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The company I'm working in is developing a long-term project (2 years).

I joined the company as a developer 3 months after the project start. When I started the team consisted of 5 people without me (one senior, two developers, two juniors). Now only the senior and me are left working on this project.

And now the old technical lead has asked if I want to join him at his new work. If I get this job I don't see any reason which could hold me back from this opportunity. I also heard a rumor that the other senior developer is starting to look for other opportunities.

The company lacks ressources in every department. They also never developed such an application and lack a lot of knowledge. The company's core business is hardware and they only did some small integrations until now. Deadlines are more idea that maybe we will be done by then. We do not even know the full featureset for the release and neither the management. Personly I feel the project is likely to fail.


  • Could it be seen in a bad light by future employers when I leave the "sinking ship" or could it even be seen as if I brought the shipp to sink?

closed as too broad by Caleb, Retired Codger, Mister Positive, gnat, David K Apr 28 '17 at 14:49

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Could you be more specific about what you're asking? I see at least 4 broad questions. – Caleb Apr 28 '17 at 14:08
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    @Caleb My core question is what can I do or do I have to do to ensure the success of the project after my departer? Further then mitigate the risk of the bus factor. – user69374 Apr 28 '17 at 14:12
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    to the downvoters=> still to generic? or can any other improvement be made? – user69374 Apr 28 '17 at 14:14
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    Possible duplicate of How to resign from company that will fail if I quit – David K Apr 28 '17 at 14:49
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    The current version seems clear to me (thanks), but you're asking three different-but-related questions. The first might be a dupe of the one David K linked to. How to present this to future employers is a good question, and how to mitigate without tipping your hand is a good question (if not already covered by the dupe). Could you focus this question on one of those and ask separately for the others (if not dupes)? Thanks. – Monica Cellio Apr 28 '17 at 15:35
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You do what is best for you. Your company would not hesitate to use your contract for their advantage the second they'd have an economic benefit. It's only a level playing field, if you do so as well.

If you like the new job, go get it. You are under no obligation to notify anyone in advance except for your contractual notice period.

If the company needs to hire new employees, that's their problem. If you are a key resource, that's their problem. They pay your for what was agreed upon in the contract. You don't owe them more than that. If the company had needed a longer notice period, they should have written it in the contract (and paid you accordingly).

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    You are your number one priority from a career perspective. You have to look out for you. Excellent answer. – Mister Positive Apr 28 '17 at 14:17
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    Blindly following the tech lead who already abandoned this project may not be what's best for you. If you're really looking at making a switch, take a look at all of your options and do a full job search. – Glen Pierce Apr 28 '17 at 14:36
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You owe nothing more than to do your current job to the best of your ability.

  • Keep working on what you have assigned or scheduled.
  • Pursue this other opportunity
  • Be respectful and give an appropriate notice period, this is when you document what are working on etc., prepare for whomever is going to pick up the pieces.

You have to watch your own career. Working on a failing project can have many ramifications including career stagnation, depression, fatigue.

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And now the old technical lead has asked if I want to join him at his new work.

Any reason to believe that he's not inviting you to join another disaster? Don't just hope your old tech lead is offering a better option, take a real look around and see what other opportunities are available to you.

No one is going to blame you as a developer for leaving a place because of poor management. Do you think less of the others who abandoned it? In particular, are you at all concerned that the tech lead you mentioned won't just desert you the same way they have before?

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    The reason for not looking around further or waiting for hints if the project is realy going to fail is the company he's working for. And yes I'm concerend about the future plans of the tech lead. But I think if I could work there for no matter how long the experiance is worth it. – user69374 Apr 28 '17 at 14:36
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    "no matter how long" - if I see a candidate with a position on their resume that lasted less than a year, I have questions. If it's less than 6 months, I usually have serious concerns. If the company he is working for is in the big 5: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, or Apple, the company's reputation is worth moving for on it's own, otherwise, it's probably not. – Glen Pierce Apr 28 '17 at 14:39
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    Its not in the big five but in the fortune 100 2017 – user69374 Apr 28 '17 at 15:06
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My core question is what can I do or do I have to do to ensure the success of the project after my departure? Further then mitigate the risk of the bus factor.

That is not your issue. It is the issue of the management, they have to ensure that the bus factor is on adequate level, not you. If bad management caused almost the whole team to leave, than it is not your fault that the bus factor becomes 1.

I came to the conclusion that it's better if I don't say anything until I've signed the new contract?

You could at least talk to your seniors/your management and say that you are very unhappy with the described situation (don't mention to leave yet). I predict that instead of a real attempt to enhance the situation in the long run you get either lip-service promises that they will change the situation (which they won't) or they will be upset. Both will verify your intention to leave but if you do it this way no one could claim that you did not show any signs for leaving (which is also not an obligation, rather a manner). If you have the confirmation of your new employer that you are accepted (that is before even you get the new contract) you submit your notice.

Could it be seen in a bad light by future employers when I leave the "sinking ship" or could it even be seen as if I brought the ship to sink?

Let me ask this question: Do future employers need to know why you left this company? And even if they want, tell'em the truth: Management messed up and could not motivate and preserve a team for project and is unable to plan in the long run. Instead of hiring new staff, you get more and more tasks of the resigned team which affect your health.

An employer who does not understand this as a feasible reason for your leave of the previous company is not worthy to enjoy your presence.

I came to the conclusion that it's better if I don't say anything until I've singed the new contract?

Again, that is not your obligation, it is the managements task to secure an adequate bus factor in the long run.

CONCLUSION: Companies emerge, (bad) companies go and that often due to reasons on which you do not have any influence (like in your case, at least it seems to me). There is no reason why you should invest any time or your nerves for attempts to save what cannot be saved. Besides, management and HR departments calculate your salary strictly "according to the market standards." It is then only justified to let them feel the "market" (better offer, more cash = good bye).

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From experience, the best thing to do may be to give notice now. It sounds like you are worried about leaving them high and dry. If you gave them a month or two notice, that will allow them to find a replacement/adjust and will give you time to find a job (depending on how the marketplace is for your career). This also depends on how friendly the company is; I've heard horror stories about some companies slashing hours or becoming blatantly hostile when an employee gives notice.

Should I start do something to prevent the bus factor even if it could be raising suspicion?

Just felt to address this as an aside. Whether a person is planning to leave or not, one should always attempt to raise the bus factor. This isn't always possible in a small company or start-up because....well, there aren't enough people.

Could it be seen in a bad light by future employers when I leave the "sinking ship" or could it even be seen as if I brought the shipp to sink?

It all depends how diplomatic you can be in conversation. You stayed at the company for two years if I read correctly. That is not dishonorable; that is normal.