact that it seems the narrative is that you held up the project... once again trying to not blame anyone for blaming you).

If it is your supervisor:

Follow the first bit of the advice (document without blame, keep evidence handy).

If they still try to blame you, update resume and seek new employment while keeping your head low. Only turn in evidence to higher ups if they directly approach you for it. If there is a possibility of further disciplinary action beyond a warning (such as being fired or sued), contact a lawyer for further advice to protect yourself.


You have to somewhat aggresively pursue it when someone needs to complete something before you can do your part. My boss knows the day I think the deadline can't be met and why. I state specifically in the email that the deadline cannot be met because X task will take X hours and cannot be done until Y task is done and that task has not been delivered. I will repeat that email daily adjusting the deadline farther out by one day every day of theh delay. The first email will be "I need X by date such and such or there will be a delay." Each succeeding email will be slightly stronger in the wwording. But it is critical to say outright that the deadline is in jeopardy if this depenadnt task is not delivered. After 2-3 days, I would go to my boss in person and ask for help resolving teh issue.

Now you appear to have a differnt issue becasue you got responses that indicate they can't do the work until they see if what you did works. You can't do it til they finish and they can't do their task until you finish. Not a good place to be in. In this case, you need to have a meeting the first day that it is clear that your expectations and theirs are in conflict and work out the conflict. They may need a small part of what you are doing and you may need a small part of what they are doing. Or maybe there is a miscommuncation on one or both sides about exactly what is neeeded. Get those parts done first and together if need be. Maybe a redesign is needed if these two tasks are genuinely in conflict. Bot you the other dev and your mutual bosses need to sit down immediately and work this out. There is no excuse for letting this linger in an email chain.

Meeting the deadline is your responsibility. It is your fault if you do not meeti it as you have the responsibility to insists on a changed deadline or to follow through, even aggresively if need be, until you get what you need. YOur boss should certainly be aware possibly weeks ahead of time that there is a problem and you should be pushing him to resolve it on a daily basis if you cannot get it resolved on your own.

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