I have been having a hard time dealing with my tech lead. He’s e5 and leading our project. I’m aiming for promo end of this half and I feel like he’s really using that as a weapon against me.
For the project I am on, he gave me some deliverables. For one of the deliverable d1, I pushed back as there was no clarity. He basically said you have to do it or someone else will. I pulled in my manager and eventually the manager said it’s his project, his decision.
Fast forward, after spending a good week or 2 on this , we were asked to stop the project due to the alignment issues I had highlighted earlier.
The whole deliverable d1 was de prioritized and I was asked to work on something else (d2). It’s close to the end of the half now and the Teach lead is asking me to do more work to show that d1 made any progress and it was landed.
Despite working super hard on this, I have not clear deliverables. I think this is a directional problem. A lot of this was out disambiguating stuff. He’s also said stuff like you don’t seem to be working much on this.
I feel quite frustrated that despite working a lot the TL doesn’t seem to acknowledge any of the work or doubts cleared.
From the outside looking in, I see 2 things:
My guess is that the E5 might have planned the project around your ability to hit their expectations for E4, and you're missing those expectations (which is frustrating him). Given the scenario you described and your behaviors in it, there's some gaps I noticed:
Building on this rough view, this doesn't feel (to me) like a scenario I'd expect a E4 to struggle with (and I'm extracting my guess of the TL's behavior based on this). At E4, you need to dictate the pace of the work you own by driving decisions, timelines, trade-offs, and alignment for the work you're implementing.
Given how there's competing deliverables and a lack of alignment, there's clearly E4 scope in my eyes. I think the main behavior change that needs to happen is driving alignment. There's 2 parts to this I'd recommend you to focus on:
Hope this helps!
Is this the only project you're working on? Or at least the primary project? If so, I'd recommend upping the amount of communication with this E5. Perhaps setup a weekly 1:1 with them.
He’s also said stuff like you don’t seem to be working much on this.
One thing I'd like to comment on here is the value of "showing your work". Basically, it means leaving a paper trail of the work you're doing, so you have ample evidence to refute this kind of statement.
Some of the work we do as engineers naturally has a paper trail, e.g. code we write. But if you're doing exploratory work or learning more about a codebase, it's up to you to share your learnings. I'd recommend posting on Workplace with what you did, why it matters, and what the next step is. This has 2 benefits:
Many great points have been raised already, so I just want to highlight one thing in particular.
If your primary contributions are "disambiguating stuff," treat alignment as your "deliverables" rather than landing code / creating technical artifacts.
Given that "alignment" is not as easily observable as code, here are some things you'd want to consider putting into practice.
I would caveat that there's a decent chance that your TL expects you to focus on contributing more code vs. resolving the ambiguity. In this case, you should present a clear case for how investing time in alignment upfront will save time overall, which sounds like you already have evidence for.
You want to shift his focus on solving the problem vs. blaming you. After resetting expectations, the best person to step in to resolve the ambiguity becomes more of a tactical matter.