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In my current department, it seems as though every role is openly stepping on each others toes. This is leading to friction, when you have the same people trying to do the same task.

We have defined roles and responsibilities but they are not respected.

I have brought this up with my manager on several occasions but their attitude is, ‘people should be encouraged to perform different roles to gain experience doing something different’

I’ve considered leaving the department but waiting for an opportunity to come along. Anything I can do?

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    What do you want to achieve in the end? How are those conflicts affecting you? Heck, what's your role in all this?:P
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 10:01
  • so to give an example, I’m supposed to be project managing but often I have several people trying to drive it at the same time leading to conflict when there are conflicting approaches.
    – bobo2000
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 10:40
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    @bobo2000 - can you elaborate a little more here as to some scenarios that are causing issues? Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 17:07

2 Answers 2

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This is really something that's going to need to be solved by your manager, and it sounds like they don't see it as a problem. And from what you've posted, it's unclear the extend to which it is a problem.

When you speak to your manager, it needs to be factual and make it clear what the cost of this friction is. "We missed the deadline for this project because of $foo", or "I wasted two days on this feature that wasn't needed because $bar", or "This didn't get done because $baz". And ideally these complaints should be getting made by multiple people - because that makes it clear that it's a team-wide issue rather than just an issue with you.

If their projects are failing because of this lack of structure then that's a much stronger incentive for them to do something about it than if it's just one person moaning.

But ultimately if they're happy with those costs and you can't work out a more harmonious way to work with the rest of the team then you need to decide whether you're happy to put up with it (keeping plenty of details to cover your arse when things go wrong), or find another team/job.

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The usual solution is to use a task management/ticketing system, so everyone knows who (if anyone) is currently working on a particular issue and can either offer to collaborate, offer to take it over, or simply pick something else to work on. This also gives FAR better insight into overall progress, and provides a place to put ideas that want to be looked at in the future but that you can't address right now.

There are many popular (and some less popular) tools in this space. Currently I'm using both Jira and the one built into Github; the latter is somewhat better at linking code changes to the specific task they address, if you're already managing your code in Git, but both work. I've used others in the past, they work too.

This really is a fixable problem, if folks can be convinced to agree that it is a problem (or if management tells them that it is a problem and instructs them to adopt a tool to fix it.)

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    A ticketing system has many other benefits too, of course, such as being able to track and see at a glance the status of all issues, keeping a record of what was decided and done, etc.
    – gidds
    Commented Dec 30, 2023 at 11:52

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