I am currently working for the French company as a junior consultant. I started over a year ago here and successfully completed 2 programming projects. These projects went fairly good. It had it's ups and downs, but I was able to work it out.

Currently I have been put on a 3rd project in the same company. This is a project that was already going for a while and they needed more workpower so they (the manager) asked me if I could help. Before accepting it, I checked what had to be done and I saw that there were quite a few things I had no experience with. When I addressed this to the manager, he made sure I would get the necessary help from colleagues. And with that, I accepted the project.

Now, almost 3 months later, things have gone down hill very fast. The seniors on this project are working very hard to fix all problems while trying to implement new things that were on the schedule. I often get smaller tasks from them to speed things up, but (mostly because of my lack of experience for this project) I am unable to finish it in time and do a lot of things wrong what has to be fixed by the seniors who are already loaded with work. Last week something similar happened and because of that, 2 seniors​ had to work a whole Friday night to fix my mistakes. (Which they clearly weren't happy about...).

I am not glad with this neither. I feel useless or even more like a problem. I get stressed from workload I know I won't be able to do. I have even been sick for weeks because of all this stress I get. Compared to my previous projects (in the same company), I have no hope that I will finish this well.

I know a broad question is not really a thing here, but what can I do in this situation? I honestly already thought about asking the consultancy company to send me to another company with a project that I might handle better. I know this will put my in very bad daylight, but I seriously don't feel home at all in this project and know that even the others working on this project don't want me there anymore.

So maybe I can ask it this way: what can I do if I am put on a project that is totally not a job for me?

EDIT: thanks for the comments and replies everyone. To answer a few questions:

I had a performance review a while ago and everything seemed to be positive. They were clearly glad with my work, but this was before the 3rd project started so I don't think the manager knows about the current situation unless some seniors told it.

I can't upvote anyone (Stack claims I am not logged in?) But I will keep all your replies in mind. I will start studying documentation (if there is) and tell the manager about the situation of things continue like this.

  • "When I addressed this to the manager, he made sure I would get the necessary help from colleagues" - Good job. Having already outlined your concerns I don't think this reflects too badly on you. Are you reviewing your performance with said manager? Have you expressed your concerns? This for me is the next step
    – Preston
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 9:43
  • 1
    Doing some work like preparing integration tests would be valuable for the project and allow you to get familiar with the system without interfering with the direct system implementation.
    – pmf
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 9:48
  • It's to be expected that a junior developer will make mistakes, and supporting junior developers is part of a senior developer's job. It sounds like you feel that you're making more mistakes than would be normal; but that may not be true. You've done the right thing by voicing your concerns to your manager. Do you get regular performance reviews? If not, you could ask for one. They may be quite pleased with your performance. Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 9:50
  • It sounds like you have taken responsibility and already addressed this to your manager once. The mistakes you're making sound fairly reasonable for a junior level developer. At the end of the day you've expressed your concerns and they didn't really take everything into account. The last thing you should do is worry about it.
    – Snoop
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 10:17
  • Your account is currently unregistered which is preventing you from voting and may cause you to lose access to it if the login cookie associated with your browser is gone. You may want to register.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 11:17

4 Answers 4


Although working on stuff that was not in your perks list might be a good way to progress, you have many options:

Talk to your manager

Explain this to your manager, making sure he understands the project doesn't fit you and you might cause more delays than progress.

Ask for help

These seniors might have documentation, emails, specification documents, meeting notes, etc. It may be worth the shot spending 1 whole week learning about the project than working on it.

Work with Test (or better, Behavior) Driven Development

If the company has a large enough code pool, or is serious about bugfixing, they may already implement a whatever Driven Development. Make sure you try to do the tests before you start working on the code. It might help you understand what you need to do and can direct you to the proper classes/methods faster. If there's already testing code inside, check that first, so that you can understand what's under the hood.


Talk to your manager and clearly explain the situation. He told you that the seniors would compensate for your lack of experience in the field, what you are living proves that it doesn't.

You could say something like

I have trouble finishing the work on time and I think my lack of experience in the field is the reason. Can I have some training in order to catch up a little bit with the rest of the team ? If not, would it be possible to switch me to a project more suitable for my skills ?

Don't incriminate him for putting you on this team, just try to look for a solution with him so both your sanity and the project goes fine.

Bon courage l'ami.


OK, you need to talk to your manager as soon as you can prepared. You should have talked to him weeks ago when it first became clear that you were not going to get the support he had promised you would get.

Putting off talking to a manager about a problem that has come up at work is generally one the worst mistakes you can make. What was a minor problem at first becomes a major problem when it is put off.

If at all possible you need to bring documentation of how you have tried to ask for help and been pushed off. Detail what you have done to try to get the skills you lack. If you don't have this sort of thing, it is going to look as if you never asked and then it becomes much more your fault. You need to go with a plan for what training you need to be productive on this project or ask to be moved to one more suited to your skills.

It might be useful to talk to the others on the project and find out what they think you need to get more productive. Sometimes you are not doing as badly as you think. Someone trying to get better is given more slack than someone who just waits for others to act.


Yo! This is not your fault. Take a breather.

I've read in a few different studies that it's foolishness to have a project with a tight deadline and add more developers in the middle. Why? Because everyone new is going to need someone to monitor their personal learning curve -- exactly like the situation you're in.

This logic is like failed cooking logic. You have a recipe that calls for you to bake a chicken for an hour at 250 degrees, but try to get it faster (assuming it'll take a half hour) at 500 degrees. It doesn't work!

Soak up what you can, but don't take things personally. It's something you have to grow into and experience as a developer. There may be fallout - and you might cite what I'm sharing with you here as your defense. Next time, you can be more cautious about projects (assuming you have a choice), but right now, you can just do "damage control" based on what I'm sharing with you.

90% of software projects fail. Don't take it personally.

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