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Manage Expectation of your stakeholders (Internal and External)

Gaurav Anand

Senior Growth Product Manager at Udemy

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Problem

I was a manager in my department dealing with teams who were coding. Another department decided to give me a new responsibility without mentioning it to me. One day when I was working I got an email with some information on it from a senior VP of the company, which I read and passed over. After that email, I started getting several other emails with more information which caused alarm because I wasn't sure why I was getting these emails. I went to my boss questioning why I got all this information, to which he told me he was hoping I could take this on as well in addition to what I was doing already. It is not in our company culture to say no, so I agreed. I first had to do some research to understand the scope of the work and what was involved. While I was analyzing the work that needed to be done, it became apparent that the project was too big and was very vague, it was not clear what was needed without any customer feedback or problems.

Actions taken

I had to go to my boss to explain that this was not something I could take on because it was not clear and I needed to do more research and work on it. I explained that if I took on this work I would have to let go of other work that I was already doing. I also personally reached out to the manager in the other department that assigned the project to me to let them know I couldn't take it on. It didn't go down that well at first, but if I would have waited longer it would have been worse because the company was expecting it to be done quickly and it wasn't going to happen.

Lessons learned

If somebody who is in a senior position at your organization sends you emails or information that you believe is not aligned with your normal scope of work, don't ignore the email. Be focused and understand the context of the email or work assigned. If you don't understand the context, you spend time and effort to understand the context behind it and then take appropriate action. Find out how it will impact the company if you take the job on, because you can't work endlessly.


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Gaurav Anand

Senior Growth Product Manager at Udemy


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