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How to say no to a project to manager?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

Data engineer here. Manager is the leading a project which is severely mismanaged and he just demands results. He doesn't plan at all. There is no proper project planning and it is XFN project. If I do project management tasks it saps my energy due to numerous meetings in order to do that. Project has been going on for 8 months. Everyone working knows it is not going anywhere. Just that manager wants us to keep working on it. Even our org doesn't recognize it as a critical project. Problem is continuing to work on it takes time away from other interesting work which has more impact.

What do you suggest? How do you suggest I approach this?



(1 comment)
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a year ago

    First, I highly recommend the following thread: "My manager and I don't see eye-to-eye. How can I improve this relationship?"

    From your question, your manager seems to be doing a really bad job with all this. This may very well be true, but you want to exhaust all possible options before 100% settling down on this conclusion. Assume good intent and try the following:

    1. Ask your manager what they perceive the impact of the project to be. What org goals does it help with?
    2. Talk to your teammates and see how they feel about the project. Maybe there's some value to this project that they see which you missed.
    3. Retrospect on why this project has dragged on for 8 months without results. Is it due to a lack of resources and alignment, both of which are fixable? Or was it inherently doomed from the beginning as it's fundamentally a bad project?

    If you do all this, and you objectively believe this project is this bad, make your case and share your feedback. If you have a decent relationship with your manager, tell them. Talk to your tech lead as well. If your immediate peers can't fix this, escalate to your skip. Remember, make your case - You might want to create a doc for this gathering all your thoughts. Document why the last 8 months have been so bumpy, the lack of impact of this project, and the meatier impact other projects on the docket have. If you have actual metrics (e.g. "This failing project only contributes 1% to the KPI while we have 5+ on the backlog that will contribute 5%"), then your case should be crystal clear.

    Lastly, I recommend this video about voicing your problems and frustrations proactively.

    Best of luck!