I have years of engineering experience and now I am taking the position of a jr. manager. I seek the opinion of the other managers about the case at my current project.

I had a positive experience using the development methodologies in past and want to bring more process to my zone of responsibility now. My direct manager doesn't like the process. It's been always difficult to make him follow Scrum or any other methodology. He says we don't need to create tickets in task-tracking systems, estimate or log time there because the task will take as much time as it will take. The team got used to having a very weak process and control and it's extremely hard for me to track the progress without the task list/board.

Now, I can see we are not able to meet the deadline. I decided to let my manager know and talked about possible solutions - bring more visibility in the work, etc. He says I can't prove we are late because we still have 2 weeks more. So, based on his words I have to wait until after deadline passes and then escalate the problem. I disagree and want to understand if I am right or wrong with this.

The questions I have to resolve:

  1. Should I escalate the problem with not being about to release on time or just wait until it happens? To the manager of my manager, for ex,?

  2. Should I care about the process if my manager doesn't?

  3. If so, any recommendations on how to bring more process into the team that is reluctant to it?

I'd be grateful for any advice, thank you for your time!

closed as off-topic by gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Garrison Neely, Jim G., Joel Etherton Feb 27 '15 at 16:30

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  • What process doesn't your manager like? Scrum? If not, what does he prefer? – Brian Feb 23 '15 at 23:17
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    Keep a paper trail of your discussions, if you are not being allowed to make those decisions, you might yourself in tht position when your manager fails himself – Donald Feb 24 '15 at 4:01
  • I guess if everyone puts in enough over-time in the last two weeks, he'll consider the project a success? – user8365 Feb 24 '15 at 4:03
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    @Brian: He doesn't like any process. He says it's unnecessary. – etual Feb 24 '15 at 8:35
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    @Lohoris, unfortunately, we don't have others of his level in the team. People who I ask outside of the project advise to talk to top management, give a notice or post the question here :) – etual Feb 24 '15 at 10:29

The question looks like how to manage your manager (down-top management) Usually bad management comes from:

  • New Manager who doesn’t know a lot about the environment.
  • Apathetic manager.
  • Unskilled manager.

in your case it seems mix between second and third point. escalating your concern to the manager of your manager could put you in trouble sometimes. if I were you, i will think more wisely by managing my manager indirectly like:

  • Show him your ideas and ask for his advice and great experience
  • Give suggestions by asking questions
  • Once he is confused, suggest that you make a research and come back to him with findings
  • Show him charts, statistics and benchmarks. And ask him about his opinion
  • Finally focus on your team and tasks and try to show your manager that your team is more productive than others, and then show him your policy of how to manage your work.
  • Hello Lina, your reply is a good point, I'll read about down-top management more. I think I've been following your advice subconsciously. Sometimes it helps but in most cases the manager doesn't hear my thoughts. I'll try to support them with the statistics and charts. I'd vote for your reply but have lack of reputation :) – etual Feb 24 '15 at 8:56

If your manager makes a decision that obstructs your work, it is your responsibility to ensure that he is aware of this fact. If however he still stands by his decision in spite of that, you should implement his decision to the best of your ability - or resign (the latter is of course not something to be done lightly).

Therefore, if tracking progress or monitoring deadlines is your job (as defined by your manager; if in doubt, ask him), you should inform your manager that you can not (or do not know how) do so without a more structured process, and why. You might also suggest how the process could be improved, and offer to assist implementing the changes.

  1. Should I care about the process if my manager doesn't?

You should care about process if it assists in meeting the goals your manager has set for you. You can assess whether this is the case better than we can.

  1. If so, any recommendations on how to bring more process into the team that is reluctant to it?

First you'll want to discover why they are reluctant. Not knowing that, I can only give very general tips:

People are usually willing to change if they are convinced that they'll benefit from it (so it is not enough for you to think that they'll benefit, they'll need to be convinced of that, too. Nor is it enough for the company to benefit). To show them how they'll benefit, you will need to understand what they want.

Also, change always requires additional effort (because everybody must adapt to the new way). Do the benefits justify that effort?

  • Thank you, @meriton. The part about motivating people for accepting the process is very useful! – etual Mar 5 '15 at 15:54

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