One of my co-workers stated that he has done a test of the application he's working on, and that it's currently running on ten PCs. But I've found that it's running on a single PC only, and the tests on this PC failed, a fact that can be deduced from the log files quite easily. My projects are dependent on this project, that he's currently responsible for.

The same guy made quite a few problems for me recently, and I have no idea how far he can go (e.g. sabotage my work).

How can I resolve this situation? Just report this to the PM?

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    Did you mention this to your coworker? Something like, "Hey, your tests are failing on my machine.". Maybe the 10 machines he tested on are configured one way, while your machine is configured another way. From your message it sounds like you may be jumping the gun with talk about lying, sabotaging your work, etc.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 8:17
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    @Brandin, impossible. If it didn't succeed - then it didn't.
    – XenoMind
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 8:21
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    Normally when tests fail you should report it to the developer. "Hey, your tests are failing on my machine." Just start with that and see what happens before escalating things. And don't assume he's lying or "sabotaging" things. Even if you think this is the case, don't show it while you're communicating with him.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 8:26
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    "and I have no idea how far he can go" I assume you just mean that his shoddy work can have a big impact on your part of the project? Or are you referring to intentional sabotage?
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 9:35
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    @Brandin It wouldn't even hurt to CC your manager especially if this person in on another team. Something like, "Person X, I tested it on my machine and it doesn't work. Here are the log files."
    – Dan
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 18:21

3 Answers 3


Don't tell him straight out that he is lying. As a starting point run the test on your own equipment, then ask him what you did wrong when it fails.

If he doesn't fix things after that, then you can escalate. But no sane(ish) person would reiterate a lie when it's been shown to be one. This way he has leeway to get the job done which is all you really should care about. On the offchance that he insists on not correcting the issue, then take it to your manager because it will impact on your portion of the project. Run the test and fail again with your manager and the rest is up to him/her.

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    True that. And as always, keep a written reccord of it. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 9:49
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    Good comment. We used to have a rule that you couldn't say 'It worked for me' when things failed on the build machine. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 14:25
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    Be sure to point out that you expected to send this, and expected to get back something. It's important to share that part since the other developer could just say you're sending it wrong. This happened before for me and easily corrected when just shown what you send and what you expect.
    – Dan
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 18:23

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Maybe he thinks it's running on 10 machines but doesn't know yet? Maybe you two misunderstood each other? Just defaulting to assumption that it's a lie isn't a great way to go.

Just talk to him and try to find ways how to fix issues that cause issues with the tests.

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    The path of least assumptions is almost always the safer one, and almost always the right one to take. Razor it. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 13:06
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    @Mindwin Ironically, all answers here assume OP is jumping the gun and assuming things that aren't proven even though it could very well be that OP has investigated enough to draw the conclusion he did, since he mentioned checking logs etc...
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 13:43
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    @Kevin Doing it this way is better in all cases. For example, suppose the coworker didn't actually test on those 10 machines for whatever reason. When you point out "Hey, it didn't work for me", he will have a chance to redeem himself, whether it was oversight, honest error, exagerration, etc. However if you decide to go in with charges of lying and sabotage, it almost certainly won't end well.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 13:55
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    I'd put it like this: continuing to maintain the presumption of good faith is safer because a) it may be true, and b) if it's not, that will be discovered and it's better for your relationship with the coworker and your reputation, with no harm done. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 14:01

I believe your assumption that he's lying. This won't be something new in our world :) However, I don't see that you talked to him about this.

To you, it looks like inferior work ethics: It looks like he's trying to do nothing and still get paid. To him, it's a last ditch attempt to keep his job: he's way over his head in this task. If he actually didn't care about this, he'd have admitted this is beyond his current skills and let the managers asses if he's salvageable as an employee or needs to find another job.

I actually think he cares about this job and this task very much. Maybe too much, that he's willing to make moral compromises and put himself in a "double or nothing" situation.

Why don't you bring this up to him, don't judge or patronize - just help him get it running and once everyone's happy, let him know you'll be there for him next time too (of course, that's just to encourage him to raise his hand nice and early, instead of "buying time" and risking a big disappointment).

To be honest, people who will bite more than they can chew and lie about it, tend to be a liability. However, if they are taught to be more open and cooperative, their willingness to take charge pays off!

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