“I’m project managing our street party,” a friend said on the phone last week. “We’ve got a team meeting next Saturday.”
“And how much work will actually get done at this team meeting?” I asked her.
“Ha! You know me so well….”
I could imagine it: neighbours gathering in her spacious lounge, some early evening conversation about bunting and then cracking open another bottle of wine.
All around the UK, neighbours are coming together this long bank holiday weekend for the culmination of their street party projects. In case news of the Queen’s Jubilee hasn’t reached you, we’re celebrating the fact she’s being reigning for 60 years.
At the last count, 9,408 people had applied to close their roads. With the road closed, out come the trestle tables, the sets of skittles, the folding chairs and the paper tablecloths decorated with Union Jacks. That’s a lot of street parties – and that doesn’t include those who don’t need to close the road to celebrate, such as my neighbours from a couple of blocks away, who put two marquees on a bit of green space in front of their flats on Saturday for their party.
Street parties don’t happen overnight. Someone has to take the lead, and so all around the country streets have been nominating their project managers to coordinate road closures with the council, sort out the balloons and make sure that not everyone brings potato salad.
On a larger scale, The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant yesterday saw around 1,000 boats from all corners of the Commonwealth sail 7 miles from Battersea to Tower Bridge. Organising that project involved:
- 14 miles of bunting
- 3 miles of mooring chains
- Commissioning a new set of 8 church bells and the rig to hold them to place in the lead boat
- Coordinating the bells in the bankside churches along the Thames to answer the bells on the floating belfry
- Organising the bascules of Tower Bridge to be raised in salute
- Planning for the security of the Royal Family onboard the Royal Barge, the Spirit of Chartwell, and the other boats that family members were on
- Organising a gun salute
- Liaising with local councils to close 13 bridges
- Managing the installation and broadcast of the flotilla on 7 large screens.
I think people appreciate the amount of effort that goes into events like this, but I don’t think they realise that it’s project management. My friend only used the term because she was talking to me, but it’s true of anyone who organised an event to celebrate this weekend.
If you are joining a street party today, have a lovely day, congratulations on your Jubilee project and fingers crossed for good weather!