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I am a part of a team of 10. We had a contractual agreement with an agency in another country. Since I started working with my company, the quality of work delivered from the agency was less than satisfactory. We have started to reduce the amount of work they contribute as a result. In the last month the agency's self proclaimed project manager transitioned from their team to a full time position within the core company. The 'project manager' created the afore-mentioned and his only hands on experience was from said company. His official title is Executive Director of Product but he is acting as a project manager, a point of contact for support issues and micro-managing the dev team. To say the least, he is not fulfilling his specific role.

Since he has been in this role, he has caused an abundant amount of disturbance to the dev team, our morale and the overall direction of our platform. The technology manager supports our decision in expressing our concerns to management about the director of products qualifications. We plan on providing the solution(s) of better defining what his role actually is, and recommending he takes the proper courses to become certified and knowledgable in the role he now has. Are there any other recommendations or solutions that can be provided to better express our concerns?

At this rate, the dev team which is the core of the platform, are on the verge of leaving if this guy stays in his current path.

Edit: Thanks for the concerns concerning the letter 'ending well' for the team. To clear the confusion, we are a small team/company (10 people, majority development). Management is open to feedback and things to improve upon as is my boss, the director of technology. He absolutely agrees with my/the team's opinion of the qualifications missing. He has already expressed his concerns to management and thinks that we should too, in strength and in numbers. There is a lot of communication issues with the teams being on opposite sides of the country and upper management doesn't know or see much of how this guy is affecting productivity. We had a project manager that did an amazing job, was certified/qualified, and was replaced by someone of lesser capabilities. We do not plan on attacking him, we plan on providing specific examples with solutions as well as better understanding what he should actually be doing as he doesn't even seem to understand it himself.

Edit 2: Initially we were told that if it doesn't work out with this guy, it doesn't work out. The issue is that higher management is unaware of the severity of the inability of this person. In addition to my boss telling him, it will bring it home if there are additional concerns brought to his attention.

  • What happened to the good project manager? Is he gone for unrelated reasons, or was he pushed out to make room for this one? (Knowing that could affect how you approach making an appeal that boils down to "this guy needs to go".) – Monica Cellio Dec 4 '17 at 22:31
  • @MonicaCellio without telling the previous Project Manager, they hired the new guy and a week before he started was told 'We will find something else for you to do'. The previous PM has necessary certs and experience, while the new guy has neither in addition to a difficult time with basic communication skills. – user80319 Dec 4 '17 at 22:35
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    like this... – gnat Dec 5 '17 at 8:55
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There are much better ways.

  1. Document EVERYTHING: anything he does that puts development in jeopardy should be documented with it's effects tracked. Forward to your manager, who you said is sympathetic.
  2. LET HIM FAIL: Sometimes you need to let the ball drop. If the effects are not seen, no changes shall be made.
  3. Ask for the CEO's input, but use the Socratic method. "What do you think of...." and then ask him about something that's damaging productivity
  4. Don't accuse, demonstrate make his shortcomings clearly visible to the CEO.
  5. Step back. Let things happen naturally. If you push too hard, you will only make yourself look bad.
  6. Be prepared to leave if things don't improve. Obviously, this is a last resort, but one you may be pushed into. Update your resume and be prepared to move on if the CEO doesn't step in.
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    Thanks! Appreciate the solid feedback. My boss is on the verge of leaving and has said it wouldn't be a bad idea for the rest of us to be prepared in a worst case scenario (whether we have a to answer to him or looking for other positions) – user80319 Dec 4 '17 at 17:56
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    Be prepared to see 1 through 5 go up in flames and see 6 as the only viable option quite fast. You don't want it to happen, but problems like this have a nag to stick around for longer than it should. – Mast Dec 4 '17 at 19:08
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    This is the right answer, but more often than not your "last resort" is actually what will happen. People can be extremely stubborn when it means not having to face that they hired a charlatan based on gut feeling. – xLeitix Dec 4 '17 at 20:09
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    +1 for let him fail. I learned this lesson wayyy to late. I ended up picking of the slack for years. Then one day I decided I wasn't going to do it unless it was assigned to me things didn't get done, it was noticed by management and things got better really fast. – SaggingRufus Dec 5 '17 at 15:21
  • @TheSnarkKnight I wholeheartedly agree with "document everything". – user45590 Dec 5 '17 at 16:01
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It sounds like a pretty rubbish situation.. however I can't see how this "letter" is going to end well for you or the dev team.

He was hired by the CEO without a proper interview from the dev team or vetting process of qualifications.

Last time I checked "ordinary" employees were rarely consulted, let alone invited to interview candidates for director-level positions. While it clearly hasn't worked out too well in this case I'd steer clear of making any suggestions that this is where it all went wrong.

Our manager, the director of technology, supports our decision in expressing our concerns to the CEO about the director of products qualifications.

This is more encouraging (for you) but if your Director of Technology (who presumably is a peer of the Product Director) agrees with you and shares your concerns then why isn't he raising these with the CEO? That would be entirely appropriate. I can think of a few reasons why he hasn't

  1. He doesn't agree with you and is telling you what you want to hear, not really caring if it results in you getting thrown under the bus in the process.

  2. He does agree with you but knows that since the CEO hired this guy it's not going to go down well with the CEO to hear bad things about him. So he's perfectly willing to let you take these unpopular concerns to the CEO, if it works then it's great for him as he gets rid of the Product Director without expending any of his own capital. If it doesn't he can distance himself from it and let you take all the flak.

So what should you do?

The best bet is to keep impressing upon your boss (Director of Technology) about the specific workflow/productivity problems you are encountering. Ideally keep it as impersonal regarding the Product Director has possible but it sounds like that ship has sailed, so you just need to focus as much as you can on the work problems and how it impedes the business (because that's what senior management will care about) and if they aren't things he can solve directly within in his remit then press him to escalate them to the CEO - because that's his job not yours.

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I applaud your decision to speak up against the negative changes you're witnessing in your workplace. It's the sort of thing that more of us should be willing to do, although the reason many don't is because this sort of courage can come with a rather heavy price tag attached. More on that in a minute.

When writing the letter, be sure to phrase it professionally, and to only focus on the facts. I would steer clear of commenting on that manager's qualifications, as I assume you probably didn't get a chance to read his resume, or check his references.

When possible, provide concrete documentation as to how he has negatively impacted the team, and some metrics as to how the South African team has been performing worse than normal. For example, if you use any sort of bug tracking tool, generate some reports. Numbers will always sway business men. Speak to them in terms of hours wasted, and money lost. It simply makes the most sense to them.

This advice, however, comes with a strong warning. You don't know the exact decision making process that led to that individual being hired. It may have simply been a poor decision based on flawed information, or it may be that the new manager is the CEO's BFF, and your comments may well not be appreciated. Keep in mind that some executives will defend a poor hire simply because admitting to having hired an inept employee would look bad on them.

Petty mindedness should never surprise you in these situations. Good luck, and be prepared to jump ship in the wake of this letter.

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    Thanks, as this is a collective effort from multiple people, I will share this with them as well. – user80319 Dec 4 '17 at 17:57
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If you are writing a letter to the CEO, I can only recommend you to stay on the issues you want to solve, instead of attacking a specific Person.

State what kind of problems you face, without blaming someone. Try to be objective and try to offer solutions.

A well written, neutral and technical analysis of existing problems and possible solutions can be be a strong weapon for change in an organisation as well as a personal career booster. Getting caught in a Blame-Game certainly is not!

Let the management figure out for themselves to whom they want to delegate responsibility. Expect different Solutions than the ones suggested, but be ready to be part of the solution anyways.

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