I work as a software developer. Our company has 6 developers and roughly 6-8 projects going on at the same time.

My supervisor sometimes assigns me to start working on a project, and when the code is about 30% ready, assigns someone else to keep working on the project instead of me.

Alternatively, they would assign me to work on a project that was started by someone else. Then I have to navigate through someone's undocumented, messy code, which means for a couple of days I can hardly produce anything, and afterwards it takes some extra effort to rewrite things and understand the logic.

I've tried asking directly why I am being reassigned, but the answers are always generic - "it's because we got a new project coming", or "it is because [another supervisor] wants you on this project".

From gossip, it appears that this is a deliberate tactic that the management has specifically discussed.

People in our company generally work for a long time (several years) before quitting, and have a 2-month notice period. So I assume this is not the reason.

These reassignments and inability to complete any single project are really demotivating.

Is there a reason why they'd do this and how can I deal with it?

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There can be multiple reasons for such a strategy. What ever it maybe, you should consider your job satisfaction. A demotivating and depressing working environment is like a toxic relationship. Talk to management, if they are unwilling to make any concessions to improve your situation then Escape, while you can, before you burn out and lose passion for the profession.


I am in a similar situation, but I view it quite differently than you.

I am bounced around project to project quite regularly. The reason I was given for this (and it makes sense), is that I have never missed a deadline. I am willing to do whatever it takes to meet my deadline. I was working doubles for a few weeks not too long ago ensure that I would not miss a deadline. I see this as a positive. It means that your management know that you are capable of good work.

This comes at a price, in your case, you are not happy with this arrangement, so I can see why it would be frustrating. If you have already brought it up a couple of times, there is a good chance that nothing will change. You should start looking for another job that will make you happy. Personally, I love being bounced around to new projects and fixing other peoples mess. Every time I do it, I gain experience in a new area and become even more of an asset.

If you do decide to stick it out and embrace the positives, keep in mind this also comes at price. You will constantly be fighting deadlines that may have been set before you even started. Because of that, they may be close to impossible to meet. Some people would pull their hair out in my position. It's a very "under the gun" type of life. Some people thrive on it and others don't