The Unnoticed Team Member

This story was shared by an old friend. We grew up together and went to the same school. To cut it short i ended up in marketing and my friend in project management. I did some project management too in the past so i can roughly understand his story. Its about “the unnoticed team member”. The take away is about how he get “noticed” in one of his projects; an IT system development. His name is Joe.

Joe was recruited into M Project to assist business process issue, user management and project mamagement. He was first stationed at the IT department and later was requested by the project head to be based at the user side. Its just workspace transfer he thought. While he was in between workspace he had been introduced to the system developer vendor. Joe attended some project meetings too but no one pays attention to him because he was new then.

The M Project kicked-off then Joe was getting all his works done accordingly. He works with the vendor daily and report his progress weekly. That goes on for a number of months. Everything was well except that he feels the vendor don’t really pays attention to Joe’s role in the project.

Joe kept silent but told the vendor directly and indirectly about his role. They got to pay attention but they didn’t. He was firm but not never rude. Still the vendor ignores him and only entertain the “hands that feed them”. The additional issue now is the project is experiencing some delays.

Joe went up to the IT department to seek clarification and direction. Because Joe is from the user side he keeps it quiet about the delay from the project head. He feels it is still containable even after numerous failed testing sessions. He kept it until he found out the IT department “did not bother” by the delay and called Joe as troublemaker. But then after assessing the situation the IT department reposition Joe as an important team member.

Unfortunately, Joe didn’t reevaluate his position and went straight preparing project update report. He later updated his project head and the issues surfaced. The vendor still thought Joe was playing good cop and bad cop. The vendor failed to assess the gravity of the problem and now the project has gone up to steering committee for reevaluation. It is likely tbe vendor will be terminated and 4 years of work wasted.

Joe went unnoticed by the vendor and they didn’t realize how he wielded the power that many thought doesn’t possess. Joe was the unnoticed team member. However the damaged fone was more than noticeable.

What can we learn here?

a) Every one is damn important
In any project, there is a role for everyone. If this person keeps attending and always around, get to know him and where is he in the overall powerplay.

b) Engage the quiet one
Silent is golden. When someone in the project is keeping quiet it doesn’t mean he is dumb or agree with everything you say. He is keeping something you don’t know.

c) Communication is difficult
You may say communication is difficult everywhere but very little efforts are being put in real life and real work. Often times both parties assuming the other will pick it up but in the end no one.

d) Do your homework
Failing to prepare the vendor was unable to defend itself with solid information during the steering committee meeting. On the other hand Joe was fully prepared.

e) Integrity is king
It is “trendy” now to have higher ethics while working. People don’t want to jeopardize their career to hide any wrongdoings. Best to confront the involving parties and settle it fast.

Well, i decided to keep the lessons to five only for now. There are a lot more if we seek but the main point that i would like to highlight is that we shouldn’t let anyone go unnoticed because it is a sign of disrespect. Let’s start respecting people whether or not they are important because these people can suddenly become very important; one day.

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