I work at a big tech company as an individual contributor. We are approaching an important launch where I'm playing a key role. There is no strict deadline, but I'd like to make sure it's finished before the next promo cycle—in hope for a promotion for me and some other folks on the team, so I have set a soft deadline with my manager and a few team members.
The deadline is approaching and we are far from being ready, some milestones have already slipped and I keep discovering problems, partly because I have underestimated certain tasks. I really want this project to be ready on time, so I've been working a lot more recently—last week roughly 70-80 hours, including 10 hours/day every day on the extended weekend (Monday was a holiday). My manager does not know exactly what parts are missing and how complicated/long each task is. He mostly trusts me that I know what needs to be done, and I'll take care of it. My manager also doesn't know when I work and when I don't work - it's trust-based at the company. Figuring out when someone is working requires some investigation (build logs, commit activity, etc.), so I doubt that my manager looks into those - he trusts me, so why would he care?
Should I tell him about it?
Some arguments for yes:
- He should know that the project is important to me which he may value.
- He should be aware that these tasks take a lot more effort than we expected and the reason for the slipping is not that I'm neglecting the project.
- I may get some bonus / time off after the launch if my manager is aware of the overtime.
Some arguments for no:
- It would prove that I made bad estimations and could not manage the project properly - which may cause trust problems in the future. It may also be a negative signal in the promo process.
- My manager may just tell me not to do any overtime—the project is not mission critical. It's mostly because I want the promo (and some teammates who have contributed deserve it too).
- It's officially forbidden to do overtime without prior manager approval.
If I tell him, what should I say?
I have a fixed monthly salary which does not depend on the hours worked—I am supposed to work 40 hours/week. I am eligible for performance-related bonuses, though. These are given for achieving things, not directly for working overtime.
Thanks for all the replies. I talked to my manager who valued speaking up and thanked for putting in the effort to bring the project through the finish line. We also discussed that once the project is launched, this shouldn't be the norm, but he shared my view that these difficulties were hard/impossible to foresee.