332 votes

How to deal with an underperforming subordinate?

So here's the part that seems sketchy to me: You've asked your employee, John, to do unpaid overtime work on the weekend. The reason it's "work" is because learning Angular is not something John ...
  • 44.8k
306 votes

How do I explain to a team that the project they will work on for six months will certainly be cancelled?

telling someone “your 6 months work will be a total waste” is not easy Don't think of it as a waste, try to look at it as an opportunity. Ultimately you won't be required to deliver (but I would ...
  • 1,778
259 votes

Just found I was supposed to be working on a completely different project since 8 months ago. How can I handle this?

You know what? I'll do the frame challenge answer and say, Don't Tuck Tail. Oh, don't get me wrong. You're going to get blamed a bit, and possibly thrown under a bus. But trying to flee and find ...
  • 30k
239 votes

Team being on standby on weekends?

Your CEO noticed on Monday that something went wrong. So apparently he or she thought it was fine for themselves not to be on standby. Fact is: Being on standby is something that people will want ...
  • 163k
230 votes

How to say No to idea given by team member, when I know from my experience that it is going to fail?

You do this by presenting the thought process that led you to this conclusion - not the conclusion alone. This gives the team, or the individual, a chance to offer their perspective regarding your ...
  • 4,337
229 votes

Should I force a slower developer to change tool to try to increase their velocity?

Management needs to set measurable goals. They then need to confirm the developer is hitting those goals. If not, they need to take action. If you are facing issues related to this and are not this ...
  • 110k
191 votes

Should I tell my boss the work he did was worthless?

The short answer: No, you should not tell your boss that his work was worthless. Instead, express that it's not what you need. My rationale is that worthless is emotionally charged, maximally ...
  • 6,004
162 votes

Developers demotivated due to working on same project for more than 2 years

As my study of this situation, there are other problems, actual problems that needs to be investigated. People simply don't get demotivated for working 2+ years on the same project, they get ...
  • 67.1k
161 votes

Constantly pulled onto different tasks/projects, becoming exhausted

To triage while looking for a different job: start pushing back. Phrases like: "I will look into that first thing tomorrow" "I'm in the middle of something, can I get back to you in X minutes/hours?" ...
  • 110k
161 votes

Project I was hired for is off the rails due to constantly changing requirements, now it's me on the spot

DOCUMENT EVERYTHING Every time there is a change of scope do the following: Document the change. Show the effects this will have on your work Submit a new timeline Have the stake holders sign off ...
158 votes

What would you say to bosses that think programming jobs are interchangeable?

I'd tell them they are right, so how are we going to achieve that goal in practice? In principle, this is a laudable and achievable goal. Let's look at the specifics: If every single developer is ...
  • 8,282
157 votes

I agreed to cancel a long-planned vacation (with travel costs) due to project deadlines, but now the timeline has all changed again

Should I do anything further (if so how) in terms of bringing this up to management, project manager, etc? They've already paid you in terms of your "expenses" and given you extra time off, so I'...
144 votes

What would you say to bosses that think programming jobs are interchangeable?

Collective code ownership is a thing within Agile development and it generally is considered a Good Thing. But it seems that your boss(es) have just taken one thing they like from the agile manifesto ...
  • 4,651
144 votes

How to manage an army of not-really-devs trying to write code for the sake of project management?

Cover your butt, and have an escape plan ready, because this will probably blow up in your face You can't take a bunch of people who have never written code before and suddenly expect them to start ...
  • 1,139
133 votes

How to politely state that a software requirement is infeasible?

Very few things in software engineering are actually infeasible. They might take a lot of time and/or cost a lot of money, but most things can be done eventually one way or another. "The ...
130 votes

I'm the Tech Lead, my boss is the PM. In case of disagreement, how much should I push my point of view?

We all encounter this kind of conflict. The only thing you can do is DOCUMENT EVERYTHING There's nothing wrong with the boss being the boss until he tries to push his mistakes off on others. The ...
129 votes

Should I force a slower developer to change tool to try to increase their velocity?

As an old school developer myself who uses text editors and the CLI, I can say that forcing someone to use different tools will not necessarily increase speed. That said, if you're the team lead, it ...
127 votes

How can I avoid being blamed for project management failure when I am merely a senior programmer?

I'm tired of doing PM's job and yet if I stop, the project will probably fail. Then let it fail. As soon as possible. By doing other people's jobs, you are becoming an enabler. You enable them to do ...
  • 127k
124 votes

My manager has decided to continue work on a project cancelled by the CEO

Normally, you should do what your manager asks you to do. Unless the CEO personally reached out to your team and asked you to stop working on the project, I would continue to do what your manager is ...
  • 74k
124 votes

Am I overreacting to a new rule where I have to check-in my status every morning?

While this is a counterproductive step as framed, it’s more effective to lean into it than fight it. You admit to a litany of errors in the first sprint, so responsible management has to look more ...
  • 34.1k
123 votes

Deleted 2 days of work and no backup

This is a very unfortunate situation but since you can't change it anymore, make it a valuable experience. Do I have to report in daily scrum? Yes! If you are scared of telling this to your team, ...
  • 5,988
122 votes

Answering questions of project failure during interviews

After reading interview questions about "describe a time when a project you have lead has failed" As an interviewer, if I asked this question I would be most interested in your role and how you ...
  • 11.9k
121 votes

How to respond to, "How long will this take?" when in a new job position

I don't mind busting my ass; I mind the sense of dread and emergency she approaches every conversation with because she's worried about the project timelines. It stresses me out and makes me feel ...
121 votes

Being blamed for something you don't consider your mistake

What should I have done differently? From my experience, projects that require crazy (in my country even illegal) hours with lousy project management will fail anyway. And anybody but the project ...
  • 127k
114 votes

My manager asked me to hide project costs. Is it unethical for me to comply?

Just ask what you should bill your time on instead. Archive those e-mails in case someone higher up ask you why you are charging your time the way you do. Depending on the answer, you have to decide....
  • 22.2k
110 votes

Boss wants my team to work weekends

Reading your question and while completely agreeing with keshlam's answer, I think the right question to ask is, as a manager, "how can you get your boss to prioritise new work rather than imposing an ...
  • 46.6k
108 votes

How can I highlight how much better I've made our code and deal with a coworker that disagrees?

The normal situation here would be for you to work with colleagues and management to argue the benefits of rewriting it, get your co-workers on board, provide documentation, provide time estimates, ...
  • 34.4k
105 votes

How can I argue against the idea of working overtime to fix bugs (constantly)?

I think there are already answers covering many aspects, but if you're looking for a good response to this emotional manipulation, you could maybe say something like that: If I am not rested, I ...
  • 839
104 votes

How to politely decline unproductive jobs assigned by my manager?

Unfortunately, you don't get to decide what activities are productive and unproductive - the manager does. The manager thought you would be good for this role and allocated resources (you) according ...
  • 9,495

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