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Communicating Up

By nycprojectmnger ·
I am a Senior Project Manager at a www company. I am currently managing 12 projects (6 active, 6 ramping up) and 14 people. While my team respects and is motivated by me, I have a hard time getting upper management to listen to me. For example, whenever I document risks or talk about issues on my team & suggest solutions I get blown off. I am starting to think this is because I am a woman and I don't sound "commanding" enough. Advice on how to get what my team needs more effectively would be appreciated. I have spoken to my boss about my frustrations and I even threatened to light my hair on fire and bang on the table. However, I still don't get the things my team needs to make our projects successful. We are successful despite what we don?t have ? that is because my team works hard for me ? but for example, not having a Senior Developer on my team the projects and having a team all associate developers and new developers makes our learning curve very steep and it takes us longer to do tasks than it would if we had a Senior experienced developer on our team. I am told ?there is no Senior Developer available? which is B.S ? ?they? just don?t want to break up another team of ALL Senior Developers so my team suffers. It doesn?t make sense to me. Sorry for the rant but I am really bothered by this.

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well for the

by Jaqui In reply to Communicating Up

shock value you clould always buy a huge strapon and walk in wearing it, then say:
is my **** beig enough for you to listen now?

I've seen tihs type of non response from male groups to female co-workers. the means and methods to get them to change thier attitudes really depend on the individuals involved.
( my crazed comment at the beginning being an exception, it smacks them in the face with knowledge that they have been sexually discriminating against you )

if it were me, I would go for a shocker to break thier condencending attitude. it's the fastest means. there would more than likely be negative consequences to it though.

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Point Across

by tagmarkman In reply to Communicating Up

I will be blunt. Yes.. Part of the reason you are having the issue is that you are a woman. But that is secondary to technical competenace and communicating in terms upper management understands.

Chance of you changing your sex is probably fairly low so lets concentrate on the other two methods.

Senior developers often have a real hard time doing anything for a project manager that does not have a strong technical background. They need proof to trust you or more will not endanger themselves by getting on a project that could hurt their career (I don't know your background so I'm just throwing an issue out there). If you befriend a senior developer and have the power to give that person a good position and power, then you might have an advocate willing to request a transfer.

Language... Upper Management usually cares very little about the technical issues. You've already demonstrated that you can accomplish the task with your current staff. You need to break what you say down in dollars, measureable metrics, and company benefit. Make requests for an education budgets and so forth, often you might be able to get money to improve your current staff than it is to aquire resources from another project manager.

Also, when you make a request, give them at least two options to choose from otherwise they will be in an all or nothing situation and they will often choose the nothing.

Early in my career I had a very hard time convincing management or upper management of anything (not matter how spectacular). It wasn't until I kept proving myself and started to talk in "their" lingo was I able to move ahead. You main job is to make your immediate superior look very good. If you can consistantly do that, you will almost always get the resources you need if they are avaliable.

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The Real Problem

by FirstPeter In reply to Communicating Up

Okay, I don't know that it's the REAL problem, but that title sounded good.

Gender aside part of the problem is "We are successful despite what we don?t have". If management sees success they may very well assume that all is well and that additional requirements are for "kingdom building" or "gravy" and not necessary for the continued production of the team.

I'm not sure what the solution is to that. Failure is obviously not an option because it reflects on you and your team in a negative way and doesn't get the point across effectively. Have you ever said "no" to a request from upper management? I've been in positions where I've had to push back and say

"You want me to do y and z and I have the resources to do one - you tell me which one you want done. If you want both I will need additional resources added or re-assigned to my team in the next three to four weeks."

Management in that case told me "just worry about z first and get to y if we can". That might work for you.

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