My manager wants to review (and approve) all of the work I do. That's fine with me; I complete my work, send it to him for review, and then wait. And wait.

I've tried dropping them a follow-up email mentioning that everything is good-to-go, which is usually never responded to. I've dropped by their office to drop hints face-to-face (usually along the lines of "so what's the next step? Where do we go from here? What's the plan?"). Nothing ever comes of this. They do eventually respond, but it can take from several days to a couple of weeks.

Waiting on their approval has become the largest obstacle I have to being productive. The process is basically this:
receive task --> complete task --> review --> change requests --> loop

All tasks and change requests are usually completed in an hour or less, meaning the vast majority of my time is spent waiting.

Is the answer to just slow down? Should I directly ask about the delay in responses?

  • 2
    Do you mean you're not assigned any other task while waiting ? Wow, some company seems to have too much money...
    – Laurent S.
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 17:32
  • With someone your skills, I think you are just in the wrong company or you are in the right company but in the wrong position. Someone that can complete task with high efficiency like yours shouldn't be spending time waiting. Thoughts applying for a different position there with more responsibilities?
    – Isaiah3015
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


how do I deal with someone who is a productivity bottleneck?

This isn't just a random "someone" - this is your boss.

Is the answer to just slow down?

Of course not. Slowing yourself down by several days to several weeks makes no sense.

Should I directly ask about the delay in responses?

Try something like this: "Boss. It seems like I spend a lot of time waiting for the approval of my completed tasks. Can we try something different? Maybe you can give me several tasks at once? Is there someone else who could approve them? If not, is there something you'd like me to work on whenever I'm waiting for a task approval?"

You may be given permission to skip the review phase for minor tasks. Or you may be given fill-in work to use each slow period.

  • I cannot imagine a scenario where my product to-do list isn't full of "make tasks" for exactly this situation. My on-call weeks as a dev revolve mainly around small tasks that I can't normally complete while working on major projects, and I use these same tasks for my "review" periods. +1 for the response Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 17:21
  • Thanks for the responses. During the downtime, I have tried working on other projects that have been on the team's backburner (some for years), but was explicitly told not to without prior approval. Prior approval would come from my manager. Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 17:44

If your manager doesn't give you any task and you're sure nothing can be improved use this time to learn new things or improve yourself, work on personal projects upload more stuff to your git and find another more fullfillig job once you've learn enough

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