So I come from an agile workplace and generally prefer to ship whenever something is good enough for the public, but not perfect. However, my line manager is detail-oriented to the extreme and makes me spend days re-doing work until it's just as she thinks it should be.

While some of the feedback is valid, other feedback is I think a little too far. E.g. copy came from different department I upload to the website, she requests copy change, I change, she decides it doesn't look quite right I change again etc... She tries to have things be perfect, but often its just her perception of what perfect is, were, in reality, the original copy was fine. This is particularly irritating when there is a lot of work to be done that is of higher priority.

I have tried confronting her about this, she seems quite aware that this is annoying and often pointless but does it anyway.

I was thinking that my easy going nature (i.e. I say 'its fine', 'sure no problem' a lot) contributes to the issue and I should instead complain about having to make very similar changes? or is complaining about something my manger is asking me to do not the right approach ?

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    @Fattie yeah that's par for the course in a lot of shops. It also sounds like OP is not getting feedback from a required party until too late in the process. Jul 4, 2017 at 16:53

4 Answers 4


The thing to keep in mind is that you state your perception and you mention her perception. There isn't a "factual" analysis in this question. Being that it's interpersonal you need to bring an element of factual impact to the table so that you can properly push back and management can properly asses the importance of the changes vs. the impact the changes will have on other priorities.

I think the best approach is to bring in priorities. Ask her to re-prioritize based on additional adjustments. If there are other higher priority items that will slip, make her aware that you would be happy to change it, but it could delay x which you believe is a higher priority to get working on at this time. Leave the ball in her court to decide, but this will hopefully show her the negative impact her constant changes might be having on additional priority work. You might also suggest that she document her tweaks and that you revisit it after the other high priority work is complete or in a lull period if there are those.

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    I have also found this approach to be very effective. Roughly 2/3 of the manager's requests seem to "vanish" :) Telling the side effects of their request is a good way for the manager to be able to choose what to prioritize and take responsibility of delays... Jul 4, 2017 at 18:45

What is happening here is a lack of communication.

From what it sounds like, this managers approval is needed before something can be moved into production. If this is true, you should start involving her earlier on the process so this does not happen at the last minute and cause frustration.

Agile is all about working with your client(s) to give them something shippable then building on it. If your manager is basically the client in this scenario and the product you are giving her is not shippable in her eyes, there is a problem.

Start involving this manager earlier on in the process and say something like:

Hey could you come take a quick look at this, I want to make sure this is right before I got too far down the rabbit hole working on it

This constant feedback will help guide you on the right path. It will also give the manager a chance to give feedback early on, and if she changes her mind later, you could tell her that this why you had her look at earlier on in the process. Make whatever change she asks for then tell her it would cause you less stress if these things could be identified earlier on in the process.

I am not going to reiterate what mutt has said in his/her answer, but there are some good suggestions there as well.

If you want to avoid last minute changes, get feedback earlier on in the process.


Instead of answering "It's no problem" or "Sure", why not keep a written form, at the end of the day, to track time in the corrections made, so you will be able to answer with "Yes, but it will take x-amount of time and should priority ABC be placed below this?" By having a history of time involved, will help you discern the actual extra time and you can thereby give factual responses.


If this is part of her job role, then the only thing you can do is say your opinion and give her an impact analysis with the cost and other consequences the requested change will have. Give your feedback verbaly at first and if she does not change her mind, send an e-mail with a detailed analysis. After that you will have to accept her decision, whichever may be.

If this is not part of her job role then you have to escalate the issue to higher management.

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