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So we have a reset feature in the one of the sections in one of our applications & yesterday someone did a reset which caused the production data for a user to be reset but thankfully we didn't lose any data.

Now, we would have found who did this but we don't have the feature to keep track of reset logs. Partly due to this feature not being included when the section of the application was being developed. Me & my manager did talk about this verbally it being included but he or product manager never actually put this in the requirements or made any stories about this.

Now my manager thought this was a requirement & he actually bragged about this in one of the monthly team meetings we have. And I feel I should have corrected him right there & then but I never did.

I feel like he would try to throw me under the bus for this, how can I diplomatically handle this?

  • I'm a bit thrown off by this story. So someone clicked a Reset button - which was never a requirement - which deleted data, but the management is actually bragging that this feature is the best thing ever? Did I miss something here? – Dan Oct 5 '16 at 16:57
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    Reset button was a requirement, but the keeping the logs of the reset was not. – user3777390 Oct 5 '16 at 17:18
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    Okay I understand this now. Your manager was bragging about a logging feature but it was never actually an requirement. And now you're wondering if you should have spoken up but feel he would have used that to shift the blame to you. – Dan Oct 5 '16 at 17:45
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    In that case I would say it sounds like you did do your best to bring it up. You actually sat down and verbally stated it. There isn't much you can do and bringing it up that you told him might backfire, as you say, in that he could shift the blame. However, now that the limitation has been exposed, it makes more sense to work towards the solution rather than falling into the "I told you so." Also if you are frequently being ignored, perhaps it is time to find a new job. – Dan Oct 5 '16 at 19:37
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    @JoeStrazzere Don't know how much the question was changed but I don't agree with "You knew it was expected and you didn't deliver". If it was expected, it should have been in the written requirements in accordance with company's process (at least I assume from the question that that is their process). Otherwise why bother with written requirements and not just throw random feature requests at developers during lunch break? – AllTheKingsHorses Oct 6 '16 at 9:04
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Blame is, more often than not, for children and politicians. It's essentially a useless activity that only serves to draw focus away from the individual doing the blaming. So yes, your manager will probably throw you under the bus because that's what people do.

Don't focus on the blame but focus on responsibilities.

  • It was someone's responsibility to put it in the requirements documents
  • It was someone's responsibility to make user stories
  • It is someone's responsibility to work from the requirements and the stories

I suspect that your role is the third one. Focus on that. Accept responsibility for what you are required to do, not what you should have done, at least outwardly. As Joe said in a comment, learn from your mistake. However, learning from your mistake doesn't mean throwing yourself on the sword either.

It's your manager's job to make sure everything gets managed, i.e. put in the documents. If you're a coder then requirements gathering is outside your scope. When he tries to throw you under the bus, don't admit anything. Don't offer to share the blame, even informally. Just know that you should do better next time and then do better next time. There's no need to sacrifice yourself out of guilt. Your manager formally screwed up. You just made an error in judgement. You didn't fail in your formal responsibilities. That's a crucial distinction.

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    +1. The old approach of "What happened, Why did it happen, and how do we keep it from happening again" is all that is needed – Retired Codger Oct 5 '16 at 15:37
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    @JoeStrazzere fault vs responsibility. Sure it's his fault, in part. But ultimately it's his manager's responsibility. It's like "see something, say something". He could have prevented it but it wasn't his job to prevent it. I mainly agree with your comment on the Q which says to learn from it and move on. I'm just saying that he shouldn't risk consequences by giving his boss cover and validating any blame shifting. I hope I'm making sense. – Chris E Oct 5 '16 at 16:14
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    @JoeStrazzere 18 years ago I was on a project where something went wrong and we spent a week determining blame and not fixing it. In a fit of frustration I said, "Look, if you HAVE to blame someone, blame me. Can we fix it now?" People took it to heart even though it really wasn't my fault. So the less one gets involved in the blame game, the better for everyone. Don't lie, don't deny but don't volunteer blame. – Chris E Oct 5 '16 at 18:32
  • @ChristopherEstep I was with a wonderful group where there was no blamestorming. Nobody was ever punished for a mistake (unless they made the same one twice) and the focus was always on resolving the issue and preventing it from happening again. in that environment, we made very few mistakes and the ones that were made were quickly resolved as nobody was trying to hide them. – Retired Codger Oct 5 '16 at 19:23
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I think its important to think about how your manager typically communicates with you and the team. Does he\she always submit formal feature requests? Or, because of their working-relationship with you, do they typically have conversations and get an "inside track" to getting feature\bug fixes?

Perhaps this was gross neglect on your manager's part. Perhaps they looked like a fool and felt you had to take the brunt. That is a horrible boss.

However, perhaps they thought you came to an understanding, and that you didn't follow through. Additionally, in your comments above, you indicate they had confirmed in a later meeting that such feature would be included - at that point, I believe the onus is on you. At this point, you are aware of the feature, you didn't follow through - either to add it or to confirm it wouldn't be available.

To me, missing a feature is just that.. a missed feature. Your boss shouldn't have mentioned you by name, that's not cool. But, if you're concerned about the impact and miscommunication, why not have a conversation with your manager. Inform them that you want to know what happened and how to better handle. Explain your side of the situation, and you want to know how to ensure it doesn't happen again.

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