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I am working as consultant to US based Organization.

I am development team lead and we are starting development of new project soon. The architect of the team proposed new approach and new direction for project development based on the nature of the project. This approach is ideal for our project. At present that approach provides marginal benefits over the current approach and it may be useful in very long term. And it takes some good amount of investment of time and effort from my development team. All of my team members are against this approach as they are not seeing any substantial benefit from this approach. Even my reporting manager also not willing to accept this approach.

However current project has very strict and stringent dead lines. We don’t have any extra buffer. For me new direction always brings some sort of challenges and risks which are unknown at this point of time. At this tight deadlines, I am not willing to experiment that new approach. Finally I am the decision maker as I am responsible for project delivery.

How can I handle this conflict gracefully and derive amicable decision out of this situation?

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However current project has very strict and stringent dead lines. We don’t have any extra buffer.

You don't want to gamble on not meeting the deadlines at this point.

At present that approach provides marginal benefits over the current approach and it may be useful in very long term. And it takes some good amount of investment of time and effort from my development team.

Another way of saying that the cost-benefit ratio is just not there for this project. Do you agree? :)

Even my reporting manager also not willing to accept this approach.

A nice way of saying that you have zero buy-in from management.

Self-evident conclusion: it's not the right timing, it's not the right project and you have zero buy-in from management. And it's all from your own post. Now, all you have to do is be the bearer of bad news and tell the architect that the architect's idea is a no-go for the reasons you mentioned in your own post. That news is going to be like medicine that tastes bad to the architect. Make the architect take that medicine in one gulp - the faster it goes in, the faster it goes down :)

Follow-up comment from @keshlam "But do tell him that you think his suggestion would be "ideal" if you had more lead time, and -- if you think there's any chance of it being accepted -- he should suggest it again after the deadlines are past. Maybe it can be adopted for the next release of this project, or for a future project. (I've been on both sides of that discussion. Knowing that someone I respect appreciates the idea and is taking it seriously makes accepting "sorry, not right now" much easier.)"

Excellent follow-up suggestion. "We'll definitely be looking for an opportunity to try it but we have zero margin of safety on this project, I am not feeling suicidal, and I kind of got used to having a roof over my head and eating three meals a day" :)

  • But do tell him that you think his suggestion would be "ideal" if you had more lead time, and -- if you think there's any chance of it being accepted -- he should suggest it again after the deadlines are past. Maybe it can be adopted for the next release of this project, or for a future project. (I've been on both sides of that discussion. Knowing that someone I respect appreciates the idea and is taking it seriously makes accepting "sorry, not right now" much easier.) – keshlam Jun 7 '14 at 16:57
  • @keshlam I incorporated your comment into my answer, with full attribution to you, of course, and I replied to your comment :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Jun 7 '14 at 17:09
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Here's what I generally do when this comes up.

  1. If the whole team buys in to a pivot of approach during a project and believes it will significantly improve delivery of this project, I support it, while making it clear that it can't affect delivery - if we try it and it's not working out we need to switch back and we may have to work extra hard to make up lost time.

  2. If the whole team is interested in a new approach but everyone agrees it carries significant risk to the current project, then "That's great, let's plan to do that from the beginning next project."

  3. If the team isn't bought in, that's a problem. I'd tell the architect "hey, for that to work you'll need the others' support. Work on that. We can try it next time, or find a way to pilot it, something that'll get the others on board." If he wants me to "make them," I make it clear that part of being an architect is not just thinking smart thoughts, but being an influencer in the organization, and work with them on personal coaching to that end.

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