A TechRepublic member who has successfully worked on a project now feels he is being let out of the loop. Read the details and see what you think.
I received an e-mail from a TechRepublic member this week describing a situation that I can't help but think has also happened to one or more of you. Here's the context of the e-mail:
"Over a year ago I was requested to help support a product that was developed by an offshore team but that the local customer complained much about. Having done the initial task successfully, after much struggle with the company's management and the offshore team (which showed evident signs of lack of cooperation in sharing knowledge), I managed to convince the company to transfer the development of the product to my care. From that point I've taken the product to the next level where the company can possibly make a handsome profit out of it.
Recently I've been transferred to report to a new manager. The new manager on one hand shows much appreciation to my achievements in this project, but on the other claims the company wants to elevate this product to another level where the product would be marketable to other customers. In order to achieve this he has demanded me to share my vision as well as technical knowledge to him so he could discuss it with the upper management. In good will, acknowledging the product belongs to the company I have been willing to share a lot of my knowledge. However I have encountered a different side to my manager where I noticed that more than once he didn't want to share openly with me the discussions that took place about this product with the higher levels, even though I've been the person who helped him put together most of the e-mails he sent forth (I did not see the e-mails once they were sent nor was I CC'd on them).
Not only do I feel that the element of trust here is in question, but also the cooperating seems risky to me, possibly jeopardizing my future in the company. I know the offshore team could perform the actual development at much cheaper rate, they're taking my vision, leaving me possibly with no guarantee for a future career in the company or worse out of a job in the long run.
How should I communicate back? Should I be honest and let him know that I don't trust him? Do I really have a point to bargain about at this stage before all the information is handed over?"
It's hard to offer advice on something like this with only knowing one side and perception of the situation. But my first reaction was a cynical one. This new manager knows that the product you've been working on is a hot ticket, and he is trying to insinuate himself into what he knows will be a high-profile success. He's having you compose the e-mails because, even though he doesn't know what the heck is going on, he wants to appear to executives like he does. He may even be taking credit for some of the tasks you completed (a reason he's not showing you the e-mail he actually sends.)
And it also sounds like he's maneuvering to get things turned back over to the cheaper offshore team. If that's the case, he's more than likely been asked to do it by upper management.
I would recommend you go to him and offer to be the liaison between the company and the offshore team just "to be more expedient." If he declines, you'll know he has a personal stake in this and/or that they don't want to risk your impeding the transfer of product knowledge.
I could be wrong. What do you folks think?
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.