My manager seems irritated when he asks for an update and I inform him of a barrier I’m working on. For example I was working on implementing a subprocess call, and when tried it on the program to be launched got an error but tried on a simple system command and it worked. I then started searching online for information about the error message.
My manager walked in and asked for an update at the moment of troubleshooting. I explained to him about the command I was using to launch the new process and told him I got it working with a simple example but got an error when launching the target program; showed him the error message. I told him I am researching the cause of the error. Reading between the lines he was unhappy and made a scoffing noise and said “you’re the programmer I cannot help you with this”.
It’s been my observation if I ever talk about a “setback” or show any sign of uncertainty he gets displeased. How should I address this issue or should I ignore it? Should I always just leave out any hindrances?
The manager is slightly technical but does not know programming. He is from Russia and grew up in the army and it is clear he comes from a different culture. I’m not saying I think this is how Russian culture is, but I notice with my manager he thinks very linearly, in terms of binary (either it was done or not, yes or no) and he is very in tune to the structure of things (for example he often doesn’t refer to people by their names but by their position e.g. the programmer, the account etc.). This description is not intended to be bigotry, I’ve got friends who are Russian and the difference in communication may not be caused by culture at all.
EDIT: I'm a bit surprised by all the suggestions saying not to give technical details but to focus on when things will get done. I thought more people on this site new it cannot be accurately predicted when a program will be finished. For reference https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/648/how-to-respond-when-you-are-asked-for-an-estimate