tl;dr: Should I recommend that I not be involved in a project if my advice is consistently ignored?
I'm an electrical engineer with 20+ years experience in a highly specialised domain. I'm the only person with subject matter expertise in that particular domain within the company, and I'm supported by a small team of around 5. I manage my team's portfolio of projects but are occasionally asked to support projects run by other teams.
I've recently been asked to support a project run by another manager (Manager X) by providing technical advice and review work undertaken by external contractors. The request was made by my Executive General Manager (my manager's manager). To deliver the project, Manager X and his team outsource all tasks of a technical nature to external contractors. Dependence on externals is standard operating procedure for that team. Manager X and his team oversee the contracts and combine the contractor's outputs (cost and volume estimates) into a single report.
My stated role in the project to review the work undertaken by the contracts, ensure it is technically proficient, and request changes where errors or omissions are identified.
The Executive General Manager asked for my involvement because of a concern about the quality of Manager X's work in the past, and his ability to evaluate the work undertaken by the external contractors.
The fact that the project is run by Manager X and not myself is the result of legacy arrangements and more than a little company politics.
Manager X has said at the start of my involvement in the project that he:
- has no need for my involvement as he has successfully delivered similar projects without my input.
- is as proficient at understanding the technical issues as I, and so my input is unnecessary.
Since the project commenced I have identified more than a dozen issues with the work undertaken by the contractors. Only one of the issues was forwarded by Manager X to the contractors for correction/clarification, as Manager X verbally (no email trail) stated that he "did not see them as a problem". However, Manager X has queried a number of points based on his "gut feel" which the external contractors quickly identified as non-issues.
My problems are:
- From a personal perspective, my ongoing involvement suggests that I've reviewed or approved the work, or at least had some influence on it's progress. Selfishly, if (or more likely, when) something goes wrong with the project I don't want to "go down with the ship".
- From a company perspective, we're wasting money by having a resource doing work that is not used in an effective manner.
- Most seriously, the current outputs are technically flawed, but this hasn't been acknowledged by Manager X.
What course of action should I recommend to my manager?
- My first reaction was to suggest that I be solely responsible for signing-off any technical work produced by the contractors on the basis that I'm the only one that is qualified to do so, but this is likely to be interpreted as moving in on another team's territory.
- my second reaction was to suggest that I be removed from the project on the basis that my advice is ignored and input not used. This course of action would difficult to explain to the Executive General Manager without starting a fight about who said what and when.
Can anyone recommend a third course of action that would give me greater control over the project quality while managing the politics involved?
 - I don't know where this request sat on the spectrum from "thought bubble" to "well considered plan based on many observations of past performance".
 - I don't regard having all correspondence to external contractors flow through a single point of contact as unusual or inappropriate.