I work in a programming firm where the Projects manager always overrides set goals and milestones.
He is keen to undermine issues as "doable" more than recognizing that we set out to complete a plan prior to the work, instead of following the plan and only taking advantage of plan evolution where other goals do not get jeopardized.
For instance, in our latest project, we had agreed that it would take 6 weeks to roll out and publish to the users only then and after we had trained them, but we are only in the second week, and he is insisting that we deploy and let the users test whilst we develop.
I have a history with user perceptions when you let them down once, that perception can last the rest of a project, and that's what i try to avoid with clearly laid out plans.
Most of the time we can't override or question his decisions, because he is two levels above us, but we are on the ground and he lets us plan things then agrees, and only in the heat of the moment come to oppose the very things he agrees, and holds you to account. Above him, there is another manager, a more reasonable one who gives you platform to explain yourself.
Essentially, he doesn't seem to want to adhere to project plans and best practices, like at least following one plan: e.g. Waterfall Model of a project, or at least choose Code and Test and follow that one only. He mixes and this hurts projects.
Recently, I had called him out last year on one project, which he did not properly allocate backup resources that I had formally written to him in an email warning him three months before he replied that "i have people i can ask to do this job and they will do it in a manner of hours"; the live system broke down and lost all data, no backup system was in place, and he is silently pushing other people to take it up. This is the example of a catastrophe I don't want
My Question Is there a way to manage such a boss or such traits and still be subordinate? Or this calls for unorthodox action?
I'm thinking to formally make this a complaint to the boss above him.
Update I decided NOT to choose an answer, because there were two respectable points of view. I prefer Kilisi's response, and so do many who up-voted it. There are other answers along these lines, I commented beneath them on how their advice applied to me. Also, blankip provided a different take focusing on the attitude of the OP towards the manager, whilst I disagree, the argument does not lose its validity. I took both sides of the argument into consideration, and decided to cover my work, but at the same time remember my role, and not be delusional simply because I generally disagree with my manager. So anyone in a similar position may take their own route, the answers below helped a lot.