I am working in a company as a programmer. I am in charge of a project which recently came to production. No bugs, just some modifications. The system had as deadline 4 months, finished in 2 and the rest went to do trial and error tests.

those who want some modification of the system must send an e-mail to my boss, then he estimate how long those modifications will be fulfilled and tell them, a deadline is established there.

The problem is when I finish what is required (always before 30% of the deadline time) I let him know but it does not matter at the moment. I realize that users (usually managers) begin to ask about the progress of the system after the deadline and he says that the programmer has not yet finished what is required. what should I do? The days go by and I spend 15 days a month doing nothing but sitting at my desk (the days go slow). Maybe I do not win some prize for meeting goals. Should i ask to do another projects?

  • 6
    There's much more to programming beyond just cranking out code. Testing it is a key part of your job, you should probably do more. You can also look at things like disaster recovery or planning long-term upgrades. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 20:50
  • 3
    Did you consider to have a chat with your manager that it feels to you like he slows down the process and that you are willing to take more load? Apart from that, there are many things a developer should do when there are no tickets left: Start side projects to improve workflows, read books, learn new technologies, refactor code, pay down technical debt, help/teach others... Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 21:07
  • 2
    Can you use that free time to automate as much as you can your current job ? I realize this would ultimately make the free-time "problem" worse but at least on short term, you'd be less bored.
    – ereOn
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 22:22
  • 2
    It's not a bad thing per se if your boss is managing to run your department in a way that you're not at 100% capacity, for all sorts of reasons - allowing for possible sickness or absence, the day when things do take longer than expected, increasing responsiveness, and so on.
    – user45019
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 0:05
  • 2
    he says that the programmer has not yet finished what is required. what should I do? Does this apply to you? If so, finish what is required. If you don't know what is required, ask.
    – Brandin
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 7:13

3 Answers 3


I think what you need to do is ask your boss how you can get some face time with the groups that you create applications for.

One of the most common things I see with younger/new developers - especially the good ones - is that they are very segmented with the groups that will actually use their applications. So they may get a list of things to do and do those things but they do not know exactly how those things will impact the workflow of the users.

Your boss is probably either trying to temper expectations or he is trying to create a buffer of possible bugs/issues/changes that will be requested on a given project.

You as a developer by learning the user needs and workflow can create a better end product and can start developing on your own if you know the real end goal. Meaning if you really know your users workflow and they want you to improve 1-5 on the next release, you can start working on 6-20 if you get done early. But if you are waiting for exacts, you don't understand your own application's usage.


A couple of people have already recommended that you go talk to your manager, and that's totally your first step! If it does not yield any results, try this.

The next time you get a project and finish it ahead of schedule, let your manager know, then start improving the code, visuals and anything else that you can find for it.

What you're trying to do is 'shine'. Hopefully you're working on something where you have a UI or something that people can 'see/feel'. Work on this until the user interface is amazing, has things that slide, things that shrink.. what ever you can. Just think 'Bells and Whistles'

When you hand over this work a couple of weeks later, and everything works as desired, but it's also so incredibly showy and over polished, someone's going to ask 'what the hell?' and they are going to take a closer look at your time management. This is your opportunity to talk to the right person, (at the right time) about the fact that you don't have 'enough' work to do.

Word or warning: This is a risky move, for a variety of reasons. Think of all the ways this can go wrong in your employment, and weigh up the options.

Word of warning: This could also go very well in your favor.


You should speak to your manager and suggest his estimations are generous. Maybe suggest a review meeting going through the suggested modifications and together estimate timescales.

Note there could be other external factors (politics etc) which mean your boss is inflating your apparent workload, so the above may not work...

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .