List of Project Management Quotes and Laws


If it can go wrong it will – Murphy’s law. 

If it can’t possibly go wrong, it will – O’Malley’s corollary to Murphy’s law. 

It will go wrong in the worst possible way – Sod’s law. 

Work expands to fill the time available for its completion – Parkinson’s law. 

Finely chopped cabbage in mayonnaise – Coleslaw. 

If there is a 50% chance of something going wrong then 9 times out of 10 it will. (Real Life)

A two year project will take three years, a three year project will never finish – (Real Life)

Murphy, O’Malley, Sod and Parkinson are alive and well – and working on your project.  Sadly, they never invite Real Life to their meetings.

A law for all project managers to remember:

Cohn’s Law

The more time you spend in reporting on what you are doing, the less time you have to do anything. Stability is achieved when you spend all your time doing nothing but reporting on the nothing you are doing. 


Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t have to do it himself.

Any project can be estimated accurately (once it’s completed).

At the heart of every large project is a small project trying to get out.

Too few people on a project can’t solve the problems – too many create more problems than they solve.

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.

Good estimators aren’t modest: if it’s huge they say so.

A little project management saves a lot of fan cleaning.

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.

The more you plan the luckier you get.

The most valuable and least used WORD in a project manager’s vocabulary is “NO”.

A user will tell you anything you ask about, but nothing more.

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.

Schedules are made to be broken.

Work expands to fill the Time. Cost expands to meet the Budget.

Today you idiot proof it…tomorrow a new and improved idiot arrives.

If you can’t convince them, then confuse them.

The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time. The last 10% takes the other 90%.

Your inability to plan is not my emergency.

Re-establish work/life balance – begin a new crisis at home.

The only certainty in a project is uncertainty.

On time, on budget, on spec – pick 2.


Posted in Ramblings

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