You Say You Want a Revolution

PMI United Kingdom Chapter

Ian Whittingham, PMP is a Program Manager in the Business Transformation group of a leading global news and information company. The views expressed here are his own. You may contact the author directly at

Next May, the soixante-huitards (‘68ers) turn 40. As is the nature of such anniversaries, sipping pastis at a boulevard café, they will no doubt reminisce about the glory days of their youth and recall how their pranksterish provocations briefly convulsed Paris in wave after wave of protest and riot, and almost brought the FifthRepublic government of President Charles DeGaulle to the brink of collapse.
More than just the boisterous and anarchic expression of generational rebellion, the évenements were driven by a revolutionary exuberance that the ‘68ers believed would totally transform society in ways that previous revolutions had failed to do. They were wrong, of course. But the slogans they daubed on the walls of drab, municipal buildings still startle us with the intensity of their conviction and the reach of their ambition: Soyez réalistes, demandez l’impossible. Be realistic: demand the impossible! Which is very much like Business Process Improvement today--only more so.
It’s a brave new world
At the turn of this century, having seen off the impending global catastrophe of the Y2K meltdown (that’s the combatants’ heroic version of events), BPI became momentarily faddish. Having lifted the hood on the engine to make sure it was still running, companies realized just how utterly interdependent their …

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"If they have moving sidewalks in the future, when you get on them, I think you should have to assume sort of a walking shape so as not to frighten the dogs."

- Jack Handey