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I am working for an IT outsourcing organization. I have placed into a new project as a replacement of existing team lead. I have 3 members team at offshore in India. My role is client interfacing role and I am responsible for delivery of project. We have a critical delivery one week ahead. All the 3 members of my team are working from different offices in India. And one of the team member facing serious network issues which is impacting his work and in turn I am not getting expected output from him . We have escalated to current management and my manager is fighting with offshore managers. But still no progress since from one week. And also as addition to it Senior management is taking out one of the critical and senior team member from my team and proposing for another client for a new project. Though he is billing for the project that I am leading and he is pulled out for the meetings and other interview discussions for other project. It is seriously impacting the deliverables which we need to deliver.

I have discussed with my immediate manager about this. He said that "I am tired and frustrated by fighting with my managers in this matter. I have already explained them the impact and risk. Still they are going ahead with their plan. I am helpless as of now."

Now my questions are - how can I politely and professionally fight with management for solving these problems? - How can I mitigate risk? - If it is too risky situation how can I put my self in safer situation?

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    Explicitly mention in writing what will happen to your boss and those taking away your resources - so you can document you've done what can be expected of you - and then see if you can reach the goal anyway (within reason). If you need additional resources, ask for them. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Aug 20 '13 at 5:08
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    BVR, this currently comes across strongly as a rant about your bosses/management rather than about a situation you are facing that can be fixed. I strongly recommend trying to refocus the question on a single issue such as, "What is my responsibility in reporting a delay in a project to management as a team lead?" or "How can I mitigate the risk of being blamed for a project being behind schedule due to management priorities?" As it currently is, I don't think there is any real answer that can be given that will help future visitors to the site. – jmac Aug 20 '13 at 7:22
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    @Jmac - I completely disagree. It is a real problem that is faced quite often in business. I think this is a good question phrased concisely. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 20 '13 at 12:32
  • What kinds of solutions are you expecting for some of these problems? For someone with network issues, putting in custom fiber to his house may not be that cheap of a solution you do realize, right? – JB King Aug 20 '13 at 22:13
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    @chad This is anything but concise. The actual main issues are: (1) asker is a team lead of 3 with a looming deadline that won't be met (2) management refuses to fix a technical issue preventing one team member from working, (3) management has reassigned another member to another project, (4) management is throwing asker under a bus. Whether it is outsourcing, India, IT, network issues, etc. are all irrelevant to the actual issue being faced. Then to boot there are 3 questions at the end, all with very different answers. This is not a concise question. – jmac Aug 20 '13 at 23:46
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You can not. The company has acknowledged the risks, and decided that it wants to take them. There is no way that will be constructive that you can challenge that decision.

Your challenge at this point is to succeed in spite of the problems. To find the solution that works. If you do not there is a chance that the failure will be seen as yours. The more that you fight the decision the more likely you are to take the blame.

It is a difficult position to be in and one that often makes going to work unpleasant. So now it is time for you to decide if you are up to the challenge or if you need to look for a new opportunity, because continuing to fight with management about decisions they have already made is not going to bring you success.

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    Isn't billing a client for an employee's time who is actually working on another project fraud? – user8365 Aug 21 '13 at 12:37
  • @JeffO - Where do you see me suggesting that the OP do that? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 27 '13 at 13:52
  • It's no longer his job to succeed. He (I infer) told the company that they could not succeed if they did X, Y & Z. They did it anyway - mgmt took the risk, and if "the risk" is "it definitely won't succeed" then that's what's going to happen. Do the best you can and ensure they know that it's going to fail. – Brondahl May 8 '18 at 16:31
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I disagree with assessment given by Chad in another answer. Management is not infallible. Certain direction may not be feasible, and to simply accept it because the decision has already been made is tantamount to agreeing with the decision. If the river forks, and you know which direction is pointed at the Impending Waterfall of Awful Doom, it does you no good whatsoever to complain that you advised the other fork once you're already flying off the ledge.

This comment is a bit closer to it, I think. The first thing I would advise, is strike the word "fight" from your vocabulary. The idea is conflict resolution, not instigation. Chad is correct in that if your direct manager is a lame duck, your options are terribly limited. But that doesn't leave you powerless.

I don't generally care to involve HR in these types of scenarios, but that is one option, by way of pure CYA. "I'm terribly concerned about the direction we're taking on this project, and I've voiced that concern to no effect. I just want it listed for the record that should the project fall short of its objectives, I provided alternative solutions that may have diverted that outcome."

Another option is to document as thoroughly as you can your predictions for the project, and the potential alternatives to management's chosen course of action. Losing a key member is easy enough to quantify; "The project requires x skillsets and x amount of time to complete. We are commencing development with x skillsets and x headcount." Math is rather incontrovertible. A bit more difficult to define is:

serious network issues which is impacting [work]

Still, documentation is your friend. Report to your manager, in email, what you are experiencing and its direct effect on the project. Provide a feasible solution, if you can, and ask for direction on how best to proceed. Neither of these are any more complicated than open communication.

Recognize that every problem presents an opportunity. Don't just point out what's wrong... offer solutions. "It's unfortunate for the project that person X is being reallocated, but if we can expend some effort on resolving Y's network issues, we may be able to offset the impact of losing X."

As a manager, I will often turn to my team with project hurdles and ask them to help me determine a resolution, because I know that my team is entrenched in the technology and may know something that I don't. Sometimes it's just for a different set of eyes, or a sounding board, and sometimes just to let them know that I'm aware of their pain points, and that we're all in it together. Perhaps your manager employs a different tactic, but I can pretty much promise you that if you provide him with enough ammunition to correct course, everybody will thank you.

I do agree with Chad that you should give it your best effort. You may not be properly lauded for being a team player in the face of adversity, but at least you'll have the peace of mind that you were not one of the people throwing up their hands and crying "Who's John Galt?"

Finally, be prepared for the possibility that perhaps it can't be solved. The course may already be set and all you can do at this point is hand out life preservers. I've worked places where something had to fail in spectacular fashion before senior leadership recognized it as an issue; if that's the position you're in, then all you can is to continue to communicate your concerns.

Don't fight it. Solve it. And if it's truly unsolvable (which I am unlikely to concede), provide regular, honest and professional updates of how the project is progressing. "Sir, we're headed towards the waterfall... Once we pass that boulder ahead, there's no turning back... We just passed the boulder, should we start assessing who in the boat knows CPR?" At worst, nobody can cry surprise when you're going over the waterfall, and they won't be able to point the finger at you for it.

Perhaps you'll find empty consolation saying "I told you so!" :D

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    I think this answer would be better served standing on its own rather than leaning on my answer to prop up your position as a disagreement. My answer could be deleted tomorrow and then this answer is incoherent. Stand on your own position, and explain why the OP should do as you suggest. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 20 '13 at 23:12

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