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I recently received an email from the company president (where I worked for 10 months) where he asks me how much time my project is missing for finishing. Should I tell him estimated dates or just let the manager of my sector take care of that? Currently the manager is on vacation and usually he handles the times of the projects.

Lately I have had a couple of meetings with the president regarding my project without the manager's presence.


EDIT 1

Yesterday I answered the mail, I told him that the changes and functionalities that he had asked me in the last meeting were 100% operative, I request a meeting today to evaluate them and to relay information to continue with the development of the project. And that the tests of the system had them to approve the manager. (That way I cover my back).

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Should I tell him estimated dates or just let the manager of my sector take care of that?

If the president of the company asked you for an estimate, then you must give him one. Make it clear that you are speaking only for yourself and not your team. Also make it clear how confident you are in your estimate (if it's just a guess, then indicate that).

And if there are other things on your plate that would get in the way of completing the project, you should mention them.

You should also copy your manager on your answer. That way your manager can choose to follow up with any corrections/clarifications as needed.

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    Experience has taught me that you can "make it clear" all you want, the higher-up will forget the clarity and just remember the number. – user42272 May 31 '17 at 1:13
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    @djechlin Doesn't matter, at least its not your fault when that happens – Black Magic May 31 '17 at 6:29
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    One side note, if you can contact your manager before replying to this so your answer is in line with what he has you can avoid unpleasant surprises later on when he returns, plus he ll probably value you more for not bypassing his "authority" even if asked to. – Leon May 31 '17 at 6:35
  • @BlackMagic - it's always your fault when that happens ... you don't seriously expect the high & mighty president to take responsibility do you? – brhans May 31 '17 at 11:35
  • @BlackMagic absolutely wrong, people get blamed for poor communication all the time. If the message wasn't received properly you'll be on the hook. Even if it's not your fault the fallout will sure be your responsibility, and don't expect someone else's blame to lighten your burden. Even then there's more to life, and certainly more to having a productive and fulfilling career, than distributing blame somewhere else. Sheesh, don't be so cynical you miss out on the chance to participate. – user42272 Jun 13 '17 at 6:24
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You don't indicate how long you have been doing your kind of work. Estimating is hard, even for the seasoned, and giving one will create a hard deadline for you.

It would be better to politely indicate you are uncomfortable with giving an estimate and you would like to wait for your manager to return so that he can take into account all factors that may affect the estimate.

Good managers know how to relay this kind of information in a way that doesn't get them boxed into corners. It may be one reason the president is jumping over him, he is trying to get an answer that doesn't have all the padding or BS that the manager might put in there. Bear in mind though that sometimes all that padding and BS is there for a reason.

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    There is a high chance that the president is asking the OP directly because the manager is on vacation and the issue can't wait, so referring to the absent manager will not help much and probably be preceived as an annoyance by the president. – Thern May 31 '17 at 7:50

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