I've been working as a data scientist/analyst at my current company for close to four years now. My former manager (call him Dinesh) left at the end of last year and since then, his manager (call him Omar) has become a lot more hands on with day to day operations. Dinesh started as an analyst and worked his way up through the ranks. He was quite talented and even as a manager, he spent a lot of his time in the trenches, helping to remove blockers and pick up work that the team didn't have a chance to get to. While he would occasionally weigh in with suggestions, he left it more or less up to us to decide on the best way to tackle a problem.
Prior to Dinesh's departure, I had only spoken to Omar on a few occasions but now he joins all of the team meetings and weighs in on everything. He also asks that I go over my plan for each project with him prior to starting work and review it with him after the work has been completed and before we go to business stakeholders for their feedback. The approval is never a simple process and usually requires several rounds of back and forth before an understanding is reached. Sometimes my current direct manager (who is more like Dinesh) will weigh in as well.
I don't believe this management approach is inherently bad but these are some of the issues I have:
- All the extra meetings take up a lot of time
- Stakeholders will sometimes have feedback that is at odds with Omar's requirements
- Stakeholders are accustomed to working with me directly. If something goes wrong or the deliverable doesn't meet their requirements, I am still held accountable. This is cemented by the fact that Omar's official policy is that while management must approve the work, team members (aka me) still "own" the project.
- Data is unpredictable and oftentimes decisions have to be made based on what is discovered during development. Having to halt work and wait for approval creates costly delays.
- Omar lacks knowledge of a lot of the intricacies of day-to-day work. His feedback is often idealistic and impractical.
- I often struggle to communicate (in a way he'll understand and remember) the way our infrastructure is set up and why his approach is untenable.
- A general feeling that my career development is moving backwards instead of forwards.
Admittedly, a big part of the problem is my emotional response. I feel that I have a good grasp of my role and am more than capable of seeing a project through to completion. Omar does occasionally have good ideas and I recognize the value of getting an outsider's opinion. At the same time, a lot of his feedback is simply wrong and I have a hard time convincing him of this fact.
Ideally, my goal would be to get to a place where Omar trusts me, my teammates, and my direct manager to work more independently but I realize this is far-fetched. I would appreciate any guidance on how I can survive within this new framework and hopefully turn it to my advantage.