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My manager suggests (minor) lying to mitigate client's (mistaken IMO) perception of my recalcitrance. I understand and agree with logic of suggestion, but don't want to. Not following manager's guidance will likely hurt my career short term. Least bad option unclear.

Key guidance from client: Do not push back AT ALL after decisions are made by the client architect (CA). All decisions are to be made by the CA.

I am now gun shy about offering my opinion at all, even before the CA makes a decision because (IMO) he has mis-characterized my previous pre-decision behavior as "resisting". What the CA clearly wants, and pursues, is for me to tell him his decision is the right/best one. Sometimes his idea is better, in which case is easy, I say: "Your idea is even better, let's do that". The rest of the time I get through these episodes with variations of "we can do this," "not a problem," "happy to do this," etc. but it wastes time, hence the guidance from my manager.

If I just give him what he wants the risk is one or more of these bad calls comes back to haunt me/my firm. If I continue to "waste" time mollifying his need for my approval it adds (perceived unnecessary) work to my plate, upsetting my manager. If I do provide feedback pre-decision, and it is again mis-characterized my firm may lose this important client. Questions:

  1. Should I [a] continue on mollifying the CA, [b] do my best to estimate risks and selectively lie to the CA to save time, or [c] something else?

  2. What steps, if any, would you recommend I take with my manager?

  3. Any other suggestions?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Masked Man, scaaahu, Michael Grubey, gnat, nvoigt Aug 22 '17 at 10:50

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    This has been shortened to the point of losing important information. Reading revision 1 I will say this to you: not all great programmers (or architects) can be consultants. There is a layer of skill required that goes beyond technical right and wrong. You will not learn that from one question here. Set a goal to learn how to consult or get a job that only requires you to develop and architect. – Kate Gregory Aug 22 '17 at 13:53
  • When asked, just say "I am sorry, but your guidance not to comment even on the most ridiculous of your CA's decisions does not allow me to discuss this item". Then look for another job - tons of managers and architects are so incompetent they WILL hurt your career. – TomTom Aug 22 '17 at 15:37
  • @KateGregory I can't be sure, but maybe you're suggesting an alternate path to resolution via better consulting/soft skills? If so, let's assume that my perceptions are accurate (enough). What do you do? – Axing Phora-Phrend Aug 22 '17 at 16:53
  • @TomTom That might (briefly) feel good, but is unwise (IMO) from a consulting (see Kate's comment) or outcome perspective. – Axing Phora-Phrend Aug 22 '17 at 16:56
  • it won't really fit in a comment. Lots of questions. Judgement. Insight. Team attitude and motivation. Truly wanting the best for the client and convincing them you do. – Kate Gregory Aug 22 '17 at 17:58
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I agree with what Joe said in the comments, and I think this constitutes a reasonable way forward without violating your personal preferences.

Offering your honest opinion when explicitly asked for it by the CA is not "pushing back." It's just answering a question. Be polite, as you always are, and phrase it in a "this is what I would personally do, but you're the client and we can do it however you like" kind of way, then let the CA decide which way he wants to do it and go with that, no debates.

Don't offer your opinion if you aren't asked for it and don't point out flaws in the CA's plan as this is likely the sort of thing that would qualify as "pushing back."

Anything that you'd like to tell the CA but aren't asked your opinion of is the sort of thing that should go into your report to your manager, for future reference and/or getting your manager to push back on.

If you receive criticism for not pointing out an obvious flaw in the CA's plan the first time it was mentioned, discuss with your manager and highlight the whole "I was told not to push back AT ALL" thing.

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