Should I stay or should I segfault?
January 18, 2011 7:39 AM Subscribe
Seeking advice on troubles with a project at work. What started out as a great project hasn't gone well of late, and I'm considering leaving. (I think this sounds oddly like a relationship question, and in a way it is. 16-bit snowflake details inside).
posted by anonymous to Technology (9 answers total)
I work as a programmer at a large company. About 18 months ago, I started a project with another guy to upgrade a piece of sub-par technology that we have (that is very central to our business). This project was quite ambitious, and something that I'm quite passionate about. The project has gone fairly well technically, in that we produced something that works fairly well, with some rough areas, and shows lots of promise to my mind (I'm obviously biased, but we have some supporters who confirm this point of view). We did this in a reasonable period of time for the project involved.
In terms of adoption however, things haven't gone well. The most obvious customers for our project are not really long-term thinkers (in my opinion, but members will admit this privately). They are a large group, and have reacted in a variety of ways (with some supporters), but the main decision-makers have subtly discouraged adoption within their group. There doesn't seem to be too much debate about whether our project is superior, it's basically coming down to a question of priorities (and by this, I mean that their main motivation seems to be to avoid committing to any extra work, no matter what the future consequences). Naturally enough, we did seek their approval before starting this project, which we got. What we didn't get was actual commitment, which I recognise as a mistake in hindsight. A change in management hasn't helped us here either.
My management is quite supportive of this (the project would be gone now, otherwise), and it would probably be beneficial career-wise for me to continue, regardless of how things turn out. I should add that we now have more people resources than we started with, though the project almost certainly wouldn't survive my leaving it. We've done some soul-searching of late, and some compromises have been made on both sides. However, this essentially means some changes in direction, and longer timelines to deliver (which i would estimate as being over 6 months away). Our customers still haven't fully committed to the project, but have agreed to some measures to make our lives less difficult.
This situation periodically upsets me, and I'm starting to feel somewhat depressed. I have trouble making progress at work when I'm not focussed. I feel like I've done an enormous amount of work, just to have the opportunity to do more work. I'm becoming very uneasy at the idea of another 6 months in project limbo. Though I'm not sure what I would do otherwise, I'm not worried about finding other opportunities. What does the hivemind recommend I do about this?