In our latest PM Network Digital Exclusive, PMI Knowledge Coordinator Shari Rathet found inspiration from John Lewis, the U.S. Congressman and civil rights giant who died July 17 at the age of 80.
She also shared some project management-related insights from the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955-56 that had inspired Lewis himself—and many others—to join the civil rights movement.
“A glancing knowledge of the bus boycott might leave us with the idea that it was spontaneous … [but] a great deal of planning had led to that moment,” Shari notes. “We can see that the leaders of the boycott did a lot of things we now consider essential to good project management.”
Indeed, the civil rights movement can be viewed as a portfolio of projects that required heroic sacrifice from its participants but also planning and goal-setting, resource management, strategic alignment and risk management.
In their pursuit of justice and equality, civil rights leaders like Lewis understood the heavy resistance to change they faced, and the very real threats they would encounter along the journey. They weighed the risk and reward. They managed expectations. And they provided a vision for the future that lots of people could rally around.
That’s project leadership we can all learn from!