I hope this isn't too big a deal, but it's weighing heavily on my mind.
I work in a medium sized company, about 300 people in one office. Recently, a colleague (let's call her Alison) who I had never met before came to my desk to ask me how my work on Project Z was coming along. While I had heard of Project Z, I had no involvement in it, and nobody had ever asked me to do anything for it. I told Alison as much, and she referred me to an email that listed out action points for Project Z, among which were that Brian (and me) were to take over a very vaguely defined Task Z-1.
Brian is the assistant manager on my team (though not part of my direct reporting line). Also included in this email were Chloe, the manager of my team and my direct boss, and Devon, who is not my manager but assigns me the majority of my work. I was not included in this email, nor any of the meetings or chat-room discussions that preceded it, which had been taking place for some weeks before I heard anything about it.
I asked Brian what work was expected of us, and he seemed unhurried by the whole thing, but did include me in an invitation for a meeting taking place that same afternoon. In the meeting, I discovered that my team had agreed to take over a large aspect of project Z, and because of the nature of the work I was the obvious (and only) candidate to do the work. Further, the senior management present in this meeting were expecting an update on my progress. I was forced to admit that I knew nothing about the project and had no progress to report.
I don't mind taking on the work, and I appreciate the chance to get involved in more areas of the company. However, I'm quite upset that none of Brian, Chloe, and Devon (all of whom I get on well with, and think I have proven myself to with good work) thought to tell me that I had been a assigned a fairly large task, and I had to find this out while being made to look a fool in front of strangers.
Also, because I've already missed a deadline on this task, I need to prioritise it above all other work, meaning other tasks and projects I am on will suffer or be delayed.
I want to raise this communication failure as an issue with somebody, but I don't know if I should talk to Brian (to whom this issue was directly assigned, with the expectation he would delegate it to me), or Chloe (my manager and Brian's manager).
Is this something that's reasonable to be upset about? Is there some way I could have avoided the situation altogether? Should I have a private chat with Brian about it, or should I raise it directly to Chloe?
I need to prioritise it above all other work, meaning other tasks and projects I am on will suffer or be delayed.Don't do that unless directed by the people who assign your work. Otherwise you'll end up in a place where, instead of n projects that are progressing properly and 1 that's behind, you'll have n+1 projects that are all behind schedule. You probably don't want to be the one at fault for turning someone else's mistake into your own.