Adding someone else to a project
December 15, 2011 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Adding someone else to a project.

Ok, so I've just recently had an idea for a possible project that could be published (nothing like this has been done before in my field). I made up a list of people I could ask to be involved and got in touch with them all individually. One person seemed really keen to be involved, and then asked if they could be co-lead on the project.

Now, I've run similar projects like this before by myself, and I'm not quite sure whether to take them up on their offer. I don't know them personally and know about their work in a very general kind of way.

Of course, it would be great to have help on this, if just to bounce ideas off of someone else, but is the not knowing them (either professionally or personally) a big deal? Is it silly to want to 'hog the glory'? I'm all sorts of conflicted and was hoping you good folks on the green could maybe help me figure things out.
posted by Scottie_Bob to Work & Money (5 answers total)
I think you should either lead or they should lead. There's only such a thing as "co-leader" until disagreement emerges. If they're the ones to lead, they need to prove themselves worthy since you're the leader by default, and the two of you should agree on all the other roles. If taking credit matters to you, that's fine, but it does probably make the answer no unless you can be a prolific founder while not actually telling others what to do -- which is definitely doable.
posted by michaelh at 3:51 PM on December 15, 2011

Projects with two leaders end up with no leader the minute you don't agree on something. Could you make the person an 'Assistant Project Leader' and allocate specific responsibilities, but make it clear that, if push comes to shove, you are the boss?
posted by dg at 6:06 PM on December 15, 2011

I'd lean towards no, but you haven't really given us enough to work with.

What are they bringing to the table, would listing them as a co-PI help a grant or publication get off the ground? Do they have excellent connections that could get you needed access to some location/information/people? Is there enough work so that if you have a team of five people, this co-leader could be given enough work to justify a description that elevates them over the other collaborators?

Would co-lead just be a meaningless title which would just allow them to say on a resume they "co-led" the project. (If so, let them be a co-leader.)

Only one person can be first author on a paper if that is the main product that is going to come out of this. If it was your idea, and you are doing at least your share of the work, that person should be you.
posted by pseudonick at 10:30 PM on December 15, 2011

Sorry for being so vague! The project is an edited volume, and they are slated to be one of the contributors. Not sure if it would help the overall project, they're more or less at the same stage in their career as I am, but there's definitely enough work that it could be evenly divided up.
posted by Scottie_Bob at 1:09 AM on December 16, 2011

Do you want a co-leader, or are you happy to do all the work yourself? Do you think you can push this project forward on your own, or are you worried that it might not happen?

If the idea of a co-leader appeals to you (and I would say that if you don't really know this person, the main motivation would be your desire to share the work and move the project forward), maybe you could set up an initial meeting to discuss the possibility of co-leading this project. It could be by phone/Skype if you're not local. That would give you a chance to see if you're on the same page about what the project would be, talk about how much work is involved and how you would want to split it up, and how much each of you could contribute. You should be clear that you had planned to lead the project by yourself, but you're open to meeting with this person and talking about the idea of having them help without committing to anything.
posted by chickenmagazine at 8:31 AM on December 16, 2011

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