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I always feel difficulty to face my project manager and don't know how to handle him. There are many situations in which I feel very bad because of his behaviour.

1) While discussion about time required to develop project he always gives very less time. He doesn't consider practical scanario and always think and explain things in a very simple way. As in my company all processes are not followed and requirements are also not too clear at time of discussion I am also not confident about time requirement.

2) Once development started and we come across some difficult situation he tried to avoid by just giving some unusual or not practical solutions. He doesn't allow us to talk and only speak, and if we try to speak stop us by saying "Let me finish first" . If any call comes he get busy at that call and ignore discussion.

3) With schedule task he give some other task also and don't consider or forget time spend for that work and after some days while deadline comes for scheduled task he only ask why this not happened and after that told any how we have to give it to this friday etc. so we have to sit late and complete this work as there is lot of pressure.

What are solution for this situations. How to handle it as job security is always first priority for us and bad relation with boss always creates difficulties in professional life.

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    Have you tried talking to him? – Mark Phillips Apr 5 '12 at 19:09
  • I tried but he didn't listen me and only try to confuse by non practical solution, because of this many times I avoid to go to him even I don't have clarification about project – user1149555 Apr 5 '12 at 19:20
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I can offer some advice on the time estimating portion of your question because I have and many clients and managers who were always pushing the schedule.

  • Try to do it in writing: Making decisions in face-to-face meetings may not work well for all participants (especially with non-native speakers). When you can write out the reasons why you think Task A will take X days and Task B will take Y days, you get the opportunity to think about things more thoroughly.
  • Always document your concerns: If your PM gives you an impossible deadline, always send a politely worded e-mail to the PM saying that you'll do your best but you are not entirely sure that you can finish in the time allotted. This may seem like just protecting yourself (which it might do) but it really is part of the history of the project and it needs to be documented at some point. Lessons Learned / Project Reviews can actually help other people in the future.
  • Use a formal methodology: If you can explain your estimate with some sort of methodology, your recommendation might contain more weight. I find that the "if everything goes well = X weeks but if things go wrong = X+10 weeks but X+3 weeks seems reasonable" is a great place to start. Many PERT books use that as a basis of a formula (Optimistic + 4x Typical + Pessimistic)/6 = My Estimate. It wouldn't hurt to try it a couple of times and see if it gets more traction.

In my work in architecture (as in designing buildings), pressure to reduce costs was greater than the pressure to accelerate schedule but in the technology/software fields, pressure to reduce schedule seems to be the goal of every project manager and boss.

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Of all the managers to whom you report, you will likely have two, maybe three that you will always remember as a great leader. Most you will easily forget, and then you will have one or two or three whom you hope you will never see again the rest of your life. The PM is the accountable one; (s)he has to manage the way (s)he knows how. Sadly, his/her choice may end up producing lousy results, but that is a lesson to be learned by him/her later. As a team member, you need to support the PM and the team the best you can. This means, without emotion or blame, you advise the PM the threats and issues you see, some alternatives, some ideas, in a way that the PM will not feel threatened but instead supported. If your advice conrtradicts something the PM said already in public, then take it behind closed doors. If the PM refuses your counsel, then execute per direction the best you can. Do not sabotage, do not bad-mouth, just do your job as cleanly as you can.

In the mean time, create other alternatives for yourself.

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As a project manager he appears to be (a) failing to work with all stakeholders to develop an achievable project plan, (b) failing to communicate or provide team leadership, and (c) failing to adequately control and document scope. These are all key issues that greatly increase the likelihood of project failure. He has also managed to make the workplace toxic enough that you avoid him.

The only real solution is to talk to him in a non-confrontational manner. Try to put yourself in his shoes and figure out what is motivating him to behave this way. Is he getting pressure from his bosses? Is he trying to impress to get a promotion? Is he poorly trained as a Project Manager? Does your corporate culture ruthlessly punish failure to meet timelines?

If you can't have a discussion with him, or if you don't see the situation improving, you need to ask yourself what the value is for you in remaining with your current company. Job security is great but there comes a point where it is not worth the cost.

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I resonate with @DavidEspina that you need to support your team and the PM. If you really care about bringing changes, you have to

  1. Somehow, you need to worry less about the job security. Our circumstances and commitments bring lots of fear about loosing the job. But if you are skilled and hopeful, your employability may not be as bad as you think.
  2. Commit yourself to your organization to bring changes. It's going to be challenging but very fruitful and learning experience for you.
  3. Device a feedback loop to check whether the "practical scenarios" you want to bring in are not outcome of your personal need for perfection. Whatever changes you want to bring in, should be aligned with the organization's problem.

Also, specifically, for the problem mentioned in the third bullet - Create a work item list (if you already don't have). You can use any tool, may be simply a google doc. Keep on adding the tasks in the list, whenever something new arrives. Along with that estimate and schedule those tasks. If your manager want to prioritize the new one, do it with lowering the priority of the current task. You can also document the risk of breaking the rhythm of your current work by increasing the estimate of the task you are leaving in between. Even if your PM doesn't agree on swapping the priority your efforts will be visible to everyone. I hope with this visibility you'll make some impact.

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  1. Schedule a meeting
  2. Prepare a list of ways that you could be more efficient
  3. Prepare a list of ways that you could be better aligned to the business.
  4. Prepare a list of methods that you could use to meet deadlines.
  5. Make sure that your issues are described in business terms, e.g. "We'll make less money becuase of 'x', or we'll lose customers because of 'y'. If you actually can't do this easily it may be a sign that the issues that you consider important are maybe not important to the company.

Remember that companies are usually interested in 'how much revenue can I get, how can I reduce costs' and that does not always align with a programmer or QA or product person's idea of what the software 'should' do and what bugs 'should' be fixed.

By setting this up as 'what you can do' you are speaking your managers languages and using his/her point of view.

When you actually get into the detail, you can start to bring in the 'yeah, unfortunately that's not working [practical, etc] because of a,b,c. How can I better address that?' to address what you perceive as the key issues.

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