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Human Issue

#1 Human Issue
29/05/2012 09:09


Dear all

I'm helping a senior who is the project lead to perform the business analysis for a manufacturing company.

I have based on his assigned tasks to gather information from the customers. if there is anything unclear I will check with him on the details scope. I found he is trying to find difficulty on me as he :

1. He scraped the flow diagram I have drew and replaced with his own one. Though, I have already gotten his review on the draft before finalizing the diagram on the B5 paper. Actually, I have spent a lot of effort to complete the diagram to meet his timeline.One of the customers asked me why the previous diagram which she felt much better than the current one was replaced.

2. I have discussed with him on the scope of information I need to collect from the customer. Two days later, he said I was not working as a team as I shouldn’t collect certain information which other team members were collecting.

3. He complained to the boss I’m always not in the working station. Actually most of the time we are not in the working station as we need to interview customers to collect information for business analysis.

Any one can let me know why this team lead like to find difficulty on me?

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#2 RE: Human Issue
29/05/2012 17:32

Arby the Manager to tammy (#1)

Hi Tammy

There are probably going to be quite some responses to this - most will be along the lines of "sit down, talk to him and align on what your priorities are. Discuss and make a plan etc etc". All good advice - but a bit wishy-washy, so I'm going to be a bit more pragmatic.

You don't mention what level you are - but you sound potentially quite junior in the firm. The project has probably been under-sold and the scope is no doubt proving difficult to define. Even the best projects go awry in the middle and it's not uncommon for team leads (who are usually relatively inexperienced project managers) to look to any possible issue to help justify the delay - or even to simply relieve their stress. It's not professional and in my experience only the weaker managers do this. The fact he's also complaining to his boss means his own level seems to be quite junior (else he would probably manager you internally).

I guess my first advice would be to understand that some projects you will have ass-hole bosses / team leads (I have had more than one) and others you'll have good ones. Don't take too much of it personally.

For each of the points below:

1) He probably just thinks his is better - in this case just accept it as his judgement - and then his mistake :)

2) This sounds bizarre - there must be more to it. If you collect information he tells you to collect, he cannot really complain that you are not working as a team. Use some nouse and check what exactly he's referring to. Can you do some "team meetings" with the others to re-check intermittently what you are supposed to be doing?

3) This sounds like a planning issue. Most likely you didn't tell him you'd be out of the working station - and managers / team leads typically get nervous when they don't see their team - as they equate this to work not getting done (it's not always the case, but you'd be surpised how often I see an off-shore team buggger off for tea and cakes and I have to drag them back to their seats kicking and screaming)

So - probably in summary - accept he may be an ass-hole, accept he may be inexperienced, accept not every project will be like this, but also look as to why he's acting like this. Try to reassure him you are there, you're doing to the work - probably he just needs this to be more comfortable.

Assurance = Autonomy


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#3 RE: Human Issue
30/05/2012 04:00

tammy to Arby the Manager (#2)

Thanks for your reply.

For point no (3), actually we were working in a building where there was no any nearby shopping mall or coffee house. There is just one coffee house in the center of the building entrance. He could easily find any of his team members if he was suspecting we were taking tea break. Whenever I finished meeting with customers, I would go back to our work station.

I always take initiative to update him the progress of my task status and hand over whatever tasks have been completed to him. Hence he was always been reassured. I even offer my help to my team members but I found he has tried to find some reasons to stop me from extend my help to other team members. I noticed he was trying to minimize my involvement in the project. Other team members were complaining he was keeps changing scope, I guessed he even didn’t sure what he actually wanted that why the scope was keep changing. There was a time he broken out his tempers and shouted at us.

Actually I’m not junior as I have many years of experience in IT project management and I was asked to help him as he has not enough resources in his consulting division. I ‘m fine to join as a team member as I’m quite interested in business consulting as well.

I’m wondering how to handle this kind of superior if I still need to work with him. How to help him if he is minimizing my involvement.

if he is keep complaining me for invalid thing, no point to work with him. Life is short.

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#4 RE: Human Issue
30/05/2012 12:00

Arby the Manager to tammy (#3)

Potentially then he may feel threatened by your years of project management experience. Additionally, if the guy is shouting, he's an ass-hole and has no place in a civilised workplace. From my personal perspective - if performance management and your position in the firm is not an issue - have a very frank discussion with him about your perception of his management style. If there is no compromise, then get out of the project and get out of his team.

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#5 RE: Human Issue
04/06/2012 06:30

tammy to Arby the Manager (#4)

Agreed, he is an ass hole.

As he is the one bringing in the business and seem like I have no choice may need to work with him again.

Sometimes I just don’t understand why customers still like to give him business though it’s very obvious his talking and presentation are not convincing and sometimes it is quite baseless.

Business development is purely based on relationship?

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#6 RE: Human Issue
04/06/2012 12:35

The advisor to tammy (#1)

Dear Tammy,

Working in a group can be difficult at times, especially within the framework of a team. There are always going to be those difficult people that are always going to try to work individually (and who always think that their ideas are the best). You should consult with him about why he has been doing so, and why he has made all of the changes. You, if you can, should talk to your boss' boss about such problems; however, I would advise against this since he is not your direct advisor.

There are some neat articles on that will hopefully help you through some trying situations. I know I've used this website to help others with, and I have used it within my own framework. It's a great website to use as a tool for individuals that are having problems within their office space, etc.


The Advisor.

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#7 RE: Human Issue
05/06/2012 07:22

tammy to The advisor (#6)

I have tried to communicate with him on his frequent changes but he has said we never listen to him. One of my team member said he was our boss and has to follow his frequent changes. I have communicated this to the boss’ boss and boss’ boss said he has complained about me as well.

After he has scraped my flow diagram, the next day he told us he has worked overnight at client’s office to come out with a new one. He shared with us that he always works overnight in the customer office just to show his hard working to the client. He told us he has more than 15 years of consulting experience and had been travelling more than 20 countries on the consulting assignments. All the clients are the same want to see this kind of “show hard working” from consultant. I never been in consulting line, does this truth? I thought should look at the end result instead of showing hard working.

One of the scope of work is to review client’s IT area and I found he didn’t want me to involve as there was one time one of my peer said she would be on leave next day and so happen he has already made meeting appointment with the CIO. I have volunteered myself and he just denied and insisted my peer to attend the meeting. I have told boss’ boss about this as well and boss’ boss said client just paid one person’s effort. Boss’ boss requested me to come out from this stage of project and wait for next stage.

I just wonder, why I was asked to join this project from the day 1?

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