Tuesday, June 22, 2010

KAUST: An Amazing Example of Project Management

As part of my experience with the Global Women's Leadership Institute, we were treated to a presentation on the creation of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) by Nadhmi Nasr, the Executive Vice President of KAUST. What an amazing story!

This incredible, 9000 acre, state-of-the-art University was built and operational in approximately 1000 days. Mr. Nasr was asked to take on the leadership of this important project by the King in July of 2006. He assumed that he was responsible for building something that had already been designed, but within a week, discovered that it was just a concept. He quickly brought in partners, consulting firms with various specialties to help with the planning, which he attributes as one of the keys to his success.

Mr. Nasr is very humble. It was apparent in his presentation that his unwavering focus on the vision was, in my opinion, by far the most important reason for the success of the project. I know software companies that have not been able to build a product in 3 years. This man was able to create a magnificent oasis in the desert, taking it from an idea to a thriving high tech community. On September 5, 2009, the first day of classes were held on schedule. Having managed many projects myself, and being here and seeing how incredible this place is, I’m in awe of what he’s accomplished.

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