I am working as developer in the current firm. We are developing a application for the organization. However for requirements and for other clarifications we need to approach so many other teams and many other people. Usually for those clarifications I used to approach my reporting manager.

However he is super busy with lot of things, and usually the inputs or clarifications are getting late from other teams. Since my manager is super busy he is sometimes becomes bottle neck for those clarifications and inputs. Sometimes I used to wait for those clarifications and sit idle without any work. But when those clarifications are inputs come I used to work more than usual working hours and used to slog in order to meet dead lines.

Hence I feel I would like to go beyond my manager and approach other teams or departments for those clarifications. How can I do gracefully without creating any rift with my manager?

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    Have you asked your manager how he or she would like you to act? My manager would be greatly upset if I waited on him to clarify requirements with the business units. Other managers may want to be involved in those discussions. Still others may have different approaches for different developers/ business units/ projects depending on levels of trust, past history, and political winds. Apr 23 '14 at 2:00
  • What's preventing you from asking your manager to give you standing permission to contact the people you need to contact on your own? Apr 23 '14 at 3:21

The easiest way to do this is to go to your manager and say "I need some clarifications from such-and-such a team. Normally I'd talk to you, but I know you're busy. Do you mind if I go and talk to them direct? I'll copy you on what they say if you like."

I should say that in some cases, getting input from other teams is much more complicated than simply going to some person and asking them. I say this because taking on this task might be more work than you think.

  • 2
    Excellent answer. As a manager who is frequently extremely busy I place a high value on employees who are self driven to the point of being able to get the things they need to complete their tasks. This way of approaching me would rate highly in my estimation of them.
    – NotMe
    Apr 23 '14 at 14:54
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    As a life-long non-manager, I spent decades being expected to communicate with technical people in other departments. It was not just a matter of manager time. Often, people with similar expertise in different departments can communicate better without filtering through their managers. Jun 29 '15 at 22:37
  • @PatriciaShanahan Very true. But I've also been in situations where the response of a tech approached by another tech is "You're not my boss, and anyway I'm too busy, go away!". At that point your manager needs to talk to his manager to get the work you need. (I'm not saying that's the way it should be, but sometimes it is). Nov 20 '15 at 21:47

The graceful way is to offer your manager a potential solution to help him with the amount of work in his plate and getting projects finished sooner. Don't start with trying to limit your hours in general, but doing things at the last minute is taking a risk of more errors.

He may be worried that things will happen without his knowledge. Work on documentation of the requests and that if you feel someone is making an unnecessary requirement, you'll bring it to his attention. He is responsible for the project and sometimes that leads to micro-managing. There could be other checks and balances required by the company to keep him in the loop. I've had managers who tried to insulate their team from ad hoc requests especially and I only would work directly with users when given permission on particular projects.

There may be other solutions to free up his time (Isn't that the real problem?). Does he take on the sole responsibility of finding replacements? You'll never provide the best solution until you have all the information. Just because this is a bottleneck for your projects may not be perceived as a problem for the company (ie. they don't care if you have to work late.).


It depends on your company's structure. If the President/CEO is in your line of report-to, then simply make the point to politely request to speak with him/her and bring such issues to their attention. I work with a remote manager who is not the most punctual and brings a very outdated approach to application development to the table often. In those situations where he is stalling or being purposeful in his impedance to progress for the sake of his own comfort and position, I routinely go directly to the President/CEO. The key to doing that though lays in presenting the facts and espressing the issue tactfully, not in a way that comes across as throwing someone under the bus, even if they may deserve it.

I find that being equipped with the facts, what the problem is and how going about it differently will speed up completion, the CEO is all ears, and provides the authorization and any resources needed, in addition to setting the manager straight on the same path as I presented to him. Just be prepared and organized beforehand.

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