Are you screwing up someone else’s project?

There are few things in one’s career that are as important as helping others succeed.

I am not exaggerating.

Helping other people out is how you build relationships, get recognized, and get people talking about you in a positive way. The opposite is true as well. If instead you are getting in their way you will gain a reputation that you probably don’t want.  Yes, they will be talking about you, but the talk will be warning others not to work with you.

One of the biggest ways you can hurt someone is to screw up on one of their projects that you are a team member on. Intentional or not, the result will be the same…

Here are what I consider to be the top three ways to screw up someone’s project;

Ignoring your responsibilities and tasks

Let’s face it – you still have your own job to do, so it can be hard to make time to participate in a project that you don’t own. Be careful. If you sign up for tasks that someone else is relying on, don’t drop the ball.

Adding scope

This includes new functionality, process changes or even requesting that something get fixed that isn’t key to the project’s success. It is easy to sit back and suggest improvements or different ways of doing something but think twice here – it adds work to the project. Sometimes a lot of work that someone else has to complete.

Wanting to get it done your way

This is a big one because it causes so much churn and wastes so much time.  I have seen this literally hundreds of times in my career. Here’s how it typically happens – you begin a new project and meet with the team to discuss the plan.  Immediately several individuals suggest ways of starting the project; their ways and try to convince the group to do it their way.

Well you can’t just do it their way because there are several ideas on the table.  Now the project manager has to stop and decide which way to go. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do as a team member is support the project leader’s decision and go with it. Please. It can be difficult but there are many ways to get something done; many right answers. Don’t slow things down by lobbying that they do it your way.

Here is the deal – work with the project manager or individual responsible and help them succeed.  Don’t worry about getting credit for the work. If you work selflessly and really help that person succeed you will get the credit.  Maybe not right away, but it’s a great way to build relationships, and gain a great reputation.

Keep this quote in mind the next time you are asked to participate in a project.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. “~ Albert Einstein

How you perform and participate on work teams will say a lot about you.

In fact, word will get around the organization about what a great asset you are much faster than just doing a great job in your every day role.

Makes sense, right?

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