I am working in a tech start up, boss is a non technical CEO, lately we are working on trying to make the product scalable, without performance being affected. I think that he is trying to help from making suggestions, but some of them don't seem to make sense when I end up investigating further. Anyway, since he is adamant about doing things that way, we are forced to take this into account when tackling the problem since no is not really an answer.

I care about the product, and I wish my boss would not intervene too much since we may end up executing wrongly, with me then getting blamed for it from being the product manager - what is the best approach?


My boss has got to the point of paranoia, right now we are arguing about whether Google page speed insight tool is a good tool to measure performance - it isn't. After checking well established companies product scores on it i.e. Facebook, they all seem to score badly on it as well. Yet he thinks that this is an indicator of performance and is expecting us to score highly on it. I am stressed out because I think the score is based on loading everything asynchronously which is the same as loading all of the JS/CSS files at the start. i.e. the score doesn't mean much.

  • 4
    He doesn't trust you enough. Work on that. – WorkerDrone Nov 22 '16 at 12:33
  • 1
    Perhaps if he's stuck on one particular metric you could score your system in relation to someone else on that same metric - so if you score 146 fudgyunits and facebook scores 182 fudgyunits and microsoft scores 132 fudgyunits, then you're probably doing well - irrespective of how fudgyunits are scored by the fudgyunitmaker... – brhans Nov 22 '16 at 12:39
  • @brhans sent a report demonstrating this, his answer; we are not FB etc. WorkerDrone - I think that you are right, thinking about moving on, I have been feeling undervalued lately. I think the other issue is that he doesn't understand technology, and has had some success using it in the past. – bobo2000 Nov 22 '16 at 12:45
  • 1
    Come back with a technical question. With that architecture how are we supposed to X? – paparazzo Nov 22 '16 at 13:57
  • Asides from the technical issue, perhaps what he really wants is a metric, or maybe its his own boss who wants a fast page speed – user2813274 Nov 24 '16 at 15:19

There's an old saying: "if the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, then every problem starts to look like a nail." Your boss lacks tools - experience and judgment - so he's grasping for anything at this point.

You have a problem that's common with people with non-technical bosses. See, your boss has something to prove but he really doesn't know how. He's the CEO of a tech startup, but not technically-competent? There are "cracks in the matrix" there! If he has funding from elsewhere, then he needs to be able to run someplace and say, "gee, look what I did!" Hence the paranoia.

You're going to have to be very firm with him about him torpedoing the technical portions of the project. In short, you'll have to ask him to stay in his lane. He can't design the system, implement it, or maintain it, but he wants it to be successful.

You might give him an analogy. If he wished to build a house, he'd hand the work over to an architect and builder. At NO time ever would the builder allow him to show up on site and start dictating how the work should be done to the contractors. It's overstepping. So see, while your boss would probably back down if the builder protested, he's not backing down with you -- at least, not yet.

He needs to be trained on what to expect from you as a professional developer. If he doesn't understand things like SDLC (which I hope you understand), you'll have to train him. He's going to buck, because he's stuck on being the boss and dictating. It will take lots of time. So you'll have to decide if you really want to do all that, because it may be much more than you signed up to do.

Best of luck.


You need to directly raise this issue with him outside of one of these technical decisions.

Ask to have a quiet word - tell him that he needs to leave technical decisions to technical people or he is shooting himself in the foot.

Be as polite as you can - he may be interfering because he is anxious about the success of the startup, given that its a difficult time. If you hurt his feelings there will be nowhere to hide.

Talk about how he hired you for your expertise, how everybody has their specialisation which needs to be fully utilised in the name of efficiency, stuff like that, but don't make accusations.

And good luck - he may insist and then theres nothing you can do.

  • I would suggest a modicum of gentleness, the boss has probably invested heavily both in time and effort, and might be staking some pride in the development as well. When addressing the issue you should be considerate of that, try not to injure his pride or you might sour the relation. – Charles Borg Nov 22 '16 at 10:26
  • good point, i guess I assumed the OP would be polite, ive fleshed it out somewhat. – speciesUnknown Nov 22 '16 at 10:29
  • 1
    @Charlie that is the problem basically, it has got to the point of paranoia, right now we are arguing about whether Google page speed insight tool is a good tool to measure performance - it isn't. Even Facebook scores badly on it. Yet he thinks that is an indicator of performance and is expecting us to score highly on it. – bobo2000 Nov 22 '16 at 10:31
  • @bobo2000 you might want to add that to the question, since its relevant. – speciesUnknown Nov 22 '16 at 10:33
  • You mentioned the page speed tool multiple times now in this topic, yet I think you should either implement it and leave it at that or present solid arguments why it's not benefitial - in other words: it's wasting everyones time. I agree with @gburton that this issue needs to be addressed to your boss. This tool was probably just the final straw that made you ask for help to the public, and seems to be part of the iceberg. – Edwin Lambregts Nov 22 '16 at 15:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .