I have a colleague who has recently been choosing to do work that is not deadline driven neither is it of high priority. There is other work that will probably get us more attention and visibility to our seniors and they choose to do that work.

Whereas they know very well that as a team we have tasks on our plate that have hard deadlines as opposed to the task they are doing that is still 1 week away.

My colleague is the same designation / role as me in the team and ideally it would be great if we could sync up between ourselves to complete deadline driven chunks of work before looking at other work. But my colleague was caught today in their own words and I realized that they is not intending to help me but rather do work that will get them more visibility in the company. If I had the time too, I'd also like to plunge into the other better work.

How do I deal with this person? I have already told her that if there is time, they should first pick up the higher priority work first and then we both can dive into the other work together.

  • 6
    You get to just choose what to work on, do you have a supervisor? Who will hold you accountable if the high-priority work isn't done, can you also choose to not do it? This is why any team needs a designated leader with actual authority.
    – JoeT
    Aug 26, 2014 at 3:27
  • Yes, we do. But this is happening without her noticing it. and i am not liking it - doing all the hard work and someone else coming in and getting the opportunity to get the limelight
    – nysa
    Aug 26, 2014 at 3:30
  • I've edited your post to improve some of the grammar, and remove the gendered pronouns. The gender of your colleague has no bearing on how to deal with them in this situation.
    – user9158
    Aug 26, 2014 at 5:40
  • the way it was changed - the post ended up having more grammatical issues. so i rolled back. As gender doesnt matter, the responders will know what to comment. Thanks
    – nysa
    Aug 26, 2014 at 5:44
  • 2
    Maybe your prioritization of tasks should be based on what management thinks is more important. Maybe you are putting too much emphasis on technical instead of business needs?
    – user8365
    Aug 26, 2014 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


You are not this persons boss, and while its uncomfortable, is sounds like you don't have the authority to assign them work.

Are you certain that your manager hasn't asked them to do this work? If you go around reassigning other staff without authority it can get you in trouble.

Have you spoken with your manager? If not, you should raise it with them and tell them how your colleague is impacting other deadlines. But if you manager is unable or unwilling to reassign your colleague there is very little you can do.

As for what you can do, you speak with your manager about the deadlines, and continue doing the work you have been assigned without worrying about the other staff member.

  • We work in Scrum.We work as a team where the team must pick up whats higher priority and our team has frequently advised each other on whats the next priority and has worked accordingly, as a lot of times we are not aware of pending work. my issue is - my colleague knows about the pending work, and still decides to ignore it.
    – nysa
    Aug 26, 2014 at 5:30
  • 3
    Regardless of your employers methodology, someone is signing your and your colleagues pay cheques - they are responsible for your work, not your team. Speak with your manager and advise them of the situation.
    – user9158
    Aug 26, 2014 at 5:39
  • I agree, if you bring up your concerns, your manager may be receptive and may not. if not, you can make the best of it, maybe they will appreciate that you are doing the high priority stuff whereas the new project may be a boondoggle to avoid; point being you never know when a negative may turn positive, try to keep a good outlook and do a good job in the meanwhile :)
    – JoeT
    Aug 26, 2014 at 5:53
  • 5
    If you work in Scrum, this is exactly what the Scrum Master is there for. Have you talked to him? Aug 26, 2014 at 7:02
  • 1
    This is why self_assigning work is a poor uidea even if it is a SCRUM thing. Ther are always people who don't do their share or who pick up work that they should not be doing. Under the self-assigned scheme therte is no way to mitigate this effectively.
    – HLGEM
    Aug 26, 2014 at 13:12

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