30 one-liners for Project Management

  1. A project is one small step for the project sponsor, one giant leap for the project manager.
  2. Good project management is not so much knowing what to do and when, as knowing what excuses to give and when.
  3. If the project is going exactly to plan, something somewhere is going terribly wrong.
  4. Everyone asks for a strong project manager – when they get him they don’t want him.
  5. Overtime is a figment of the naïve project manager’s imagination.
  6. Quantitative project management is for predicting cost and schedule overruns well in advance.
  7. Good project managers know when not to manage a project.
  8. All project managers face problems on Monday mornings – good project managers are working on next Monday’s problems.
  9. Metrics are learned men’s excuses.
  10. For a project manager overruns are as certain as death and taxes.
  11. If there were no problem people there’d be no need for people who solve problems.
  12. Some projects finish on time in spite of project management best practices.
  13. Good project managers admit mistakes: that’s why you so rarely meet a good project manager.
  14. Fast – cheap – good: you can have any two.
  15. There is such a thing as an unrealistic timescale.
  16. The more ridiculous the deadline the more money will be wasted trying to meet it.
  17. The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time the last 10% takes the other 90%.
  18. The project would not have been started if the truth had been told about the cost and timescale.
  19. 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.
  20. Never underestimate the ability of senior management to buy a bad idea and fail to buy a good idea.
  21. The most successful project managers have perfected the skill of being comfortable being uncomfortable.
  22. You can build a reputation on what you’re going to do.
  23. When the weight of the project paperwork equals the weight of the project itself, the project can be considered complete.
  24. If it happens once it’s ignorance, if it happens twice it’s neglect, if it happens three times it’s policy.
  25. Some things that don’t count are counted, many things that count aren’t counted.
  26. If it wasn’t for the ‘last minute’ nothing would get done.
  27. Warning: dates in the calendar are closer than you think.
  28. Furious activity does not necessarily equate to progress and is no substitute for understanding.
  29. When you’re up to your arse in alligators it’s easy to forget you’re there to drain the swamp.
  30. There is no such thing as scope creep, only scope gallop.