I'm looking for some guidance on how to handle it when my boss's boss regularly skips over my boss and works directly with me.

I am an individual contributor in a "tech lead" role, which means I have responsibility for the technical aspects of the product we make, but I have no project or people management responsibilities.

I have both a manager and a project manager who both report to the same man, our VP.  Neither manager gives me much day-to-day direction; I largely provide technical guidance to other developers (on several different teams) and help shape the direction of our product, and am considered a resource for the product team rather than a direct member.

Our VP regularly gives me direction and asks me to work on things, and asks me to give him status updates directly.  He and I have a good, longstanding relationship, and in the past I have reported directly to him as both an individual contributor and a manager.  I am happy to do the work and it does fit with my role, even more than direct project work does.

Both my manager and project manager are happy with me.  I get great reviews, raises, and frequent positive feedback.  My project manager does get frustrated (but not at me) that I am "pulled into other things".  My manager doesn't care too much what I do on a daily basis as he has his own project teams to run.

Having been a manager and project manager in this organization before, I may be hypersensitive to this, since it always surprised and irritated me when the VP asked my directs to work on things without my knowledge.

Any guidance on how I should handle these situations?  How do I appropriately keep my manager in the loop?  What about the project manager?


jib88's picture

 You do what the VP asks, of course. He's going to get his way regardless as long as there isnt some other top priorty you are working on that he is unaware of.

The bigger issue is making sure your boss and or PM feel kept in the loop. They may worry a bit when they see you talking with the VP. I've reacted similarly in the same position,  and even though I consciously know it's silly for me to feel that way I still have a reaction of trepidation. 

Just make sure you reach out to one or both of them right after you meet with the VP letting them know what the discussion was about. Then copy one or both of them on status updates via email so they know what else you are working on.