My manager has recently been made aware of a potential business opportunity, which would yield him a significant commission if successful. This is because said business opportunity requires a very specific set of skills, which no one in the company actually has. I raised these concerns with my manager, and he explained to me that the team should "do a prototype" for a week, and then "get back to him". In other words, he wanted us to just "figure it out".
After a week, it became clear to everyone in the team that we just couldn't deliver any of the requirements, not even remotely. Without getting into details, imagine a plumbing company tasked with consulting for a spaceship design. The team raised these concerns with my manager, but he seemingly failed to understand that we can not deliver this project. He repeatedly told us we need to "familiarize ourselves more with the subject matter", but that isn't possible when a decade or more of expertise is required. Even when directly told it was not possible, the manager refuted and insinuated that we were "underestimating our own skills".
I feel like an impasse has been reached. My manager still wants to go forward with the business opportunity (and I believe this is due to it resulting in significant personal gain for him), and I am certain that if that happens, we will not be able to deliver anything of value.
My considerations so far
- Just keeping my head low. I'm just a team member, not someone with any kind of executive power. I've raised my concerns, both in person and in writing and feel like that's as far as my "authority" reaches. The reason this is not ideal is because failure to deliver may have significant negative consequences in relations to that customer and possibly the reputation of the company as a whole. After all, if we as a company say we can do it, and then several months later it turns out we aren't even close to being able to deliver, I can't imagine that not hurting our reputation.
- Escalating to my manager's supervisor. Another possibility I thought of was escalating the issue further up the hierarchy, and essentially making my manager's supervisor aware of the situation, our inability to deliver and the possible consequences if we agree to this. I would also have the results of our "prototyping week" as a result to show that. Of course, this would almost certainly burn bridges between me and my manager, which I would like to avoid if at all possible.
- Abandon ship. Basically the last resort option. Polish up the CV, find a different place. I would generally like to avoid this, because aside from my manager's stubbornness with this particular issue, I like my co-workers and the company has other valuable benefits (comparatively good pay, unlimited WFH, office close to where I live, etc.).
Is there any other possibility I have overlooked? What's the best way for me to act in this situation?