46

I have been working on a project for about 4 months.

When it started, it was me alone, but over time, I was "assigned" a few other employees to help with tasks. I was told to delegate stuff to them as much as possible.

In the end, they ended up doing a pretty big part of the job. There is still no doubt that I did more, if only because I've worked on it longer and full-time (they also had other projects), but their contribution was extremely valuable. I wouldgo as far as to say the project would not have met the deadlines if they hadn't been there, and final quality would have been much lower.

When I present it to the higher ups, I plan on adding a slide at the end crediting those people. It would be in the format of "The Team: [list]"

Now the thing is, I am without a doubt a Junior here. All of the other people are older and more experienced than me, some are twice my age. In any other context, they would definitely be considered "more important" than me. But none of them are officially above me in the company hierarchy (None of us are each other's bosses).

So I was wondering. Should my name be first on the list, on the basis that it is my project and I did more work, or should it be last, to better show appreciation for their contribution and to make it more obvious that we wouldn't be where we are without them.

What is usually expected of someone in this situation? Or is it completely irrelevant?

  • 14
    Worth noting: since you were delegating tasks to others, you were effectively acting as a project lead. On the other hand, the credits slide might not be the right place to emphasize that. – employee-X Jul 31 at 21:44
  • 17
    You could also just use the order people joined the project. A (since 09/15) B (since 12/17) C (since 01/18) ... – Richard Aug 1 at 2:22
  • 9
    you are overthinking it. Management knows you are leading the project. – ventsyv Aug 1 at 17:02
  • 8
    @ventsyv, that lasts for about 30 min after the job is complete. It's best to have a written record of this for when it comes to bonuses, pay increases, or promotions. – computercarguy Aug 1 at 17:25
  • You are presenting the thing and you are giving credit to the other members. It would be clear to anyone in the room that doing this, you act as a project-lead/team-lead of the group, especially as you are the one presenting. Don't overthink this. – ereOn Aug 2 at 14:09
195

Alphabetical order

If you and the other members are on the same level (not able to make distinctions between "Team Leader", "Junior Dev", etc)

Everyone will understand that the list is presented in alphabetical order and shouldn't arrive to any conclusion on who did what.

  • 122
    @Neuromancer Because with random order people can't tell it's random or why it's random. They will try to determine or assign some reason for the order, even if that's done subconsiously. Humans are hardwired to see patterns, even if patterns are not there. Alphabetical order is a common pattern, which will be detected and almost everyone will just assume that there's no other basis for the displayed order. – Makyen Jul 31 at 23:47
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    @Makyen that's why randomising lists is better - there is evidence that people higher on the list benefit and why some elections use a random order now. – Neuromancer Aug 1 at 0:32
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    Addition: make a note on the slide that states that it's an alphabetic order. They do the same in the post-credits of movies. Sometimes they write: "In order of appearance." – Little Helper Aug 1 at 7:13
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    @Neuromancer No. That makes sense only when you present the same list to N people. In that case you randomize the order so that the N people receive N different orderings and any bias should cancel out when "aggregating the results". In OP's case they are going to show the same order once to a set of people. In this case choosing a random order will make all the people assume that the order has meaning. Putting alphabetical order might still have a bias but at least most audience members will realize that the order is alphabetical and minimize that bias in their assessment. – Giacomo Alzetta Aug 1 at 9:43
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    The answer by @Mohair offers a nice way to conciliate your views ... a pseudo-random order presented in a way that makes it clear for all that it is pseudo-random indeed. – m.raynal Aug 1 at 12:54
50

It seems polite to simply put the team members into alphabetical order and forget about importance or seniority.

If there are well-defined roles for the project, then group people into those roles and list them alphabetically in them.

37

If you are doing the presentation, and the higher ups don't already know you, then consider putting your name on the title slide.

As for the rest of the team, if they are still around, take a team photo with everyone and insert that on the last slide of the presentation. You can then list their names from left to right, however they happen to arrange themselves.

  • 10
    Agree. If OP did most of the work, why not take most of the credit? – vikingsteve Aug 1 at 11:03
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    Whether you are a junior or not, you need to make sure the management knows this was your project, long term. This comes into play during bonus, raises, promotion, and yearly review times. If you don't document your successes, management will only focus on your failures, since those will likely be more documented. – computercarguy Aug 1 at 17:29
10

There are many different orders that you can consider for names on any kind of report:

  • Order by contribution. Whoever contributed most (preferably using an objective measure) has their name first, and other names are applied in descending order.
  • Alphabetical, typically by surname. Whoever's surname comes first alphabetically comes first in the list and it goes from there.
  • Supervisor last. You would still need to determine an order for everyone else's name, but the leader or supervisor of the project or effort that produces the document or report or presentation goes last regardless of the sort order used for the other names.
  • Negotiation. Work with the team to decide. The team may decide on a predefined sort order (such as one described above or something different) or choose an arbitrary order. However, the team reaches a decision by majority vote or consensus.

You should see if there are any organizational or industry standards. This may help you make a decision if your field tends to favor a particular order for crediting people who work on a given project.

  • For "supervisor last" - this is common in academia (and movies/TV) – Algy Taylor Aug 1 at 9:41
  • +1 Thomas Owens. Don't fear to be too shy or too proud, be informative. Everyone will build in their mind the relative weight of each, which is subjective hence difficult, yet necessary, so best is the author makes it upfront, once for all, with the inevitable inaccuracies reduced as possible. If importance differences insignificant, fall down on next order, Alphabetical. Next are useless IMO: Supervisor last is false modesty, Negotiation is too time consuming. I agree with NOT mentioning Order of appearance, useless in films since obvious, and most often elsewhere as well. – Michel Merlin Aug 1 at 13:11
4

I don't think it really matters - but if you want to keep things clear, specify the order.

For example:

Team Members (in alphabetical order)
Person 1
Person 2
...

Another reasonable ordering that hasn't been mentioned is the date they were assigned to the project. This could be a good one if you want to see your name come first, but in a way that is quite reasonably justified. But regardless of whatever you choose (even random), simply be specific and then people won't need to guess.

3

The film industry has a long history about this. With several stars competing for attention the credits list is a minefield.

Common options there are:

  • Start with the most important/famous star and go by order of importance. This some times means that a star with 3 minutes goes before a main character with 100 minutes. But if that sells... it sells.
  • Order of appearance. And when they do this they always show the words "in appearance order". So that there is no risk of anyone thinking the 1st one is the most important.

Order of appearance might be a bit weird in your project. You can use random order instead. But make sure to start the list with "in random order". It would be a good idea to tell your peers about this before the random order is rolled. And to use a verifiable online randomizer.

2

I agree with most suggestions about alphabetical order being the "standard". If for some obscure reason this didn't work for you (for example, there may be no alphabet in your language), joining date (earlier to latter) could be an acceptable alternative criterion

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    " no alphabet in your language" what languages don't have an alphabet?? – hellyale Aug 1 at 20:10
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    @hellyale there are still some languages that have no writing system at all, but those are mainly indigenous languages of tribal people in remote parts of the world, like Amazonia, Papua-New Guinea, Andaman islands, etc. Many Asian languages use nonalphabetic writing systems. There are probably more than a thousand languages that lack alphabets. However, if your language lacks an alphabet, I have trouble seeing exactly what you would be ordering on the slide... I doubt some languages not having an alphabet is actually relevant here at all. – Grumpy says Reinstate Monica Aug 1 at 20:46
  • @GrumpyCrouton You mean irrelevant languages like Chinese or Japanese? – David Aug 1 at 21:08
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    @David Languages without an alphabet like chinese still have something akin to alphabetical order – Delioth Aug 1 at 21:55
  • @hellyale Most languaes whose characters don't represent neither sounds nor syllables don't have an alphabet in which you can establish an order – David Aug 2 at 7:16
1

As you said you are making a presentation slide, you don't have to stick to a text and look for a specific linear order. Put the peoples' photos around the slide, in a seemingly random layout.

PS: but I mostly agree it does not matter much. Alphabetical order is good enough.

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