-2

I'm seeking advice regarding the recent reorg and impact I've had in my organization. I am a relatively new project manager on a 12 people team. My direct manager got promoted to the next level and got another team. Now he's my skip manager and run a set of somewhat related projects. He took 3 Senior engineers with him to this new project leaving my team with 0 Sr Engineers, 3 Middle Engineers and 6 Jr Engineers (scope didn't change). Not only we have a big question how we are going to deliver what he previously promised but also we learned that he's transitioning these devs with 2-days notice. The expectation is that these devs won't be dragged in any projects related to my team. It's clear that it will be hard to fulfill such a hole in 2 days.

I am trying to understand what I can do to mitigate the effect of this change of composition. I am concerned the team is not setup for success and we will be accused of not delivering on time. Any advice on how to approach this situation?

Thanks.

closed as off-topic by IDrinkandIKnowThings, gnat, Chris E, Mister Positive, Masked Man Jun 29 '17 at 1:19

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    explain to management you have been put in an impossible situation, and leave it to them – Fattie Jun 28 '17 at 18:47
  • 1
    @Fattie Really jump three levels to complain about someone that just got promoted. – paparazzo Jun 28 '17 at 18:50
  • 8
    It is just silly to have a team of all senior developers and another team of no senior developers. You are being sabotaged. Do what you can do day by day and get you resume out. – paparazzo Jun 28 '17 at 18:57
  • 4
    What is a skip manager? – HLGEM Jun 28 '17 at 19:06
  • 1
    It seems that management believe the new project is far more important than the current. They gave your boss a promotion and his dream team. Is the current project became legacy or more in maintenance mode, reducing new features, etc? – Sebastien DErrico Jun 28 '17 at 19:15
6

As the PM, all you can do now is to determine the impact of all this change to the project and report that to your manager.

Losing senior engineers might be a big impact or small one, only you can tell which one it is.

Based on that:

  1. Document this staffing change as an issue. Document any other problems that have arisen as issues, too.
  2. Escalate to your manager, in writing, the issue and the immediate steps you're taking in response.
  3. Have a discussion with your team to evaluate the impacts and get new task estimates, if necessary. Understand you may have lost SME's and tasks that might have taken an experienced person a small amount of time could take a person with less experience a much longer time. Don't get 'best case' estimates, get 'most-likely' estimates based on their knowledge and experience.
  4. You have several options ranging from crashing the project to stopping it altogether. Provide your manager options, in writing, of what you can do. Based on the options you provide, the stakeholders will make a decision. You can help steer the stakeholders to a decision that's beneficial to you and your team, it's all in how you present the options.

That's all the "easy" work because your just responding and trying to stay afloat. The much more difficult thing to do is actually put the stakeholders decision(s) into implementation.

Last is also the most important: get your resume updated. You don't want to be at a company that would allow something like that to happen without repercussions to the manager who left. Find a place that will value your work. Your 'new' skip-level manager is not someone you want to work under. His actions have spoken volumes about his character and work-ethics.

9

I am trying to understand what I can do to mitigate the effect of this change of composition. I am concerned the team is not setup for success and we will be accused of not delivering on time. Any advice on how to approach this situation?

Talk to your direct boss.

  • Try to negotiate a new deadline
  • Try to negotiate for more help
  • Try to reduce the scope of the project
  • Try to get the remainder of the team to work harder
  • Try to get rid of any tasks not related to the deadline-driven project
  • Try to arrange the project tasks in priority order so that if you do run out of time only lower-priority tasks remain

And if none of that is successful

  • Do the best you can with the people you have in the time you are given. Cut as many corners as you reasonably can.
  • 2
    What I would do first is prepare a written project plan that shows the impact of the loss of the four senior devs on project deliverable. Then sit down with the current manager and have a discussion about extending the deadline or reducing the scope or both. Having this in an actual document that shows the actual impossibility of meeting the current deadline with the current resources helps more than just asking for more help or a new deadline. @JoeStrazzere is dead on with what he says. I just wanted to add, you need to go talk with documentation of the problem not just a complaint. – HLGEM Jun 28 '17 at 19:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.