I work in a small company (10-20 people) with little to no hierarchy. On my current project I'm working with a person whose job it is to distribute the tasks among us, and they make mistakes on a daily basis.

  1. I get a task that has not yet been completed by previous departments so I can't start it.
  2. I get assigned to do procedure A for a task that requires procedure B.
  3. Tasks will be assigned twice to different people and therefore being done twice.

In all these cases I report back to get the answer "Oh well, it happens sometimes" paired up with praise for my "keen eye". Note that the person is much older than me with a lot of experience and I've just gotten beyond the "starting out" stage.

When I asked them if they could please check if a previous department has completed the task before assigning it (Case A) they responded "Oh I can't track all of this" to which I thought isn't exactly that your job? Also no one I worked with before in the same conditions had an issue with tracking. Another answer was "I give you a lot of tasks at once so I anticipated the previous dept would be done by the time you get to it" and then praising me for being a fast/efficient worker. Overall they never see it as an issue when I have to return tasks.

The only person above them is CEO who cares more about not spending money than improving situations, so I think escalating wouldn't help and only damage reputation.

As far as I can see I'll just have to live with it, but maybe you have an idea how this could be improved?

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    Do you have a manager? – Lilienthal Sep 7 '17 at 9:28
  • Task Coordinator IS the manager also. Or do you mean HR management? That would be CEO. As stated, its a small company with a very flat hierarchy. We have CEO, coordinators and workers. – anon Sep 7 '17 at 9:39
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    @anon Well, it sounds more like you simply don't have a manager then. Consider editing in that this person is also your de facto manager as that's an important factor. But there may ultimately not be much you can do. Organisational dysfunction is typical of small business, especially startups that consider a management structure to be too 20th century. – Lilienthal Sep 7 '17 at 10:51
  • Could you try to convince them to improve their ticketing system? Have a look at jiira etc? – Daniel Sep 7 '17 at 15:21
  • Impossible. Every coordinator fights for this on a daily basis because it's terrible but CEO demands this and no other even when alternatives are free... – anon Sep 7 '17 at 16:13

From your original post and the discussions it sounds a little bit like "this fish stinks from the head" i.e. your boss will have it that way and does not want to improve his company. If this is the case, think hard about finding somewhere else to work.

If you want to try to fix this, I would recommend you report the problems you are having with your current project to your boss, without pointing fingers. Just tell him what went wrong and why it is affecting your productivity. If he asks, tell him you where fine on the other projects but you don´t know why these problems keep popping up with this one. If he reacts the same way your task coordinator reacted, you know for sure you work in a company with dysfunctional leadership. You´ll have to think again if you want to endure this. Else, let him figure out for himself if he´ll improve the tools, his coordinator or just assign you to another one...


If these tasks are managed in some kind of ticket system, you can see the status. Can you create yourself a dashboard that shows the status of all the ones you're supposed to do? That way you can see at a glance which ones are not ready yet, and you waste less time on that. Check back regularly, and pull them once you see they are ready.

For the stuff that got assigned to the wrong process, you can talk to the distributor to see if they are ok with you deciding which process to use on your own. That way, you don't have to get back to them all the time and go on their nerves, rubbing their mistakes in their face, and things will get done faster. It doesn't matter if it's their job. It's your job to get the stuff done, and that sometimes means you have to be pragmatic and just do it.

I would not approach the CEO for this. It's pretty normal in most companies that things are like that. Especially if the company is established. People are lazy by default, and you're not going to change that.

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    The ticketing system is the big problem here. I can only see the tasks assigned to me (not status of previous depts) and I can only do the procedures I have been assigned. Only the coordinator can see if the tasks have been completed, I will only see it when I start working on it. I need to retour tasks that got assigned with the wrong procedure because otherwise it wont be correctly integrated in the pipeline. (Its a very strict and limited system) – anon Sep 7 '17 at 9:28

See my question on a similar topic: How to win at workflow and influence coworkers. You will have a difficult time convincing your coworkers to adopt a tool/workflow management system that they don't want to use. When you face an immovable object, go around it. Utilize your own system and keep track of the assignments not only to your self but that of the team as well. Although from the get go this might seem as unnecessary busywork, the time you put into tracking now will save you time downstream from going back and digging to find out what went wrong.

  • My coworkers would love a better workflow, but CEO (and CEO only) demand their tool and will scold everyone who gets caught using something else... Me and a coworker already got into big trouble for using Trello to keep our minds organized... But thanks for the hint anyways! – anon Sep 10 '17 at 13:23
  • Post is no longer Available. – Humanid 1652487954543 Oct 23 '17 at 16:21
  • Some admins deleted it. – Bluebird Oct 23 '17 at 17:22

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