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I am currently working on a project with a small dev team. The problem is that the lead programmer is "working remotely", and does virtually no work. We have missed every deadline, and at this rate we will miss many more. The lead programmer is a great talker, and has convinced the CEO that everything is fine.

It doesn't bother me that he gets paid for doing nothing. What bothers me is that he is harming every single employee and destroying the company.

It's clear from our project management tool that the lead programmer hasn't delivered most of his tasks.

The idea to critique the code and not the programmer ( My coworker is a nice guy, but his performance is sub-par. Do I tell my boss?) is great, but the problem is not the quality of the code. The problem is that code is not being created.

I feel like I should tell the CEO what is going on, but I also feel like it's not fair to the lead programmer to go behind his back and tell the boss that he is not doing work.

The other problem is that the boss is very direct. I think he will call the lead programmer and say, "This guy says that you aren't doing anything. What's going on?" The result will be that nothing will get solved and the lead programmer will get pissed off, making it difficult to work with him.

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How does "We have missed every deadline" and "has convinced the CEO that everything is fine" fits together? –  Doc Brown Aug 21 '12 at 15:13
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To further what @DocBrown said, how is it that you spotted that the lead programmer hasn't delivered most of his tasks in your project management tool and the CEO or your project manager didn't? –  Yannis Rizos Aug 21 '12 at 15:15
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Unsolicited advice: Code isn't all the work there is. –  NickC Aug 21 '12 at 15:24
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@NickC - You make a great point. There are many things a lead programmer does besides write actual code. Of course the fact they are missing deadlines should be setting off red flags SOMETHING is not working. –  Ramhound Aug 21 '12 at 15:26
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@DocBrown - It sounds like the lead developer should be a sales executive for an 'enterprise' software company rather than a programmer, doesn't it? They're good at missing deadlines while convincing CEO's everything's fine. –  jfrankcarr Aug 21 '12 at 15:26
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closed as off topic by gnat, Bill the Lizard, Tom Squires, Telastyn, PSU_Kardi Aug 21 '12 at 15:37

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1 Answer

If he's ruining the team, then it's up to the team to do something about it. If you can get your team to agree on a course of action and follow through on it then you'll be in a much stronger position than if you act alone.

If you go to the CEO on your own you risk getting yourself labelled as a malcontent even if you're correct in your assessment of the situation. Presenting a united front is all you can do to prevent that. The CEO can ignore one programmer and label them a trouble maker, but (s)he can't ignore all of them (well strictly speaking they could, but it would be a dumb thing for them to do).

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you'd like to think that "(s)he can't ignore all of them." but it's unfortunately, not always the case. However, +1, because you are right. The teams needs to all agree, and present their case as a collective. –  CaffGeek Aug 21 '12 at 15:18
    
I was just about to edit the answer to add (or at least would be extremely foolish to do so). –  GordonM Aug 21 '12 at 15:19
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