#1 Edited by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

EDIT: One hour before his deadline, our team member submitted something acceptable. It isn't great, but it works. So for now he is still with it. He also knows that we will kill him if he isn't productive for the rest of the term.

I'm looking for guidance. Giant Bomb being the source of all knowledge, I thought that I'd look for it here.

I'm in a class called "Game Design and Development" at university. The class is a single term, and is more or less a big group project. I am one of 3 people in our group. I think you can see where this is going.

One of our members has done virtually no work. After setting up the repository that we all work from, he was supposed to do a fairly simple level generation system. He said that it would take him 3 weeks, but continued to let it slip. He missed meetings and took ages to respond to emails (even simple ones asking for design input). It became increasingly clear to us that we were going to have to do the bulk of the work ourselves, and we now have what may well be the most fully featured game in the class (assuming that we finish according to schedule). We gradually stopped asking for his input, and just assumed that we would have to do everything except that level system.

As he continued to make promises about deadlines and miss them, we became increasingly concerned that he would not complete anything. On Friday at noon we gave him an ultimatum: if he didn't finish the asteroid generation system by 10:45 today we would send an email to the teacher requesting that he be removed from the group. Privately we agreed that we would be willing to give him an extension to midnight, which is 5 hours from now.

He posted a single script on Friday which represented the sum total of what he had accomplished so far. He told us that it had been is plan all along to work all weekend on this system.

This morning when we asked him where it was, he told us that he thought that what he posted was sufficient. "It doesn't make asteroids" I said. "well it does in testing, I just haven't added the part that reads in configuration files yet" he said. This is of course absurd, firstly because that isn't anything close to a finished system and secondly because it is inconsistent with his claim that he had worked on it all weekend (this script having been posted on Friday).

We only ever threatened to request his removal from our group because we needed to motivate him, we did not expect it to come to this. If he IS removed from the group, it is highly unlikely that he will be able to find a way to pass the course. It will also mean that I will have to do whatever small amount of work he would have done. I will do it, because I cannot let this game come out less than fully featured, but I'm already under a lot of stress and have very little time. Of course if we do keep him on, there is no guarantee that he will do it anyway.

The decision to send that email comes down to me, as my partner is rather passive and tends to defer to my judgement.

What should I do?

#2 Posted by Ragnarok512 (160 posts) -

Tell your teacher about the situation and see what he has to say about it. Regardless of whether or not your classmate deserves to pass the class, you certainly can not let his laziness hurt your grade.

#3 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@Ragnarok512: We talked to the teacher a couple weeks ago and his answer was basically "sorry, but you pretty much have to do his work for him. I'll take it into account when grading."

#4 Edited by audioBusting (1477 posts) -

Well, you gotta report that one way or another. Just tell the supervisor about it and focus on getting the project done. Whether he passes or not should not be your concern in this case.

edit: If the teacher knows he's not doing anything, just do the project as if he's not in the group anymore.. don't let this distract you. He'll probably get a 0 and the project will be marked more leniently.

#5 Posted by Ragnarok512 (160 posts) -

@nintendoeats: In that case I would go ahead and talk to your teach again ask him to remove the classmate from your group. Which kinda sucks.

#6 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@Ragnarok512 said:

@nintendoeats: In that case I would go ahead and talk to your teach again ask him to remove the classmate from your group. Which kinda sucks.

It does indeed. Thankyou for the input.

#7 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

Remove him. If you keep him, he won't do anything and you'll have to do his job, if you don't, you'll do his job.

#8 Posted by believer258 (11672 posts) -

I believe in second chances.

You gave him one.

I doubt that successful game developers like Gabe Newell or Cliff Bleszinski or Miyamoto would let him get away with it, or anyone that's successful at all, and really I don't think I would either. You've already talked to your teacher about it, so make sure that he knows that your partner did no work. Don't let someone else's incompetence bring you down.

#9 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@MikeGosot: It does seem that way.

@believer258: You are absolutely correct. I guess being aggressive with people who are unjustly getting in my way is a skill I need to learn in order to succeed.

#10 Posted by Joeyoe31 (820 posts) -

I hate group assignments for this very reason. Getting lumped together with a person who will do absolutely no work at all is something I can't stand at all. I say drop him.

#11 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

Tell your teacher and ask for input. Explain the whole helping him pass thing. 
 
It can be easy for you to become the bad guy in this situation, even though you're not.
 
I personally would have dropped him like a stone, but that's just me.

#12 Edited by commonoutlier (136 posts) -

I'm not surprised that if he turned something in on Friday that he had convinced himself that it was enough. Perhaps he was almost hoping you wouldn't say anything during the weekend to him about it, so today he could make the excuse that he thought it was what you guys wanted.

Well, since part of you seems tempted to give him another chance (if only because kicking someone off the team at this stage would suck no matter how much the individual deserves it)...since you didn't ask about it until this morning it might be worth giving him one more time. If you do so, I’d suggest writing up a contract that he must sign. You might end up negotiating terms, but if he refuses to negotiate or is impossible to reason with, then obviously that’s when you kick him off for not accepting one last chance for redemption.

In this contract, you have a bullet list with very, VERY specific requirements with what you expect by the end of the time frame. Obviously when writing it, keep in mind both how much time it’ll take for him and how much time you’ll need to do the task should he be kicked off the team (and make him know that you’re keeping the latter in mind, too). Maybe the contract will have multiple parts and time frames to help with this (so if he misses but one deadline, then you'll still have time to do it yourself because that'll be when you kick him off). On the contract, also be sure to write something along the lines of “by signing this contract, I accept if I do not meet the terms of this contract, I accept being kicked off the team” or something to that affect, whereas he is accepting the consequences of his actions. You might want to agree to something where he presents it to you and the other team member, so he can talk through how he thinks it meets the requirements. If it does not, but it shows effort, then maybe write up a new contract.

...if the contract writing is too much, you just may want to confront him with evidence of all of his irresponsibility, and ask him why you guys should give him a last chance. If he cannot give a good reason, then kick him off.

Anyway, that's what I can think of off the top of my head.

[Edit: Darn it, I'm over-complicating things again, aren't I XD?]

#13 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

Somebody you work with, for the same result, yet you are working much much harder than said person, as they are doing virtually nothing, even after making efforts to rectify this issue?

Get their ass fired.

#14 Posted by Brendan (7696 posts) -

Don't be the part of the world who gives people breaks, who don't deserve them. You deserve better.

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#15 Posted by TyCobb (1945 posts) -

Throw his ass under the bus. He was willing to make you guys fail because of his laziness and procrastination. You gave him warnings and chances. He failed. It's time for him to be punished. Even you get an A and succeed does not mean he should get one (which he will if you don't say anything).

I would recommend finding all emails and either printing them out or zipping them up with whatever little work he actually did and send it to your teacher as proof. This is the real world and he would have been reprimanded or let go in any company. He needs to learn that this shit doesn't fly.

#16 Posted by ajamafalous (11866 posts) -

Sounds just like the hypothetical situation for our ethics assignment in my engineering communications class (which is essentially just a practice senior design class). Ultimately it's up to you, but I'd tell the professor again and ask him to remove the guy.

#17 Posted by Ben_H (3312 posts) -
@Brendan said:

Don't be the part of the world who gives people breaks, who don't deserve them. You deserve better.

Yup basically. 
 
I did this exact a few times in high school (I have no patience for lazy people and I am not ever going to give someone else a free pass). I've always been the leader type when it comes to group work. I had a group writing assignment where we were supposed to each write a segment, and the segment one guy gave me was completely plagiarized (not just a bit here or there. He copied an entire segment from an article off a website). I told him to either redo it or I would be discussing it with the teacher (this teacher knew me quite well as I had been taught by him like for 3 different classes prior to this). The guy flat out denied that it was plagiarized even after I showed him the site he got it from. So I discussed it with the teacher, he said to let the guy hand it in (this teacher loved trolling students HARD), so I did and the guy got 0 along with a counselling notice thingy for breaking the academic honesty policy. 
 
Luckily through most of high school there was this girl in most of my classes who was just as serious as I was about things so we always just did group projects and got crazy good marks. It may make me sound like a nerd but because of it I got my whole first year of university for free because my average was so high, even though I still barely had any homework. I miss high school.
#18 Posted by PandaBear (1310 posts) -

@nintendoeats said:

He posted a single script on Friday which represented the sum total of what he had accomplished so far. He told us that it had been is plan all along to work all weekend on this system.

I have no real input ... except I've had situation like this play out when I went to uni (except it was an ad campaign thing). Group assignments are terrible and not representative of any real workplace. I studied journalism and have been at a newspaper for nearly a decade and none of the group skills I learnt at uni have helped me.

Confront the bastard, rehearse your speech in your head and don't back down. Be blunt but honest and never personal, keep it strictly professional. Work life is about deadlines...

Sorry to hear about this. Good luck!

#19 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7054 posts) -
@Ragnarok512

@nintendoeats: In that case I would go ahead and talk to your teach again ask him to remove the classmate from your group. Which kinda sucks.

Yep. It sucks and you'll feel bad but if he has no motivation, you have no obligation to do his work for him.
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#20 Posted by kerse (2101 posts) -

Remove him, maybe he'll figure out he's wasting his money by doing nothing when he fails the class. I'm in my first year in college too and while I haven't had any group projects like that yet, there are people in my classes who are driving me crazy. I can't count how many times I've heard something like "I'm so lazy I didn't do the homework, I didn't write the essay (that's worth at least 20% of your grade) I didn't study for the test, I failed the test because I was lazy" For our math class we have this online review thing at the beginning of the semester thats worth the same grade as a test and one guy didn't even do it. I just don't understand why people are like this in college, if you need a break take the semester off and get a part time job for a little while or something, such a waste of money.

#21 Edited by Chaser324 (6335 posts) -

@Brendan said:

Don't be the part of the world who gives people breaks, who don't deserve them. You deserve better.

Totally agree. I've let people slide on that sort of thing more times than I should've, both back when I was in school and after I entered the workforce, and there are several instances in my past that I really regret. Don't make the same mistake.

Moderator Online
#22 Posted by Video_Game_King (36068 posts) -

@kerse said:

I just don't understand why people are like this in college, if you need a break take the semester off and get a part time job for a little while or something, such a waste of money.

Because college is treated like the norm, so they don't think about it in the slightest.

#23 Posted by solidlife (877 posts) -

Give him a final chance, make sure you are firm and serious. If he misses that deadline set of ALL the things you asked for boot him. Im guessing you have peer assessment so just mark him zero for that and the teacher will do the rest.

#24 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

Thankyou for the feedback everyone, it has been very helpful. I think I know how this is going to play out.

#25 Edited by Funkydupe (3312 posts) -

The essentials of teamwork in both friendships and work is that when someone tells you he'll do something you can trust him. If he had problems he could have just openly said this to the rest of the group. That would have been the way for him to explain himself. If he's just hitching a ride with your group then you should definitely remove him, even if the act of doing so is terribly sucky, simply because you don't want to mess things up for someone else. In this case this someone is probably someone who has done this a lot to more groups than you guys, so he has it coming to him.

#26 Posted by NyxFe (248 posts) -
@Video_Game_King said:

@kerse said:

I just don't understand why people are like this in college, if you need a break take the semester off and get a part time job for a little while or something, such a waste of money.

Because college is treated like the norm, so they don't think about it in the slightest.

Or if it's not just an issue of being tired of school, there might be a good indication as to why they don't have a job.  
 
On topic: I'd say you've given the guy plenty of opportunity to do his work. Personally I'm a bit of a hardass and would have started doing his work after the first deadline and cutting him out of the project regardless. Fortunately for me every class I've taken in university is completely solo, and whenever someone misses a deadline at work (I'm a web designer/programmer but a shitty artist so we have artists do designs), I just post the pages with no images and charge for it anyway. Luckily for me my boss is always on my side. If this guy was working in a real programming job he would be long gone. 
#27 Posted by TooWalrus (13139 posts) -

I've been in a similar situation. I'm in a business simulation group with two Chinese students. They're fine guys, but they barely speak the language, and they're really just here because their rich parents want them to have a good American education. They don't exactly seem motivated to strive for good grades, either. I've actually just found it easier to do the work myself than explain the whole thing to them then expect them to follow through.

However, if I was working with some of these spoiled American brats who are just being fucking lazy, I'd send that e-mail in a heartbeat. College students know when they're slacking. When he came at me with his angry "What the fuck, bro!?" attitude, I'd just say "Guy, you wouldn't do shit. Sorry." and feel no remorse.

#28 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@nintendoeats: Let me know what happens when you fire his ass.

#29 Posted by SSully (4129 posts) -

Dump that asshole from the group asap. He obviously is getting what he deserves.

#30 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

@Canteu said:

@nintendoeats: Let me know what happens when you fire his ass.

I will likely do so.

#31 Posted by vikingdeath1 (933 posts) -

Dude no joke; Same exact situation in my Game programming class freshman year.

one dude barely did anything, but I think my class was alot more basic than yours, and because of that it wasn't much work for me to just do his work. I didn't say anything to the professor.

what You describe sound like a much more serious serious project and Fuck that guy dude, make sure he gets no credit.

.......... actually this same thing happened to me this semester in my management class as well....... being lazy is one thing, but if you're assigned work that affects other's than just yourself you gotta fucking do it, eventually excuses don't cut it.

Man, everyone in my group hated that guy.....

#32 Edited by Socialone (202 posts) -

I've been in a similar situation on only one occasion. Simple psychology project worth 25% of our grade, done in groups of three. I already took the hardest section for myself while I waited for this guy I knew from high school to hand me his. I finally received it at 11pm on the night before it was due, with a text message mentioning how he ''hoped that she isn't too picky on plagiarism''. Alarmed, I scouted his work to realize he copied many paragraphs directly from the textbook.

I had to redo 75% of it for the whole night, and then simply erased his name from the final version. He failed that class and yet he still tried to pursue a friendly relationship (that last part eludes me). This is college, if his part is shit you can boot him out following minimal notice, the teacher has no business interfering.

#33 Posted by jaycrockett (432 posts) -

Wow, the exact same thing happened to me in a computer science class twenty years ago! Three man group, we were assigned to build a relational database system. One person did the UI, I did the query engine, and another guy did the file system. The guy assigned to the file system had elaborate plans but never produced any working code. We ended up having to write the file system at the last minute ourselves and got a crap grade.

Trust me, this sort of behavior doesn't really fly in the real world. Or at least it doesn't go on for very long.

Agile development methodologies help with this as well, you have to produce working code on a near daily basis.

There is no ethical dilemma here, you are expected in professional situations to be transparent in who and what is being worked on, it's going to show up in source control check-ins and other development artifacts over time anyway. I don't see why college should be any different.

#34 Posted by crusader8463 (14415 posts) -

I went to college for 3D Graphics and Game Design and we had to do the same kind of project as well. While I got lucky and had a group of awesome people, there was another group that had the same situation but the guy didn't do any work because he thought he was too good for the group and wasn't going to lower himself to working with them or doing what they asked of him. In the end they ended up just getting the lowest possible passing grade because of him and there wasn't much they could do when they went to the teacher.

What I suggest is that if the teachers are refusing to do anything go above them and talk to whomever is in charge of the department. Tell them that this one person is refusing to do his work, the teachers are not doing anything, and you feel that it's impacting your ability to learn. This isn't high school anymore. You are paying money to go to this school and this is your future at stake. Don't leave the office until you get something from the guy and the more people you can have in there the better.

#35 Posted by nintendoeats (5975 posts) -

Since some of you are probably wondering, he did in fact BARELY meet his deadline with something passable, if not great. If he doesn't meet all of his deadlines we WILL kick him and he knows it. At the moment my plan of action is to get through this and never work with him again (but for the record, my other partner is completely awesome).

#36 Edited by Cianyx (48 posts) -

@nintendoeats said:

@Ragnarok512: We talked to the teacher a couple weeks ago and his answer was basically "sorry, but you pretty much have to do his work for him. I'll take it into account when grading."

Welp, I guess you really only have one option left. Bad luck mate

#37 Posted by Trylks (828 posts) -

Be really specific with the work that each one of you has done, every game has some credits displaying what each one did.

He was there, he did nothing. Don't bother about him trying to do anything, just make it clear what each one of you did and why.

With this information, the teacher should decide that he must not pass, that is a lesson he should learn asap, the sooner the better, he should have known that for years by now.

Don't bother more, you did what you could to make him productive, it didn't work, stop hitting a dead horse and move on.

I hope the teacher can do his job properly.

#38 Posted by konig_kei (597 posts) -

You could just ask him if he even wants to be there, then you'll have a clear indication on what to expect from him.

#39 Posted by audioBusting (1477 posts) -

@commonoutlier said:

I’d suggest writing up a contract that he must sign.

There was one subject I took where we were required to sign a self-written contract before we started any group project. We didn't have to invoke it back then, but it sounds like it would come in handy in situations like this.

#40 Posted by Levius (1081 posts) -

I have to do a group project next semester, I really hope this doesn't happen to me. I've already had a bad experience this where my lab partner in a two man physics project on Dark Matter experiments dropped out three weeks in (out of about 13). Luckily, it was a Research and Design project, rather then a experimental project where the apparatus requires two people to work it, so I wasn't totally boned; but doubling the research I have to do and having to debate about the project with an expert in the field, instead of my partner, is not really great fun.

#41 Posted by kmdrkul (3476 posts) -

From my experience, slackers like these don't just have some magical turnaround. He's probably going to be trouble all semester.

I work in a different field, but it's all about deadlines. The worst thing ever is having to rely on someone who cuts it way too close to his deadlines consistently.

#42 Posted by Little_Socrates (5675 posts) -

So, I've been on the other side of this coin once or twice. The first time was in eighth grade, and I was a piece of garbage for doing such a bad job and I was rightly taken down for it. But the second time was this semester, working on a website. Unfortunately, it wasn't due to my inability to work; it was the fact that my partner was moving forward at lightning speed, and any time I'd agreed to complete a site page, she'd already have the finished and styled page by the time I brought in the HTML. I was in near-constant contact, but she just worked on it so much faster than I did that I never got to do much beyond helping her fix a few bugs. She wouldn't really let me apologize when I tried, saying she was happier getting to work on the website and didn't realize she'd enjoy web design so much (this is in a video/web design combination class.) And she didn't complain to the professor privately, because I just got back a high grade on our website (which was really a gorgeous and clean site, and she did a great job with the styling.)

This guy is more like the former, but hopefully he will at least try for the rest of the semester. If you use his asteroid code, it'll be hard to justify dropping him from the group entirely, but it'll become pretty apparent to your professor if his name is only on one or two sections of code after you've complained about this already. Hopefully, he'll get his act together.

#43 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@nintendoeats:

Ironically, this story mirrors what passes for AAA game development.

#44 Posted by Ben_H (3312 posts) -
@Little_Socrates said:

But the second time was this semester, working on a website. Unfortunately, it wasn't due to my inability to work; it was the fact that my partner was moving forward at lightning speed, and any time I'd agreed to complete a site page, she'd already have the finished and styled page by the time I brought in the HTML. I was in near-constant contact, but she just worked on it so much faster than I did that I never got to do much beyond helping her fix a few bugs. She wouldn't really let me apologize when I tried, saying she was happier getting to work on the website and didn't realize she'd enjoy web design so much (this is in a video/web design combination class.) And she didn't complain to the professor privately, because I just got back a high grade on our website (which was really a gorgeous and clean site, and she did a great job with the styling.)

I'm like how that girl is when it comes to projects. Don't worry, we understand that some people don't work as crazy fast as we do. If it is obvious you were putting forth effort then that is all she likely cared about. It is more of when you are obviously not putting in effort that people like me and that girl will become less happy.
#45 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

I hate forced group work. It's fucking stupid on a college course and never translates to any real world skills.