22 provocative but helpful project management proverbs

THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – If you are a project manager, or you work in a project team, or you are simply interested in helpful project management resources, you will find this post handy, at the same time provocative. This is fair warning I believe.

Culled from Harold Kerzner‘s book Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling and a post by Methvin, a provider of software for the construction industry, these proverbs will leave you with some practical but controversial insights related to project management:

  • You cannot produce a baby in one month by impregnating nine women.
  • A user will tell you anything you ask about – nothing more.
  • If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.
  • The more ridiculous the deadline, the more it costs to try to meet it.
  • You can con a sucker into committing to an unreasonable deadline, but you can’t bully him into meeting it.
  • What you don’t know hurts you.

  • Projects progress quickly until they become 90 percent complete; then they remain at 90 percent complete forever.
  • What is not on paper has not been said.
  • Project teams detest progress reporting because it vividly demonstrates their lack of progress.
  • No major project is ever installed on time, within budget, with the same staff that started it.
  • The conditions attached to a promise are forgotten, and the promise is remembered.
  • The same work under the same conditions will be estimated differently by ten different estimators or by one estimator at ten different times.
  • When all’s said and done a lot more is said than done.
  • The more you plan the luckier you get.
  • Everyone asks for a strong project manager – when they get him they don’t want him.
  • There’s never enough time to do it right first time but there’s always enough time to go back and do it again.
  • The plan is nothing. Planning is everything.
  • If everything seems to be going well, you obviously don’t know what’s going on.
  • Never underestimate the ability of senior management to buy a bad idea and fail to buy a good idea.
  • Meetings are where minutes are kept and hours are lost.
  • Good project managers don’t solve problems, they get rid of them.
  • If it wasn’t for the ‘last minute’ nothing would get done.

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