40 Rules of Project Management
1. Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t have to do it.
2. You can con a sucker into committing to an impossible deadline, but you cannot con him into meeting it .
3. At the heart of every large project is a small project trying to get out.
4. A user will tell you anything you ask about, but nothing more.
5. Of several possible interpretations of a communication, the least convenient is the correct one.
6. What you don’t know hurts you.
7. There’s never enough time to do it right first time but there’s always enough time to go back and do it again.
8. The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of making a date is forgotten.
9. I know that you believe that you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.
10. What is not on paper has not been said.
11. A little risk management saves a lot of fan cleaning.
12. If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, you haven’t understood the plan.
13. If at first you don’t succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried.
14. There are no good project managers – only lucky ones.
15. The more you plan the luckier you get.
16. If everything is going exactly to plan, something somewhere is going massively wrong.
17. A project is one small step for the project sponsor, one giant leap for the project manager.
18. Good project management is not so much knowing what to do and when, as knowing what excuses to give and when.
19. Everyone asks for a strong project manager – when they get them they don’t want them.
20. Overtime is a figment of the naïve project manager’s imagination.
21. Quantitative project management is for predicting cost and schedule overruns well in advance. Metrics are learned men’s excuses.
22. For a project manager overruns are as certain as death and taxes.
23. Some projects finish on time in spite of project management best practices.
24. Fast – cheap – good – you can have any two.
25. There is such a thing as an unrealistic timescale.
26. The project would not have been started if the truth had been told about the cost and timescale.
27. A two year project will take three years, a three year project will never finish.
28. When the weight of the project paperwork equals the weight of the project itself, the project can be considered complete.
29. A badly planned project will take three times longer than expected – a well planned project only twice as long as expected.
30. Warning: dates in a calendar are closer than they appear to be.
31. Anything that can be changed will be changed until there is no time left to change anything.
32. There is no such thing as scope creep, only scope gallop.
33. A project gets a year late one day at a time.
34. If you’re 6 months late on a milestone due next week but really believe you can make it, you’re a project manager.
35. No project has ever finished on time, within budget, to requirement – yours won’t be the first to.
36. Managing IT people is like herding cats.
37. 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.
38. 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.
39. The sooner you get behind schedule, the more time you have to make it up.
40. 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.