“Pillars of the Earth” is a novel written by Ken Follett, it’s a story set in 12th century England and revolves around building of Cathedrals, what fascinated me in this story is how all – Knights, King and Church despite facing scarcity of capital continued the work to build dream cathedrals – place of worship. How innovatively and collaborative manner they all worked to build a dream cathedral.
Why am I sharing this story here what’s the relation?
While a Cathedral is built, sponsor used to scrutinise the design before appointing a master builder of a cathedral and then only approve funding. Sponsors of these Cathedrals were people with background in areas of spirituality, administration, Law & Battles, but not necessarily have any prior education or knowledge of Architecture, design and costing. However they were good and really smart in asking pertinent question and always doubt the master builder’s design and ability to complete the work as per schedule.
Unless the sponsor was convinced, no design or funding was approved at different phases of project. All teams involved in cathedral work used to be vary of this aspect and work tirelessly to meet the deadlines.
Sponsors generally would have travelled around in Europe and had seen innovative designs of Churches in France, Spain & Italy, yet they were always open to new style of Cathedrals being built in England. Sponsors always make surprise visits to see the progress and question the funding and durability aspect of the project.
All this is still applicable to Projects approved today but now despite enhanced knowledge, skills and frameworks in place, there is no assurance of a dream Cathedral being built on time and with given funding. There is no guarantee of it at all.
Wisdom, accountability and ownership are elements clearly missing.