Project Planning

  • A badly planned project will take three times longer than expected – a well planned project only twice as long as expected.
  • The more you plan the luckier you get.
  • It takes one woman nine months to have a baby. It cannot be done in one month by impregnating nine women.
  • If you don’t plan, it doesn’t work. If you do plan, it doesn’t work either. Why plan!
  • The nice thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.

Project Team

  • Everyone asks for a strong project manager – when they get them they don’t want them.
  • If you’re 6 months late on a milestone due next week but really believe you can make it, you’re a project manager.
  • Managing IT people is like herding cats.
  • The person who says it will take the longest and cost the most is the only one with a clue how to do the job.

Project Stakeholders

  • A project is one small step for the project sponsor, one giant leap for the project manager.
  • Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t have to do it.

Project Communication

  • The project would not have been started if the truth had been told about the cost and timescale.
  • Good project management is not so much knowing what to do and when, as knowing what excuses to give and when.
  • Of several possible interpretations of a communication, the least convenient is the correct one.
  • I know that you believe that you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
  • What is not on paper has not been said.
  • A user will tell you anything you ask about, but nothing more.
  • What you don’t know hurts you.
  • A problem shared is a buck passed.

Measurement and Control

  • Good control reveals problems early – which only means you’ll have longer to worry about them.
  • For a project manager overruns are as certain as death and taxes.
  • Quantitative project management is for predicting cost and schedule overruns well in advance.
  • No project has ever finished on time, within budget, to requirement – yours won’t be the first to.
  • Warning: dates in a calendar are closer than they appear to be.


  • You can con a sucker into committing to an impossible deadline, but you cannot con him into meeting it.
  • The sooner you get behind schedule, the more time you have to make it up.
  • Overtime is a figment of the naïve project manager’s imagination.
  • The sooner you begin coding the later you finish.
  • Some projects finish on time in spite of project management best practices.
  • The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of making a date is forgotten.

Project Implementation

  • 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.
  • If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, you haven’t understood the plan.
  • There is no such thing as scope creep, only scope gallop.
  • Activity is not achievement.
  • The more desperate the situation the more optimistic the situatee.
  • A little risk management saves a lot of fan cleaning.

Change Management

  • Anything that can be changed will be changed until there is no time left to change anything.
  • Feather and down are padding, changes and contingencies will be real events.
  • A change freeze is like the abominable snowman: it is a myth and would anyway melt when heat is applied.

Delivering Results

  • Fast – cheap – good – you can have any two.
  • There’s never enough time to do it right first time but there’s always enough time to go back and do it again.
  • If everything is going exactly to plan, something somewhere is going massively wrong.

Project Reports

  • If at first you don’t succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried.
  • When the weight of the project paperwork equals the weight of the project itself, the project can be considered complete.

(as originally found on