The Project Management Playbook
1. Determine Project Scope. Occupiers cannot expect, just because they take up sidewalk space in various downtown venues, that bank presidents will come outside and concede, “Oh, all right; let’s readjust all mortgages past due for people unemployed because of the economy, and let’s start looking at loan applications again within the community." Like it or not, the Occupiers have to decide how far they expect to go with their movement. They have to define their scope. They don’t want to set goals or propose measures because they don’t want to be like the 1 percent? Get over it!
2. Identify Stakeholders. Who are the stakeholders, and who else is buying in to the movement? The Occupiers have attracted the support of many celebrities, and detractors scoff that these celebrities are, themselves, part of the 1 percent. The Occupiers need to appreciate that the celebrities are wielding their fame to spread the word and gain support for the group, and they need to claim these celebrities as their own. And they should pressure Jay-Z to get up off some of that money he’s raking in for his Occupy All Streets shirts!
3. Count and Assign Resources. Some projects begin with a schedule of tasks, but this situation involves a group that began with no assets or staff. Remember when they first gathered at Zuccotti Park? When someone spoke to the crowd, individuals repeated the speaker’s words, acting as a collective human bullhorn so that people farther back could also hear the message. At this juncture, someone has to track both human and material resources.
Presumably the person who launched each local group tracks whatever food or equipment is donated or brought to the cause—until someone says to him, “Let me help you with that." Once two other people get involved, the first one can track people, their skills and their contact information—like an HR manager; the other catalogues and schedules uses of tents, bullhorns, blankets, plus what donated food will be used when. He becomes the materials manager.
4. Scheduling. Now it’s time to set a schedule of activities. A few events have garnered community attention, such as Bank Transfer Day—but more of them are needed. Occupy Youngstown, the group that provided me with the link to the Duda article, has now issued a sign-up list for people who want to keep apprised of activities—now that’s what I’m talking about! How about scheduling a bake sale to raise money? How about buying booth space at a local crafts store to enlist volunteers and hand out a free newsletter?
5. Communicate and Collaborate. What newsletter, you may be asking. The group leadership must appoint someone who, like Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams of the long-ago colonials, will write well-thought-out and carefully edited position papers. Someone in each group must respond to letters to the editor and call in to radio talk shows when the topic of the Occupy movement comes up.
6. Risk Management. Each group needs someone to identify and manage risks—pepper spray, anyone? Injuries, arrests, negative publicity and bad weather are just the beginnings of the risks that these people will undertake. In Nashville, Occupiers are permitted to remain a presence—while local lawmakers are fast-tracking legislation that will roust them from Legislative Plaza.
7. Change Management. For every activity that occurs or risk that is handled, someone must be ready to evaluate how things could have been done differently or better. The group needs people who know how to plan, do, study, and act.