I work in a very successful software startup. Our business relationships have always been handled by technical staff, and we have built a reputation for this. A year ago we reached the point where we had to bring in more senior people. These new senior managers all have 10-20 years of experience more than us technology experts, and their previous companies worked in different markets, for different software. We have always been very collaborative and productive, working together to make the company successful. Now we got to the point where:
- product management is led by somebody who does not know our field and won't accept any feedback or input from experts of our domain; as a result, they have discarded our old roadmap and are working hard on features we decided not to pursue many years ago, because customers are asking for them (but we knew money was not coming)
- sales made the company fire all customer-facing technical staff who previously contributed to customer engagements, unless such engineers accepted to become salespeople or field support
- engineering absorbed all remaining technology experts, so that all code written in the company is now authorised by a single person, the CTO (who tried hard to fire our VP of Engineering as first thing into his new job)
- while we partnered a lot with many software vendors, now all partnerships are managed by a single person, and there is a long backlog which is ignored because this individual doesn't have the time, or because it's not from him
So product won't allow others to suggest features; engineering won't allow domain experts to try new things; sales won't allow technical staff to speak to customers or bring opportunities; the person in charge of partnerships won't recognise anything if it's not from her.
I can see how these new managers are strangling the company. Of course, they are exclusively hiring old colleagues, and our job descriptions are simply impossible to satisfy if you are an actual candidate.
However, they can always tell me "we have 20 years of experience more than you (in a different field and market, though)". And if they left, I would not be able to personally re-implement all the processes and structure they brought with them, and that might make the company weaker.
So, the company is limited if they stay, but will get weaker if they suddently leave. But it's also not possible to work around them, because they control everything they can. And no, we are not making more money than before they joined. It's a big thing to build a case against senior management.
Question: can something professional be done to contain damaging senior management without damaging the company?