I'm looking for some honest feedback.

I'm leaving my current position in a few days for a bigger company, better pay, better hours, etc. One of the main reasons I'm leaving though is the management structure at my current job.

There are only four employees in the entire advertising agency. A designer that reports to the owner, a PM that reports to the owner, and myself, who reports to the PM.

First big question: Does a 4 person company NEED a Project Manager, especially one dedicated to only a single employee?

Second big question: Does a PM need to have some understanding of the people they're managing? This PM has no technical experience, no development experience, and very little basic computer skills. I am a web developer. I code websites. I am the only developer in the company. Yet the PM makes design and technical changes on a whim, and ignores any and all feedback. Questioning illogical changes is considered "combative".

If every project is behind, who would be a fault? The Project Manager, who is determining what gets worked on and when, or the devloper who is doing as they are told?

If a deadline gets pushed, is that the developers responsibility? What about if a client is given a choice between A and B, and the client chooses B, is it the developers fault for coding A when told to do so?

Catch: The PM is the owners girlfriends best friend.

I may sound bitter, but I've been dealing with this for the past eight months since this PM was hired. Is this the norm, or an anomaly?


2 Answers 2


PMI's studies have shown that projects that are managed complete more often and more successfully than projects that are not managed. (I can't find the citation right now).

A 4 person team could use a project manager, if the projects are large and complex enough.

Alarms go off in my mind when I read your statement,

Does a PM need to have some understanding of the people they're managing?

The PM's job is not to manage people. The PM's job is to be aware of the cost, schedule, scope, quality, and stakeholder needs, to work with the team to resolve anything that would affect those values and to inform the stakeholders if the issue can't be resolved. Although PM's are sometimes line managers, that is a side duty.

Based on what you say (changes on a whim, ignores feedback, etc.), the individual in question isn't doing a PM's job very well - they're doing some other job and calling themselves a PM. That is an issue for your management; on the other hand if the projects complete on time, under budget and with quality that is acceptable to the customer, then management may be happy with the PM.

Ultimately, I suspect that Mr. Espina is right - the best answer may be to move to a job where you have a better fit.

  • 2
    OK, that's very useful. I would say this one is called a "project manager" but actually a "line manager for one person" The only projects completed on time and on budget are those they are not involved in, which should say a lot. Re: Moving on, already doing so. Today is actually my last day. I guess I was wondering if this is something to expect in the future and by the sounds of it, a proper PM can be an asset.
    – user8577
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 12:19
  • Not sure how you can successfully deliver a project on time if you are not managing people directly. I was in a situation recently where we were having countless delays from a developer under performing. Turns out he had trouble communicating in a team and work ethic was poor which I sorted out.
    – bobo2000
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 9:16

You are asking the wrong questions. This is not about whether or not a PM role is valuable. This is more about interpersonal and political issues you are experiencing in this very small company. You need help with that, maybe also you need some career coaching or a mentor. I am not suggesting you are at fault but you are clearly not coping and you are trying to impeach the role. Not the best strategy. Your best strategy might really be finding a new place to hang your hat.

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