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Enabling Virtual Team Relationships – Part VIII

Another Problem on the Team

Read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI and Part VII of our story for background information.

Overall progress is being made on the team and the team members are working together effectively. There is one other problem that has arisen on the team that is of concern to Alice.

Ali has been working with Siraj on an important component of the project that was beginning to fall behind in the schedule. This was impactful on the team because the delay on their component meant the other team members were not able to move forward with their work until Siraj and Ali had completed their tasks. They had a few issues before, but nothing that Alice has had to get involved them – they had worked out the issues and kept the project moving forward.

This time, however, it seemed Alice needed to get involved and she was upset that she didn’t realize what was going on sooner than now. Siraj, who had the most experience on the team, was leading his component of the project, guiding along Ali who was new to the company, new to working full-time and certainly new to application development. Ali was supposed to be assisting Siraj but not taking the lead or working without direction. He was still learning. However, Alice found out from one of the stakeholders that Ali appeared to be handling the brunt of the work and there were many errors because of it. Ali just didn’t know what he was doing. When the stakeholder asked Ali why it appeared he was the one releasing work for testing/review, Ali told him that Siraj was tied up with other work and asked Ali to manage their component of the project for the next month.

Alice was surprised to hear all this because in recent meetings with Siraj, he mentioned nothing to her at all. In fact, he reported that things were going well and moving in the right direction.

Alice decided she needed to get more information before her phone meeting with Siraj. She reached out to Ali to understand the situation. Ali told her during their phone call that about 3 weeks ago Siraj told him that he was working on another project and needed to spend time on that project. Since the project that he and Ali were working on was so far along, Siraj asked Ali to finish up what needed to be done and work with the stakeholders regarding testing and review of the work. Ali was doing the best he could but acknowledged that he was just learning the technology at the same time as working with it. Siraj provided him a manual and said he was available for questions, but Ali felt uncomfortable reaching out to him so much and wanted to try it on his own. He was obviously shaken up in his phone call with Alice. Alice thanked him for his time and told him to hold on what he was doing. She was going to get another team member to work alongside him until she could catch up with Siraj. Alice asked Mimi to help Ali in the meantime.

Alice reached out to Siraj and set a virtual meeting date to discuss the tasks he was leading.

Part IX – Preparing for and Meeting with Siraj

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