My company recently completed a big re-org and I've been placed on new a team project at work. This is a cross organisational team of about 15 people. We've divided into smaller, more manageable working groups of 3-4 people. I asked to be assigned to a specific working group because I have industry experience on this topic at a different company.
My work group consists of myself, a senior developer who shares the same manager as me, and Bob. Bob is from a different team and has lots of academic experience on this topic. Bob has been in the company 1 year, 6 months for me and 3 years for senior developer.
What is frustrating is that Bob has tried to take charge of our working group as if he is an undesignated team lead. For example, he makes unilateral decisions about the direction of the work even after I voice concerns. He also tries to assign tasks to both myself and senior developer. He also makes corrections on my work. There is already some friction between us and at one point he point blank offered for me to join a different working group. I believe senior developer is also irritated by Bob, but he does not let much show. It may be because senior developer can hide his emotions well or because senior developer spends only part of his time on this project and doesn't have as much vested as I do.
Since I am so new to the company, my top goal here is to make the project successful, but it is also important for me to make a valuable contribution on the project that is recognized by the project managers. I see two approaches to take:
- Go along with most of Bob's decisions and only speak out when it makes a big difference to the success of the project. Document my contributions and use this to show my contribution.
- Directly speak with Bob and mention my concerns. Tell him that I immensely respect his skill level and academic knowledge but remind him that the direction we take needs to be a team decision.
I'm leaning toward option 1 because it is a safer approach. But it also would require a lot of patience and I risk Bob trying to cut my work out of the final deliverable. Option 2 seems a bit too confrontational given my status in the company. I would prefer a reputation as someone who is easy to get along with. But according to how I am supposed to answer interview questions, option 2 would be the 'correct' approach.
Is there a third option? What to do?