Saturday, October 07, 2006
What is Massar doing right?
- We stress-tested the vision. It exists in simple clear language. The team understands and is completely signed up to it. We regularly remind ourselves why we're doing this. The vision statement sits on the kitchen wall (among others).
- A project initiation document exists.
- I know what we are doing, why, and a lot of the how. This means we are not at the mercy of consultants and experts. It also allowed us to shape and debate significant stuff like the likely size and location of the building without going into formal design and specification mode.
- The vision was turned into a plan with clear shape, which we could take forward even though there was a lot of information missing.
- We plan, we anticipate.
- There is a very short distance between the vision and the detail. I patrol both. This means the tiny things are still aligned with the big picture.
- We are completely transparent and honest with our client, and we aim to keep her as informed as practical (for her and us) about how things are going, good or bad. We don't play political games - much.
- We set out an early-win strategy with relatively low risk of failure, which we could learn from as we went. We prefer to under-promise and over-deliver.
- The team includes the client, and is deliberately as small as possible. Everyone is in the spotlight. Noone is here for the salary, however important it is to them.
- The team spirit is constantly reinforced. There is very little hierarchy, lots of mutual trust, support, thanks, respect and appreciation. Team comes first, individual second. WE. All people we work with are treated as part of the team until they prove otherwise.
- But - it is also clear who is in charge.
- Everybody's ideas are welcomed. Everyone can contribute in any way.
- We strive for best (practical, fast, inexpensive, 80/20, appropriate) quality. We aim to do a small number of simple things well and reinforce them with consistency.
- People sign up to a set of principles. If we fall below standard people know quickly. Values are clear. Including a strong commitment to Syria's future.
- People know what our aims, objectives and tasks are, can do each other's jobs and are expected to do whatever is required whenever necessary. Clockwatching is not encouraged.
- People have been picked carefully on character, attitude and fit/ teamworking first, direct expertise second.
- We think through and question most things we do, make few assumptions that we must be right. There is low tolerance of bullshit, self-importance, status, image over substance.
- There is a lot of feedback. We share information, discuss the project.
- There is a strong bias towards simplicity, speed and action, with people trusted to take responsibility and do what is needed. We don't like bureaucrats and people who don't deliver on commitments.
- We have a very clear constituency, which we keep in mind constantly. We think a lot about how things will look and feel in public. We talk and write in everyday language, not officialese.
- We eat together regularly. We laugh a lot. We take the project seriously, not ourselves.
- Everyone learns. Everyone develops.
- Everyone feels privileged and part of something special.
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