I am looking for a good way to command my role. My team is about 15 people total, 10 of them are engineers, the rest are managers(!). Here is what happened.

Initially, I was hired as a technical product manager. Shortly after I started, someone else was added to my team for that role. I took on a technical program manager role instead. I performed very well, received a lot of positive feedback. Under my leadership the project moved from the critical state to a green state, it became the most successful project in the department.

Now, 3 other program managers got involved in it for no apparent reason(probably, political issues since this is a large organization) - from outside of the team, reporting to their own orgs. All of us have a similar or identical job description. And, everyone is annoyed because the boundaries are not clear.

My manager is well aware about this mess but his response is to ignore other PMs and keep on doing "my own" thing. He asks me to duplicate the work done by the other PMs - writing status reports, sending feature releases, etc. I think this is wrong because it doesn't bring much value plus our stakeholders will get confused by multiple sources of the same info.

The other day, one of those managers stated that he is driving things from the program management standpoint, referring to a particular task. I told him that my role is no different and I can take on that task, which I was working on already. Later he sent a long email explaining all the details of their charter which is basically my job description as well. My manager(CC'ed) didn't reply and asked me to apologize for my quote because "he didn't hear that guy telling what I heard", meaning that the other PM didn't point out he is a leading PM. I validated that what I heard is what other people heard - with the others who attended.

My question is -- How do I explain to my manager that this is a broken process and I need his support and guidance in establishing my role?

  • 1
    Retitled to match your question. I don't think "command my role" is proper English, but I've left it in for now.
    – Lilienthal
    Feb 8, 2017 at 11:17

2 Answers 2


Sounds like you're dealing with institutional overhead. Sounds also like your manager knows this and chucks it up to the cost of doing business.

So just keep on going. Keep on doing your work on time, even though you know it's a little redundant. These other departments probably want one of their guys to give them the report, because they have had bad experiences with outside program managers (like the one you replaced when the project was critical, remember?) and want to be extra sure.

Make sure your paperwork and products of your work are in order, and make sure you still have a copy of your boss telling you to do this.

It's probably not worth fighting this, and you'd end up coming off as annoying or they might decide to eliminate the redundancy and you with it.


My question is, what is your end goal? What do you want the result to be? You want all the other managers to leave and for you to be the only one left?

If so, then I would just start appealing higher and higher up using an official job description from HR, your contract, etc., but realize that this might put yourself in the line of fire and if you don't "play" the politics game well enough, you might be the one who loses his job or position.

What I would really recommend is to stop fighting it, especially since it sounds like your manager is not interested in fighting this fight for you.

I would check that I'm still doing everything I'm supposed to, just as my manager told me, and that I would make sure I had done it better, and time-permitting, that I had done it first.

I assume that all these things you mention (reports, releases, etc.) are time-stamped and labeled with who had done what, so if and when the time comes to take credit, at least you will have documentation of all that you had done and the time you had done them.

If you are also afraid that someone might ask why you hadn't said anything about duplicating each other's work, then also document the conversation that you had had with your manager about the situation.

Cover your bases.

This being said, it's great that you want to bring more value to your work, but if your manager doesn't care, there isn't usually much that you can do.

Good luck.

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