Monday, January 12, 2009

Project Management Truisms

The most valuable and least used word in a project manager's vocabulary is "NO."

The same work under the same conditions will be estimated differently by ten different estimators, or by one estimator at ten different times.

You can con a sucker into committing to an unreasonable deadline, but you can't bully him into meeting it.

The more ridiculous the deadline, the more it costs to try to meet it.

The more desperate the situation, the more optimistic the situatee.

Too few people on a project can't solve the problems – too many create more problems than they solve.

You can freeze the user's specs but they won't stop expecting.

Frozen specs and the abominable snowman are alike: they are both myths, and they both melt when sufficient heat is applied.

The conditions attached to a promise are forgotten, and the promise is remembered.

What you don't know hurts you.

A user will tell you anything you ask about – nothing more.

Of several possible interpretations of a communication, the least convenient one is the only correct one.

What is not on paper has not been said.

No major project is ever installed on time, within budget, with the same staff that started it.

Projects progress quickly until they become 90 percent complete – then they remain at 90 percent complete forever.

If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.

No major system is ever completely debugged – attempts to debug a system inevitably introduce new bugs that are even harder to find.

Project teams detest progress reporting because it vividly demonstrates their lack of progress.

You cannot produce a baby in one month by impregnating nine women, nor by impregnating one woman nine times.

Parkinson and Murphy are alive and well-in your project


At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

trouble is, these are so true they aren't funny. But a. who is parkinson, and b. how do you know about the pregnancy thing? Are 9 congratulations now in order on your behalf? Or were parkinson and murphy also involved?


At 11:03 AM, Anonymous insomniac said...

Parkinson's Law...'what you don't know will hurt you' is all too true here, too...

At 9:19 AM, Blogger wysiwyg said...

Neo, I know about the pregnancy rule only through having various management types trying to get me to still meet a deadline after they have increased the scope of work by promising me more resources. There's a point where that just doesn't work any more, as in trying to create a baby in one month by using nine women to do the work.

Might be fun to try tho.... ;oP


At 5:48 AM, Blogger LemonySarah said...

Hey wys, I've been trying to avoid my computer so I'm terribly late to comment.

And being as it's a very lazy Sunday indeed, I have nothing clever to say!

But I thought I'd add that I once had a boss who said NO to projects all the time. Unfortunately, the word "no" was always followed by the word "problem".

Oh, the problems that ensued...


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