My boss has asked me directly to provide technical specifications for a project/task I am working on. There is a BA and a BI Analyst involved in the same project. My role is a software developer and I work on individual tasks on various internal projects. When I prepared the document, I sent it directly to my boss and asked him if any further additions are required. I have not cc'd the BA or the BI Analyst as the task I am working on or the document I am providing is not relevant to their work.

My question is:

  1. Is it a necessity to CC everything to everyone involved in the project all the time?

  2. Is it wrong, if I ask my boss directly to verify my work or provide suggestions (I have a suspicion my boss is feeling as if I am giving him orders!?)

Please help. Thanks.

  • Phrase it as asking for his advice and guidance when you ask those questions - that's basically what you're doing. – James May 30 '15 at 22:39
  • "Please advise if the document requires further additions." is my exact wording in the mail. – user8375562874527 May 30 '15 at 22:41
  • 2
    Make it more sincere and less like a robot - "If you think there's anything I can do to improve it please let me know and I'll update it" - or words to that effect (just my opinion but I prefer more genuine comments). – James May 30 '15 at 22:43
  • Simple email etiquette: send the email To people who directly need the information and/or need to respond; CC the people who need to be aware the conversation is happening, and BCC people when you'd normally CC them but you want to keep their involvement private or hidden from others on the To or CC lists. – anaximander Mar 30 '16 at 13:50

Short answer: Only CC in people relevant to the content of an email, and you can certainly ask your boss to do tasks that help you do your job effectively.

A big mistake I see is when people send emails and they feel the need to CC in the entire project team on stuff that just isn't relevant to them. It's white noise that can distract and really isn't very useful. Just include those people who you need to either respond or to be specifically aware of what you are saying. If you find it needs to be disclosed further, you can then send out an FYI for those items when relevant.

Secondly, asking your boss to do things is called managing upwards. It is a very effective and important part of your role to ensure you have no road blocks and that any risks you identify can be noted and addressed.

Remember, a project manager's role is to manage a project. That means there are certain tasks that he or she may need to do to help YOU do yours, so you can continue to be productive and have no impact on time frames or risks. By all means you SHOULD be asking your boss to do things if you need them done and he or she is the appropriate contact to escalate them through!

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The tricky part about CCing everyone or not is that sometimes you might not realize that someone needs to know something. However, from my experience in the matter, it seems that people try to CC everyone too much, because they are afraid they will miss someone.

I think that it is a good idea to use project management software that will let everyone know what exactly is going on with a project. If you feel confident that your technical specification should only be sent to the boss, do that. In any case, a good boss will also provide your work to whoever is relevant.

In my opinion, you can sometimes ask your boss to verify (or review) your work, but don't do it all the time. It is something that they should always be doing, but may need some reminder from time to time.

Regarding suggestions -- again, a good boss would be amenable to changes or suggestions, and they will let you know when your suggestions have already been considered.

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