Project Proverbs

Some more of the project proverbs I've trawled from the Internet plus some project related quotes I like: enjoy but beware, many of them hold some uncomfortable truths!

Project Management Proverbs

  • The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of meeting the date is forgotten.
  • If you're 6 months late on a milestone due next week but nevertheless really believe you can make it, you're a project manager.
  • A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
  • What is not on paper has not been said.
  • If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
  • If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.
  • If you don't attack the risks, the risks will attack you.
  • A little risk management saves a lot of fan cleaning.
  • The sooner you get behind schedule, the more time you have to make it up.
  • A badly planned project will take three times longer than expected - a well planned project only twice as long as expected.
  • If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, you haven't understood the plan.
  • When all's said and done a lot more is said than done.
  • If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried.
  • Never put off until tomorrow what you can leave until the day after.
  • Feather and down are padding - changes and contingencies will be real events.
  • There are no good project managers - only lucky ones.
  • The more you plan the luckier you get.
  • A project is one small step for the project sponsor, one giant leap for the project manager.
  • Good project management is not so much knowing what to do and when, as knowing what excuses to give and when.
  • If everything is going exactly to plan, something somewhere is going massively wrong.
  • Everyone asks for a strong project manager - when they get him they don't want him.
  • Overtime is a figment of the na├»ve project manager's imagination.
  • Quantitative project management is for predicting cost and schedule overruns well in advance.
  • Good project managers know when not to manage a project.
  • All project managers face problems on Monday mornings - good project managers are working on next Monday's problems.
  • Metrics are learned men's excuses.
  • For a project manager overruns are as certain as death and taxes.
  • If there were no problem people there'd be no need for people who solve problems.
  • Some projects finish on time in spite of project management best practices.
  • Good project managers admit mistakes: that's why you so rarely meet a good project manager.
  • Fast - cheap - good: pick any two.
  • There is such a thing as an unrealistic timescale.
  • The more ridiculous the deadline the more money will be wasted trying to meet it.
  • The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time the last 10% takes the other 90%.
  • The project would not have been started if the truth had been told about the cost and timescale.
  • To estimate a project, work out how long it would take one person to do it then multiply that by the number of people on the project.
  • Never underestimate the ability of senior management to buy a bad idea and fail to buy a good idea.
  • The most successful project managers have perfected the skill of being comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • You can build a reputation on what you're going to do.
  • When the weight of the project paperwork equals the weight of the project itself, the project can be considered complete.
  • If it happens once it's ignorance, if it happens twice it's neglect, if it happens three times it's policy.
  • Some things that don't count are counted, many things that count aren't counted.
  • If it wasn't for the 'last minute' nothing would get done.
  • Meetings are where minutes are kept and hours are lost.
  • Warning: dates in the calendar are closer than you think.
  • Furious activity does not necessarily equate to progress and is no substitute for understanding.
  • Activity is not progress.
  • When you're up to your arse in alligators it's easy to forget you're there to drain the swamp.
  • There is no such thing as scope creep, only scope gallop.
  • Planning reduces uncertainty: you rule out at least one way the project could turn out.
  • If you have time to do it over again, you'll never get away with doing it right the first time.
  • If you can interpret project status data in several different ways, only the most painful interpretation will be correct.
  • A project gets a year late one day at a time.
  • Projects don't all fail in the end, they fail at the beginning.
  • A project ain't over until the fat cheque is cashed.
  • Powerful project managers don't solve problems, they get rid of them.
  • No project has ever finished on time, within budget, to requirement - yours won't be the first to.
  • The first myth of management is that it exists.
  • Managing IT people is like herding cats.
  • If you don't know how to do a task, start it, then ten people who know less than you will tell you how to do it.
  • A minute saved at the start is twice as effective as one saved at the end.
  • Bad news does not improve with age and should be acted upon immediately.
  • People under pressure do not think faster.
  • If an IT project works the first time, it's got the wrong thing right.
  • At some point in the project you're going to have to break down and finally define the requirements properly.