Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick!

I wonder how Jack is doing these days….

Jack was my colleague at Gammon, we started working for the company only weeks apart, in April/May 2013.
So much so, that we attended the mandatory official induction to the company together.
If asked, I guess that being a QS by profession he’d have no problem recalling the facts of the day-long presentation, including what was said about protection awarded to ’speaking out’ within Gammon, otherwise known as the official, ‘whistle blowing protection’ policy also covered by the BB umbrella.

…actually, Jack and I met a bit earlier, even before the induction meeting.
By chance, at the end of one of Thomas Ho’s (CEO) briefings, we walked out of the building together. This flash corporate event that Gammon held every 2 months for its top managers was the first for both of us to have the privilege to be invited to.
It was late at night on a Thursday and we were descending on foot from the Jockey Club down to Causeway Bay, searching for the MTR.

Fellow expats, with some common ME experience, we quickly compared notes; We had children of similar ages, my spouse on his way to join me with the kids, his more sensible, staying in the home country, but similar worries, similar concerns and both of us only just getting to know our employer.
Jack was a bit ahead of me, having come from a Balfour Beatty background, though he was eager to clarify that Gammon employed him directly, this was not a secondment.

As we parted that night, Jack probably thought it unlikely that we’d meet soon again and especially unlikely on his own project even though by then he knew the job had some BIM components to it, and I told him I was the person responsible for BIM in the company.

BIM was just a ‘techy’ add-on he seemed to think and presumably I was considered a geeky-techy (yet oddly old looking for that role) woman.

Jack’s was the project that the MTR decided to go on ‘all BIM-ish’ and something that me, the newly appointed HOI (Innovation) cum BIM ‘know it all’ could not afford to – and had no intention to ignore.
So, when we next met – at my insistence and within days of the PM briefing, I discussed with Jack and his superiors, what the project ought to do, to comply with the client’s requirements.
Action was needed urgently, as the deadlines for acting were well passed.

My goals were multiple, to comply with the BIM requirements set by the client, but also help the project become more effective, less risky and cheaper to deliver, this was after all, what I was brought in to help the company achieve.

We met numerous times following the first meeting and despite numerous presentations and various alternative strategies to ‘catch up’, the message that came back was always the same,’ the BIM strategy that was in place on the project before I joined the company was fine, nothing needed to change’.
The project’s management team’s intention was to do as little as they thought they could get away with, after all, ”MTR had no idea what they were  supposed to do” (were one of the director’s words);

In the meantime, Jack tried to keep his professional cloak on and act accordingly, but also retain his job, the two activities not always compatible.
… and yes, I got kicked out over the little affair…

Six month on, I do wonder how Jack is going?
Is he still on the MTR project?
Is he still toeing the party line while possibly taking the job and the company that employs him into financially and otherwise risky territories?
Is he still lucky enough to be able to push through financial (variation) claims against the client that is yet unequipped enough to act in line with the highly biased contract they have in hand and reject any claims that are not fully compliant with the conditions of it?

Or have the people that run this particular MTR project had since realised what a little gem they had in their hands?
A document that could, if used well make all of the contractors of the 11xx line not just perform but ‘uber-excel’?
Did that make the water of the project-pond of 1111 just a bit too hot to Jack’s liking?

Or even if this epiphany had not quite yet hit the MTR’s management, had he given up on the charade of Gammon’s dealings and wheelings on the project and moved back to Balfour Beatty?

It is hard to tell.
The LinkedIn profile that I suppose is his – but may be not too, shows almost 5 years of continuous service to BB up to the present time.
No mention of Gammon.

Picture from here:


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