I have a situation where, in spite of not being the project lead, I've been expected to do most of the project work, but without the necessary support and timely input from colleagues.

Much of the work is of a technical nature, providing specifications and detailed information on our systems, but I've been brushed off, priority around tasks on the project is constantly pushed out for other work and responses have taken ages to come through. Emails often go unanswered for weeks despite repeated follow-ups.

As a result, the project has dragged on well beyond the expected completion date.

I feel that project ownership is being retroactively assigned to me because no one wants to take responsibility for the information provided and that there is someone to blame for the delay. What can I do to address this? Is there a effective way that, without just trying to pass the buck, I can tackle this ambiguity around the roles and responsibility in the project and deal with this lack of urgency?

  • 4
    Who is the project lead? Have you reported to him the delays as the project went on?
    – mmmmmm
    Aug 7, 2018 at 16:48
  • 3
    Has someone blamed you for this delay or do you just feel that way?
    – D-Raz
    Aug 7, 2018 at 18:21
  • 1
    Are you actually responsible for project management or did you just pick up a lot of that work? Can you schedule meetings with these individuals instead of using emails? Are you tracking project features through some of ticketing system e.g. JIRA?
    – jcmack
    Aug 7, 2018 at 18:23

2 Answers 2


Speak to your manager and explain the situation.

You've been left with a huge amount of work with no clear direction or goal, and not much in the way of accountability.

Your manager needs to know how much of your time is being sucked up in this, and as a consequence how much time/money is being wasted on wild goose chases.

Raise this as a concern with your manager and ask how you should proceed.

Personally, I'd recommend shelving the project until it can be rebooted with some decent leadership and management. From what you're saying, it seems as though no one is invested enough to see it succeed (and therefore, what practical use has this project got?)


One way to avoid this in the future is by documenting your actions in a timestamped manner. You should start doing this after being brushed off for the second or third time.

You can use email or a ticketing system or whatever works for your organization. If you don't have a ticketing system but can create one, do so. Chat logs work but are not preferred because it's hard to itemize or print them.

No request should go undocumented. This way you track the progress (or non-progress) of everything with built-in finger-pointing, if it ever becomes necessary. It's not clear from your question that you're blamed for the delays or if this is your take on things, but it's a good idea either way.

For pending requests I would write an email starting like this

Hello X,

Following our discussion a few days ago I need A,B,C from your team. Could you please let me know when that could happen?

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