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I have a sense that my project manager is very picky with me. She speak bluntly. Her words made me uncomfortable sometimes. Once she reported a list of mistakes including very detailed ones I did to the director and I have heard of that from others. I still try to be nice to her and do whatever I can to meet her requirement. She kept being very demanding on me. I am wondering what I can do to improve this work relationship with her.

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    Project managers are supposed to be tough on you. What you do is pick up your performance so she has nothing to complain about you. – HLGEM Sep 1 '16 at 17:27
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    Have clear deliverables, and deliver on them. Communicate issues clearly and immediately. – Jon Custer Sep 1 '16 at 17:29
  • Is she also your manager, or do you have a separate manager? – thursdaysgeek Sep 2 '16 at 0:54
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    Does she treat other people the same way? – thursdaysgeek Sep 2 '16 at 0:55
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Documentation, documentation, documentation. Your PM should be giving you a clear and detailed design doc. If that's not happening, then communicate that to her. Communicate that to your boss.

Depending on the culture, a PM is a manager with absolutely no authority and lots of responsibility. They are there to manage the scope, design and implementation of a project. All of that should come with very clear expectations with regards to

  • tasks to be performed
  • time alotted to perform tasks
  • deadline for completion

The more vague a PM is with any of these, the more trouble there will be. At the end of the day, she isn't your boss; just another client you are serving. But you should be talking to your boss about the problem(s) you are facing while working with this person.

If you are being provided with documentation and you are not delivering as designed, are going over budget, and missing deadlines...that is your problem and she's not being picky; she's doing her job.

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As a former Project Manager and current Program Manager I can tell you that it either her fault, or your fault that this is happening.

PMs are just that - managers of a project, yes they are supposed to lead the team but that is more of a coach/taskmaster roal versus an actual manager/supervisor in most settings.

So if she is providing clear instructions through scope documentation, a project plan/charter that spells out major deliverables and milestones as well as a detailed requirements list and/or infrastructure/software design plan and you are fumbling these - then is totally on you. She is tasking you, you fail so the only way for her as a PM to back down is for you to start producing.

Now, if she is giving you high level business reqs and expecting you to to turn them into increments of a "done" product without any clear guidance or support she is not an effective PM and she is taking out frustration. That needs to be communicated to your Lead/Manager and her leadership as well.

A third possibility is the PMO, Program Manager or PM Director is applying unnecessary pressure on her despite the job being done then there is not a whole lot you can do.

End of the day she is human, and if you approach her tactfully, assuming you are not dropping the ball, that would be best avenue of approach.

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