I am employed as developer in what was a Startup once, now going into its maturity.
There is a huge project coming up, probably blowing the budget 10-fold. Budget was 1-digit million before. Now of course, management wants this to happen. I as a developer have doubts.
My employer has licensed some kind of properitary algorithm, which does stuff. I was employed to develop a framework to allow said stuff to happen in parallel, and make scale happen. For years, I was sole developer, so a lot of the foundations bear my name.
Now this was a Startup, short on manpower, so i took other jobs. Like the job of fixing said algorithm to actually work. It was developed for a similar but not so demanding problem, in its own right working properly, but for the current problem some basic assumptions do not hold. We don't have any sources available, just binaries. So I cannot work on the algorithm itself.
I reckon it was a bad idea to take responsibility in the first place, but well, I did.
Now I am in a bad position, where there's a Major project (it got news coverage in a major western EU state) that I think is going 90% odds of failure, and I can either bail or try to make it happen. And...I am no Genius.
In the last year, we did a "prepation study" to make sure our Algorithm is capable of succesfully solving the problem. We were given "Dummy" material which was supposedly simulating the case, making me think it was all going well. It did not. Early this year, we got our first sight on the real stuff, and it was - as said - breaking basic assumptions I cannot fix because we dont have any sources. Surpise, work it did not. So in our presentation to our client, we used "fake" stuff. "Fake" as in we used knowledge, that in the real case, will not be available. Think about it as if you knew the ground truth to a classification problem and use that to solve it. It worked because the sample set was limited and we could prepare it. That will not work in the real use case.
This thing has news coverage spanning my country. I am worried about my reputation. There is nothing I can do to make it work; There are people who could, but I dont know if it fits their timetable and bills (likely, it wont).
I do not wish to hurt my employer as in leaving in a hurry. Right now, the project is im prepation. I am not involved in any ongoing projects. I am thinking of quitting with a Years notice, combined with a statement that I will no longer assume any responsibilities with said project (There are more I could spend my time with, plus writing docs.).
Stay or Run?