My manager isn't as specialized in the field as I am

Hi everyone,

I’ve been unemployed for a year and now I finally, thank goodness, have steady employment. So I don’t want to sound ungrateful when I pose my question. I’m working for a non-profit that clearly needs my help in the web development area. However the current person in charge of that area, my manager, is clearly not as specialized in this field as I am.

I want to gently nudge her and move things in a productive direction but I’m not sure how to best approach that. What do i mean by that? This organization maintains 15+ small sites using WYSIWYG, HTML pages made in Dreamweaver often with turns arounds of about two days. They plan on developing a new, larger site but have no idea how to do it. I hope to change that even if it’s not entirely my job to do so.

I’m curious if anyone’s ever been in this professional situation where they don’t want to step on others’ toes but want to move the ball forward anyhow. I basically don’t want to come right out and tell my manager she’s doing it wrong.

Phrase your statements as suggestions and don’t be afraid to back off if they feel threatened.

Statements like:

“You know, I worked on a similar project in the past and what really worked for us was to do X”

“Have you considered doing X? I feel that it might be a really good fit for this organization”


Make your manager look good and you’ll be loved, make them look bad and you’re toast.

[FONT=“Georgia”]Well, it sounds to me like you can already offer a very valid input, which is to move to a CMS.

If you corner her one-on-one (so there’re no distractions, like ringing phones or frantic staff), explain your solutions to her and I’m sure they’ll be very well received. That could well be a god-send to them, if they’re used to killing themselves over updates every two days.

Go in with everything thought through as well; An idea of the time needed, what environment you’ll need to work on it, (if you can swing it) maybe an example of it in action (in case there are higher persons she’ll need to sell the idea to).

Bottom line is, don’t go in thinking of her as an enemy.

Go in talking as a partner with a like goal.

You’ll get though.


This is all good advice. I’m sometimes tactless when talking to people so I have to try extra hard to not sound impolite. Thanks.

No~~~ please don’t do that!!! I’d survey your team member’s skill and see if they could handle CMS solutions. Most likely they can but some may refuse the idea because that’s their butter and crumb for their paycheck. For example, they love how easy it is to customize the look and feel w/ Dream Weaver vs creating new theme or plugin for the CMS. Chances are it’ll be higher learning curve for CMS. If I were you, I gently suggest to your boss by saying

“We can go w/ Dream Weaver but it can also work w/ CMS as well. Mind if I try CMS and see if it’ll work?”

Basically… don’t crush their baby!

Yeah, I understand. It seems they’re all prepared for “crushing” though so I suppose I’m good. I just wasn’t sure in the beginning. Everyone’s on board to abandon the old system.