We had a quick 1 day working visit to the city of Casablanca this week which inspired this title, but it does seem to be the theme of the week as new teams are forming and we are making friends with each other and with our clients. But it also could be ‘great expectations’ since everywhere I look my expectations are being surpassed. For example, in a country 98% Muslim religiously, and Arab ethnically, I did not expect to find:
- That multiple people would talk to me about the importance of supporting and encouraging diversity;
- That in my first in-person conversation with our key client (and definitely one of the 98%) I would hear him say “it’s not the words you say, or which religion you follow – its what’s in your heart that God sees”;
- We were told this is a very deferential culture, and while we were trying to figure out how to get insight and additional opinion, and yet the client says “I want you to disagree with me if you think I am wrong.”
Everywhere with our specific client, AMDIE, we see signs of tremendous Moroccan hospitality. Our client lead has personally driven our three-person IBM team around to multiple locations. When we visited the Casablanca offices of “Maroc Export”, not only did they insist we leave time in our visit to tour the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, they also bought the tickets and escorted us to connect us with the tour guide! And I am loving the Moroccan mint tea they serve frequently. All of which add up to a delightful client experience.
But it gets better. Our main challenge this week was to understand the business problem we are trying to help with and update the statement of work as necessary, to reflect what we can accomplish in our 4 weeks. Fortunately, our client is both a fan of agile, and understands one of the key concepts: that you fit the scope to the time and resources available. So while we reduced the technical side of the ‘hoped for’ scope; we were also able to add an important validation of the requirement and expectations of the investor and export communities’ stakeholders. It is always refreshing and energizing to work with a client who is looking for mutual success!
Similarly, our IBM AMDIE Team is coming together well. We each bring different skills and levels of experience: Doreen is a finance analyst; Giulia is a journalist and communications expert; and I am an IT-oriented consulting project manager. And I should add our Project Assistant and translator, Munal. We are already working together increasingly efficiently towards our goals and supporting when one is ‘stuck’. And having some fun in the process.
Scope is set, the plan is in place, team is in place. All in all, a pretty exciting and successful first week. With four weeks total and one complete, it is all about execution now.