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About a month ago, my company (builds software) has decided to implement new management hierarchy. Under this change, we have one Project Manager (PM) for multiple projects, whose responsibility is to decide what features to be worked on in future and monitor the current progress.

Previously we didn’t have a PM. I had been appointed as the Lead Developer and since I have an MBA, I also took responsibility of a product manager but without the title. With the recent changes, I am no longer allowed to decide myself and guide my team, which is sad.

The new PM doesn’t know much about project management (my opinion) and about the project. But then I get called into meetings with other stakeholders and the PM. There, I have to answer the questions from key people that PM should have normally answered in the first place. The PM takes my ideas from these conversations and presents those to the executive sponsors and ends up acting like PM really know the stuffs.

I hate this because I really do not get credit for my ideas. How do I strategically decline the meeting where this PM learns about my ideas? I feel like if I do not attend such meetings, then I do not have anything to speak and I will keep my mouth shut. When I am in such meetings and a question is directed to me, I honestly answer it. This is where the new PM learns about my ideas. If I can politely decline such meetings, then my only responsibility would be to code the features that has been decided.

So far I have been thinking to respond to the meeting request very late and send a colleague to cover for me while I will take a half day off.

  • The existing answers do cover your actual question. However, you seem to have decided to treat the PM as a rival. Consider the alternative of enlisting the PM as an ally. You have something the PM needs - knowledge of, and ideas about, your project. The PM will be building vision and influence over multiple projects. – Patricia Shanahan May 2 '18 at 14:17
  • @elixir I think you need to first clarify which position you want Product Manager, Project Management or Lead Developer? – jcmack May 2 '18 at 20:55
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So far I have been thinking to respond to the meeting request very late and send a colleague to cover for me while I will take a half day off.

Don't do that. These things only make you look irresponsible, and are likely to get your superiors chasing you down to find out why you're taking so long to reply and/or sending others in your place all the time. In the long run, this will only cause you more grief.

Instead, tackle the problem head-on. Begin by asking why you're still being invited to these meetings, at the next meeting. Point out that the topics being discussed are all project management-related (I assume) and that this is the domain of the new PM. Explain that you want to focus on being a lead developer - which is your actual position - and that you feel these meetings are distracting you from that.

If all goes well, you'll no longer be invited to these meetings and the new PM can sink or swim on his own.

If they come up with some reason why they're still inviting you, then keep going to the meetings, but begin deferring to the new PM whenever someone asks you a PM-related question. Just something simple like "Well, that sounds like a question So-and-so should tackle, since he's the PM." or "Gee, I don't know, what do you think, So-and-so?"

  • @elixir : You've been lead developer and PM, but without title. Now these are two jobs. If you want to be lead developer and don't want to be PM, this answer is a good one. If you want to be PM (in the long run, i.e. working towards a promotion), you might want to handle things a little differently. – Dirk May 2 '18 at 12:11
  • @Dirk Liebhold, in the long term, I do want to be in the Product Management but in this company, I would be a Software Developer. Out of curiosity, what is your suggestion if I wanted to handle this situation knowing that I wanted to be the Product Manger. How would I make the leadership aware that I am brains behind it and the person they think? – elixir May 3 '18 at 15:06
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You've mixed two positions: project manager and product manager. As a developer with an MBA, you can still provide insight into how the product should be built. that is the role of a product manager.

The project manager can handle who is doing what and when. This lessens your load. You don't have to communicate with others as much on the reporting of what is getting done, etc.

Sit down with those in charge and make sure they have clarified the roles of each of you. You may find that the project manager wants your input since he is not as familiar with the application as you are.

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