I've got a teammate that fails to follow through with his responsibilities on a regular basis. He is extremely knowledgeable from a tech standpoint and understands the code very well. When he is motivated to do his job, the results are at a minimum admirable.
Problem is, he often will tell me something will be done, and then it doesn't get done and the next day there is a reason. And then the next day there is a reason. Sometimes there is no reason provided at all.
Obviously this is affecting team performance, and I am having to answer to my bosses about it. I do my best to shield the individuals on my team from direct criticism, instead deflecting it towards myself. At this point, I know that I can't keep covering for him and I'm already being stretched a little to thin to follow up on his items (he is one of the more senior members, I spend a fair amount of time helping our junior devs through their tasks).
Now, here's the conflict for me. Our company recently went through some light lay-offs, and I am 95% sure that if he is removed from my team he will be let go as well. This bothers me for three reasons:
- I don't feel that he should be fired. The project we are on is not fun, the client we work for is frustrating in their methodology. I wouldn't blame a single person on my team for quitting, and in fact I tell my boss every day that I will likely be looking for a new job if they seek to extend my contract past the end of this year. We signed up for new dev with this company and got dumped on a support and maintenance engagement that, in my opinion, nobody deserves to be doing as staff augmentation. This is not standard for our company.
- I've had to fire people in the past in other roles. I strongly believe that since I'm the one who is going to push that cart down the rail here, I should be the one to take responsibility on it as well. It is hard for me to say "he's no good" and then let someone else deal with it.
- I think a different project for him, where he could get back into writing code instead of bug/data fixes, would be very beneficial for his morale. He's been stuck on 2 projects across the last 2 years that have largely been seen as "trouble children" within our company.
At this point, I am likely going to have another discussion with him about the importance of getting work done and not misleading the client about when things will be completed. We all slack off some here, as the environment we work in is very laid back (no one will ever question why you are looking at Youtube or how you spent each minute of your day). I tend to lead my team in a results over method mindset -- that is, I don't care how you get your work done and how you spend your day as long as you're giving fair estimates on work effort and completing the work, blockers aside.
What are the next steps I need to take here?