Boss C is project manager for our team, although his usual function is to manage the dev group. There are three workers on the team: me (business analyst), the dev, and SQA (the tester). Our "customers" are all employees of the larger institution.
As business analyst, it is my function to gather the requirements for the project, organize them, and transmit them to the dev and SQA for development and testing. I also answer questions and get clarification after the dev and SQA review the requirements.
My relationship with Boss C has not been good. Things came to a head in the past two weeks, when he has gone to the customer directly and gathered additional requirements without including me in the process at all. This is also during the development cycle, when the requirements are supposed to be frozen.
Approaching him directly is politically difficult because he is not a colleague like a project manager usually would be; he is one level up from me and has a management interest in the dev work, therefore has a natural favoritism toward his own resources. My boss and I have worked through several solutions based on the assumption that Boss C was either micromanaging, minimizing my contribution to the project, or generally controlling. We've both successfully handled situations like this in the past with other personalities (mostly customers) but in this case, none of our attempts worked. In fact, the situation worsened, with Boss C developing greater hostility in the office and reaching out to the customer more.
What finally brought their boss into the picture was that Boss C instructed the dev to contradict a carefully negotiated requirement. When I showed him the requirement and asked him about the difference, instead of coming back to me, he went straight to the customer and stakeholder group and told them "This is how we're doing it, right?" Subsequently, a huge political battle ensued, and although in the end, the dev did what Boss C wanted, it seriously damaged our relationship with business.
Their boss agreed that it was clearly outside Boss C's domain as project manager. In that conversation, Boss C declared that I was bullying the customers. As a result, he is not only circumventing my role, but actively interfering with my relationships with the customer because he believes he is defending the customer from me.
In the long term, this perception will continue to cause problems because I will be on his projects. This is a different situation for me because it is personal—he's objecting specifically to my behavior—and not territorial. I need to have a working relationship with Boss C.
In the coming week, my boss will work with Boss C and their boss to clarify job responsibilities. I think this will help demonstrate their faith in my abilities, but it doesn't address Boss C's perception that I'm bullying and as long as he thinks that, he will feel his behavior is justified.
How do I manage a working relationship with Boss C? I need to be able to do my job without his interference. At the very least, I need to minimize the harm his actions are having on my relationship with the customer and the confusion he is causing over my role in the project.