I work on a project (funded by a US grant) that is organized with a PI(principal investigator) team consisting of ~5 people and a development team under them with ~8 developers. One of the developers is the Lead Developer and communicates with the PI team to give weekly updates and trickles the information down to us developers. The developers meet once a week to discuss progress, blockers, etc. The project spans multiple universities, and my boss is on the PI team. One issue that we're having is lack of organization on the GitHub repositories. For example, we have milestones but no one will attach their issues to it.


When meeting with my boss (a PI) he asked to update the milestones and come up with release dates. Traditionally this has been done by the lead developer. I would feel out of line/place asking everybody on the team to update their issues and put them in the correct milestones. To me, this is bypassing the chain of command (PI->lead->devs) to (PI->dev).


What is the best way to satisfy my boss's requests without bypassing the lead developer and making requests to people above my pay grade?

  • 1
    what is "PI"? remember, not everyone is familiar with jargon, abbreviations and acronyms Apr 25, 2018 at 19:04
  • Did the PI know that what they requested is usually done by the lead and not your responsibility? If not, you could have explained it to them and maybe set up an email to the lead together.
    – skymningen
    Apr 27, 2018 at 11:14

2 Answers 2


What is the best way to satisfy my boss's requests without bypassing the lead developer and making requests to people above my pay grade?

Seems to me that you got a direct request from your boss, which for some reason thought it more adequate this time for him to relay that to you developers directly.

I don't think this is "bypassing" your Lead; in any case the one doing the bypass was your boss and not you.

It would be wise to comply with such request (he is your boss, an most likely also your Lead's), and do what asked. However, I would also say something in the lines of: "Sure thing boss. Usually this milestones are done by our Lead, so I will do as you ask and contact my Lead to get his opinion when I am finished, if that's ok."

I would also document such actions and inform him and your Lead about the steps you took; an email with both of them included would be fine. This way you are being transparent with your Lead while doing what your boss said.


You need to communicate that this is something your boss (who has authority) has asked you (no authority) to do. You should email the lead dev, cc'ing your boss, and write something like:

Mr. Lead Dev,

The boss man asked me to tidy up the milestones. Is there a good time to go over them with you?

After this, he'll either schedule a time to go over them with you, or tell you to just do them yourself.

If you have to email other people, cc both your boss and the lead dev, and again, make it clear who the authority comes from.

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