Take Credit for Others Work
This is the second in the series of four articles and is about how to take credit for others work.
Read Part 1 first – A career Built Purely on Bullshit.
Get Others to Do the Work
It does not really matter if you are no good. The secret is to have people immediately under you who are good.
You’ve been around a little while now. You’ll have seen who has been successful and who hasn’t. Make sure that those who are no good are not on your team. Put your foot down here.
As you now have some credibility at the company (you know what went wrong and how to put it right), you can now make some recommendations that they will accept.
Feedback to Bosses
Once you’ve got your promotion to Project Manager, get all your team together regularly to get good feedback on what the project needs to do to rectify any problems.
The Kings (and Queens) of Bullshit must be ace delegators. You should do as little work as possible. You should make sure that those who can do it better than you should do it, whilst you take all the credit.
Thank them all for the help that you have given you, but when you meet senior management, make sure that they ‘realise’ that the ideas are yours and yours alone. The people on the team don’t get to meet management much and will be none the wiser.
It will be pretty easy for you to take credit for others work. you have the opportunity.
It might also be an idea to get in some contractors. The majority of people working on projects have two years experience or less.
Although you would have to pay contractors more, it would be worth it, as some of them have 5 to 10 years experience in the particular skills. This cuts down your risks.
There’s also the point that you won’t need to help them, like you might be expected to do with trainee and junior developers.
Ask the contractors how things are done in other places that they’ve worked, and whether they have been successful.
If they tell you something that is quite useful, tell senior management that you have a new policy that you are implementing and explain it to them.
They will also care less if you take credit for others work. As long as you renew their contracts they will be happy.
Get Yourself a Shadow
You might want to get in an ‘under project manager’ as well, who will allow you to concentrate more on ‘strategic matters’. Get him or her to do the estimating and tracking.
Don’t allow him to report any of this information to senior management.
The most important X factor that you have, that differentiates you from everyone else, is the fact that you are giving senior management their precious project information, which they can them pass on to their bosses.
Keep the weekly report short, preferably on one page.
Don’t give them a list of all the programs and their status. The real skill you need to have is to be able to summarise effectively all the information that you’re given onto one page – information that will be clear to senior management.
If you are not able to do it, then let your under-project-manager do it. However, you run the risk of being bypassed by your management when they find out that someone else collates the figures.
Which Project Manager
Where will you get this Project Manager?
You could get one from a consultancy, but you’re taking a bit of a risk. You can get just as good Project Managers on the market for a cheaper price.
Also, the consultancies are very political and will try to bypass you. They will want to get the attention of senior management so that they can get more business at your company.
Get a Contractor
As they have access to senior management they might even venture an opinion on your abilities to them.
You definitely don’t want that!
No, hire an experienced contract Project Manager.
These people are not generally very good politically, even when they want to be. That’s why they went contracting probably.
And they are dependent on you for a renewal.
What you really want is someone with the skills and ability to run the project – but with no, or little, access to senior management.
And, as I say, they will not worry too much if you take credit for others work.
As Little as Possible
The key skill of the Bullshitter is to do as little as possible, to get other people to do as much as possible, and to take as much credit as possible for what other people do.
If things go badly with the project, then you can simply blame the contract Project Manager and sack him.
However, it is best not to wait until that stage.
Projects always look good in their early stages. People always hide the fact that they are behind schedule.
A Project Turkey
It is not till the later stages of a project, e.g. Systems and User Acceptance Testing time that it becomes obvious that the project is a turkey.
Unless you have managed to get some really good people around you, and you are convinced that the project is going to be a success, then don’t stick around.
If it is a success, and some are, then your name will really mean something at the company.
Identify the Star
Make sure that you identify the people who are responsible for it being a success, and make sure that you hang on tightly to them.
One of these is likely to be the contract under-project-manager, so you must make sure that he or she stays around – or you can get hold of them again.
As you are probably not much good yourself, it’s important that you have very good people around you, as you can take the credit for their successes.
What to Do With a Turkey
If it becomes clear to you that the project is going to be a turkey, then you’ve got to get yourself out of there before management find out.
Either get yourself ‘Fast Tracked’ up the ladder, or get yourself a new project before the shit hits the fan.
You’ve already made a bit of a reputation in the early stages of the project.
Use that to get yourself a promotion, or to get onto a bigger, or even more exciting, project.
Leave the others to deal with the fallout when it becomes obvious that the project is bombing.
Project in Trouble
Once you are out of there, by the time it becomes clear to senior management that your old project is in trouble, already have had a word with them that you’ve been worried about some of the things that have been happening on the project, and some of the decisions that have been taken, since you left the project.
Since the project was going well when you were on it, and you’ve expressed concerns about the project before the management realised that the project has gone out of control, you will have covered your tracks completely, and enhanced your reputation as the only person in the company who can run an IT project successfully.
Time for Him to Go
Advise your management that they need to get rid of the contractor, who was fine while he was reporting to you, but hasn’t been able to handle the ‘step up’ to running the project himself.
You don’t want him around telling the senior management that a lot of the blame lies at your feet.
You will already have told the contract Project Manager that senior management like very detailed reports each week, so they’ll already be able to see for themselves one area where you were much better than he is, and this will give more credibility to what you tell them.
Another alternative, if things are going really badly is to get out of the company altogether.
Most promotions are got that way anyway.
Anyone hiring will be impressed how quickly you rose through the ranks at your previous company – and you’ll be ready to fly again.
The King of Bullshit is always one step ahead of everybody else!
Take Credit for Others Work is the second article in the series.
The next episode will appear shortly.