24 Project Management Proverbs

  1. It takes one woman nine months to have a baby. It cannot be done in one month by impregnating nine women. *
  2. The same work under the same conditions will be estimated differently by ten different estimators or by one estimator at ten different times.
  3. Any project can be estimated accurately (once it’s completed).
  4. The most valuable and least used WORD in a project manager’s vocabulary is “NO”.
  5. The most valuable and least used PHRASE in a project manager’s vocabulary is “I don’t know”.
  6. Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t have to do it.
  7. You can con a sucker into committing to an impossible deadline, but you cannot con him into meeting it.
  8. At the heart of every large project is a small project trying to get out.
  9. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
  10. The more desperate the situation the more optimistic the situatee.
  11. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
  12. Too few people on a project can’t solve the problems – too many create more problems than they solve.
  13. A problem shared is a buck passed.
  14. A change freeze is like the abominable snowman: it is a myth and would anyway melt when heat is applied.
  15. A user will tell you anything you ask about, but nothing more.
  16. A user is somebody who tells you what they want the day you give them what they asked for.
  17. Right answers to wrong questions are just as wrong as wrong answers to right questions.
  18. Of several possible interpretations of a communication, the least convenient is the correct one.
  19. What you don’t know hurts you.
  20. The conditions attached to a promise are forgotten, only the promise is remembered.
  21. There’s never enough time to do it right first time but there’s always enough time to go back and do it again.
  22. 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.
  23. Estimators do it in groups – bottom up and top down.
  24. Good estimators aren’t modest: if it’s huge they say so.