Four Rules of Engagement

You know how it is, you say stuff and you don’t expect it have any effect because you’ve said it over and over and no one’s listening. Well, did I get a surprise! Catching up with a couple of guys I’d done a project with quite some time back one of them ambushed with my own words ( Thanks Mikie).

Apparently, I’d given them the old this is how I’m going to run this project speech. Which I honestly think is a bit of a stretch, as I don’t like giving speeches at the best of times. Anyway they insisted that I  record for posterity my four rules of engagement and where better to do it? So here they are:

1) I do care what your problem is. There is someone who has had it before, but if you don’t tell me we can’t find an answer for it.

It’s simple really there’s always a solution.

2) Don’t let me put words in your mouth.

You see this all the time, the architect stands there talking to the client saying yes, yes, we can do that  and in the background the technical guys are all shaking theirs heads going no, no we can’t. It’s best to nip some ideas in bud.

3) If you don’t understand what I just said, don’t let me off the hook!

I was at a briefing once on a very large project listening to the senior architect explain the solution. He was pretty slick, but when he’d finished and rushed out of the room I turned to a colleague next to me  and asked did you get that? No, he didn’t and I’m guessing that no one else in the room did either.  If people are not understanding what your saying it’s not their problem, it’s yours. Too often I’ve seen architects ditch and run like that and the answer is always the same. They can’t admit that they don’t know all the answers.

Not knowing everything is okay, provided that it is openly conceded that there is an issue and that everyone understands that. But, it’s not okay when it’s done a s a means of avoiding the hard questions. So, if I don’t know the answer at least make me acknowledge that openly. It’ll save a stuff up later.

4) If I tell you something that’s wrong tell me it’s wrong.

I may simply be wrong or things may have changed, but do not allow the misinformation to continue to be propagated. Boy, could this have saved me some heart ache over the years.  I don’t accept truth by authority, not even when I’m the authority.


So there they are for what they’re worth. I hope you’re happy now Mike.



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