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Alright, so I'm in a team of web developers (RoR devs), consisting of 4 other people. My manager's programming abilities are ridiculously low comparing to the other team members. So that's causing a lot of delays in projects, as he's always the one starting them and then handing his work so we can continue extending it. Then usually we end up rewriting everything from scratch, because he's really that bad.

Also before a project starts, we have brief discussions on how stuff should be. On the last project WE had to organize a meeting so we can give a structure to the project. This is definitely poor management and this costs the company very much.

So, what would be the best way to confront the manager about his poor skills and maybe even ask him to step down from his role?

  • For the first "question/point/concern" - What kind of discussion do you have before starting a project? When you "rewrite things" that your manager wrote does he ever find about that (e.g. code review, etc). If not then how will he know you considered it "that bad". – Brandin Apr 22 '15 at 9:28
  • @Brandin Before starting the project, he just briefly discussed the concepts with us and then went ahead to start creating his "thing". I asked him to have a detailed discussion while he was coding and his approach sounded good in theory, but in code, it's really THAT bad. So us, the team, is now rethinking the whole concept and thinking of a better approach that is actually scalable. How do I approach him to be less "selfish" and discuss thoroughly before starting something? – Aborted Apr 22 '15 at 9:54
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    When I come across such managers (who are few and far between </sarcasm>), I remember Scott Adams' Dilbert Principle: leadership is nature's way of removing morons from the workflow. – Masked Man Apr 22 '15 at 13:08
  • That aside, you are implementing everything from scratch anyway. Why don't you just ignore his crap code (that is, assume it was never written)? – Masked Man Apr 22 '15 at 13:11
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    @Aborted How is he wasting your time? If he had just asked you to implement the whole thing to begin with, you would have done it anyway without any complaints. Why can't you do it now? (This is not a rhetorical question, I am trying to understand what the problem is here.) – Masked Man Apr 22 '15 at 15:32
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I get that the manager is weak technically and he is not the world's most effective manager either. Well, you as a team need to work with him to compensate for or at least, mitigate his weaknesses. Let's start with his ability to architect a project. Given that he is coding and not doing such a great job of coding either, you as a team might want to prevail upon him that he outsource the code architecture to you and that he gets to sign off on the team output.

You take exception to the lack of flexibility in the working hours. What are you going to suggest to your manager as an alternative and how do you propose to coordinate the team members in such a way that their disparate working hours is not an issue?

  • Okay, I organized the question to one single question. What do you suggest? I do not understand your question. – Aborted Apr 22 '15 at 11:22
  • @Aborted When you have people going in and out at disparate times, how do you plan to coordinate these people? – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 22 '15 at 11:24
  • That's also the job of the manager to coordinate obviously. There are plenty of tools used to report tasks, again, something we don't use. – Aborted Apr 22 '15 at 11:25
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This question reads like a rant but I'll venture to answer it anyway.

Without more knowledge on your situation (company culture, awareness of manager's incompetence by his manager etc.), and short of telling you to find another job, there's only one advice I can offer:

Suck it up

That's the gist of it. Here's a number of techniques that can help:

  • Bad code

If you invariably end up re-writing his code, treat the code as a prototype. Prototypes are made to fail to teach you why, so now it's a part of your job, instead of something annoying. It takes a lot of skill to get a design right on the first try for anything reasonably complex.

  • Meetings

It's OK to have multiple meetings. You don't always need the manager to organise it, or even attend it, if he's not part of the coding team. Make sure to let him know of what transpired and be prepared to be overruled. There are many unstated assumptions here about your company and culture, therefore season to taste.

  • Ask him to step down

Do that if you want backlash. He probably has more political pull than you do (again, assumptions) and he will use it if he feels threatened. You are proposing a coup, do you expect him to take it lying down? That said, I can't give any more advice on that. There are tons of resources online on how to confront/handle a bad boss and managing upwards and I suggest that as a starting point.

  • +! managing upwards is exactly what to Google here. – EleventhDoctor Jul 6 '15 at 14:56

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