We are both solution architects and fairly new at a company. This project is not related to our direct work but an initiative that involves the wider department. My colleague invited me to co-lead an internal side project, the idea in essence is great.


Our approach is very different; they want to be more agile and iterative, whilst I want to plan ahead. We also disagree on who can participate; where I am more flexible/ collaborative whilst they aren't. You get the gist...

I have communicated and articulated my concerns and suggested how we could find a middle ground (even get informal advise from our peers on how they can get the most value from the project). On a separate note, I don't envision the project would go well in the longer run and don't want to be associated with it as a lead, with the current approach.


What is the best course of action to take and not let my biases get in the way?

At this point, I intend to suggest (one last time) doing a pilot with their approach. If there is a lot of resistance from my colleague to even that, then step down as a "lead" as this would take a lot of my time and energy in the long term.

Is this unprofessional?

  • This started as an idea off a conversation at the time. In hindsight, perhaps something I could have clarified in advance... – user118796 Mar 24 at 16:04
  • Identifying that you have bias is good. Why don't you want to take an agile and iterative approach? Is there something about the project that doesn't lend itself well to that or are you fundamentally just against that way of working? – tddmonkey Mar 24 at 16:28
  • I live in Europe. I have a friend in the US. I wanted him to fly here. He wanted me to fly there. Eventually, we met each other halfway and then we drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. Moral of the story: halfway compromises aren't always as feasible as the two ends they tried to be between. Waterfally agile takes a lot of effort to make work, with no payoff other than you two getting to both feel happy about co-leading, making it highly inefficient from a professional perspective. – Flater Mar 24 at 16:31
  • @tddmonkey this project is around organising events where we need to get wider colleagues on board. Based on the questions being asked already, I felt we needed to take a step back and plan a bit more in advance. The impression I got was we were coming across disorganised and not as open to other suggestions. – user118796 Mar 24 at 16:33
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    @fancybear101: I know you already indicated wanting to step down in your question, but just to be clear: I wasn't suggesting you step down, but rather pointing out that there are topics where it's better to yield to each other (doesn't have to be always the same direction) instead of trying to find a middle ground each time. – Flater Mar 24 at 16:37

Co-leading as a fundamental flaw that the decision process can be blocked if both parties stand to their positions.

Given that your colleague was first on the project and that your way of doing things is opposite to it I would suggest to gracefully refuse the co-lead position but still be opened to review decisions.

What would be unprofessional would be either refusing all-together to work with your colleague or to accept the position be stay in conflict and put in danger the project.

Go to your colleague, thank him again for the proposition, but state that you think your views on the project are too different for a co-leading to work. However propose to still be available to criticize its choice if they want a second opinion and that you will be glad to provide it in good faith.

  • An excellent suggestion ... compromise is in order here, otherwise don't try to "co-"lead. – Mike Robinson Mar 24 at 15:57
  • Thanks, I like your approach. Support the project without blocking the decision process. – user118796 Mar 24 at 16:07

IMHO, given your long term concern etc, it is a perfect time to opt out of the project

You can give the same reason to the other lead as you stated here, that you don`t see eye-to-eye on anything and he was there first :)

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