The IT department doomed by a disdainful boss

As an inept boss robs employees of their input and their credit, the product they're charged with struggles toward completion

I work for a manager, "Bob," who thinks he knows it all and works the system to his advantage. He hires friends for top positions and fosters a group of managers loyal to him by, in turn, being loyal to them. He tells the execs exactly what they want to hear -- even at the expense of his direct reports or the product delivered. As you may have surmised, he also has little regard for the workers who take care of the essential details.

Bob selected a vendor to use for a new product that provides services to our customers. The vendor was to implement the product, then deliver training and ongoing support. He also selected a support level and signed the contract. A group was put together to oversee the project after implementation, which included myself, Bob, a project manager who was on the same management level as he, and others.

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I very quickly discovered that the contract was badly written, the work from the vendor sloppy, and the support level not adequate for what the company needed. I went through the contract and support agreement, making notes about the reality versus what was on paper, and gave it to Bob and the project manager.

To my surprise, considering the managers at that level all portray the "I know better than you" attitude, the project manager agreed with me. But he refused to make any changes because "this is what was chosen." Bob told me that no alterations would be made and it wasn't his problem, though he'd selected the contract and support level in the first place. The issue was for me and the others in the group to deal with.

I kept plodding through and sent regular reports to Bob, as requested. One day, to my surprise, I was Cc'd on an email from Bob's boss about the project. Opening the email, I recognized my report but without my name attached: Bob had forwarded my summary to the execs but stripped out any hint that I had written it and instead passed it off as his own. The exec Cc'd the group in his reply, praising Bob's notice and the project's progress.

Bob sometimes got the idea that we needed X, Y, or Z from the vendor, which at times were reasonable requests. But far more often, the request wasn't supported in the system and not part of the contract with the vendor. When I told him this and showed him the documentation, he claimed I don't know what I was talking about and to get it anyway. I went to the vendor, got the expected response from them, and reported back to Bob. Then, of course, I was blamed that it couldn't be done.

This wasn't an isolated incident. Any time one of us in the trenches voiced concerns about the project or offered suggestions, we were shut down by executives or other managers who chose not to listen, though the product was subpar. We fixed what we could, but it's time taken away from our other duties and what we've paid the vendor to do.

The project is still floundering, and it's only a matter of time before it greatly impacts the bottom line. I keep my eyes open for better opportunities, and I make it through the days by seeing the situation as a learning opportunity about what not to do should I become a manager in the future.

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