Forgetting the Most Important Document

I recently had to work on a project that is quite different than your everyday project. Here in Bahrain after a person gets engaged and wants to become officially married, they are required to bring a person called a Sheikh to their house to complete the documentation that defines you as legally married. I decided to host this ceremony in my Father’s house last Friday. After the signing their is usually a small party at the wife’s house where all the ladies gather. The ceremony at my house only consists of men. The usual attendance would be close family members from both the husband and wife’s sides. However in such events you wouldn’t know exactly how many people are coming from the wife’s side exactly and hence need to plan carefully.

The first thing that we needed to setup was the seating area. Since we had invited around ten people from our side we estimated that there would be around ten people from their side. But to be on the safe side we decided to make the seating accommodate 25 people. The next order of business was to decide whether to serve dinner or not. The ceremony takes place around 6:30 to 7p.m. and that’s too early for dinner in Bahrain. However we decided that we will make dinner for around 20 people and keep it ready, and if people did not eat we would give away the food to poor people in the neighborhood.

In such ceremonies aside from the Sheikh whom my father’s friend was going to bring over, their needs to be two witnesses, one from each side, and hence we asked my wife’s father to ensure he knows who he wants to be witness from his side. After ensuring that all logistics were covered in terms of seating, food, drinks, witnesses, Sheikh, lights, etc I thought that we were all set, and I had planned perfectly.

After the Sheikh arrived and sat for a while he said he will start filling out the legal document, however at this point my Wife’s father hadn’t arrived yet. The sheikh asked me for my ID which i presented to him, and then he said he need my passport, which i did not have ready with me, however since I was home I went upstairs and got it. Then he turned to me and said I need your wife’s ID and Passport, at which point her father was about to enter our house and we asked him, he responded shocked No! We had forgotten to ask what documents were required. Luckily the sheikh allowed us to call my wife and get the details on the phone. This whole project taught me a lesson which was to never assume that you have covered every aspect of a project, there will always be an unexpected bottleneck. pTq8yxAGc pTq8yxAGc

4 thoughts on “Forgetting the Most Important Document

  1. Congratulations on your engagement Khalid. I liked how you linked project management to your party, it is true, many things we do on daily basis can be considered as projects. Also, When working on projects we are often overwhelmed to the extent of actually missing the most important things. Therefore, check lists are my best friends be it at work, packing, shopping you name it.

  2. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” It’s easy to miss the most obvious thing as we convinve ourselves that it’s been taken into account. And I do agree with Mariam’s comment: keeping a checklist does help. However, what if we convince ourselves that we don’t have to add the most obvious thing to the checklist!?

    I guess the takeaway here is that no small thing in planning is insignificant.

  3. This is a funny story. Congratulations! You arranged many details successfully, even what to do if there is excess food! When there are so many people, customs, and entertaining considerations, it is easy to forget something. I bet you were very relieved the Sheikh was accommodating. I am an avid list maker. But even with lists, you can forget to add something to the list!

  4. This post was a great segue to project management! It’s funny how you can plan, have a risk assessment, and still have small but sometimes vital elements missing from a project, and still successfully execute. That’s why I’m a big fan of improvising and having flexibility to find other/creative solutions to complete a project or task. Nothing is ever set in stone, and human error does happen. After all, we’re not robots. Congrats, and high 5 for the Sheikh!

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