Project Management: Humorous laws


English: Project development stages

English: Project development stages (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Humorous laws pertaining to Project Management:

  • Abbott’s Admonitions
    1. If you have to ask, you’re not entitled to know.
    2. If you don’t like the answer, you shouldn’t have asked the question.
  • Acheson’s Rule of the Bureaucracy: A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.
  • Anderson’s Law: I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become even more complicated.
  • Benchley’s Law: Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he or she is supposed to be doing at that moment.
  • Bok’s Law: If you think education is expensive—try ignorance.
  • Boling’s Postulate: If you’re feeling good, don’t worry. You’ll get over it.
  • Brook’s First Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
  • Brook’s Second Law: Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.
  • Brown’s Law of Business Success: Our customer’s paperwork is profit. Our own paperwork is loss.
  • Chisholm’s Second Law: When things are going well, something will go wrong.
    • Corollaries:
      1. When things just can’t get any worse, they will.
      2. Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.
  • Cohn’s Law: The more time you spend reporting 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.
  • Connoly’s Law of Cost Control: The price of any product produced for a government agency will not be less than the square of the initial fixed-price contract.
  • Cookeon’s Law: In any decisive situation, the amount of relevant information available is inversely proportional to the importance of the decision.
  • Mr. Cooper’s Law: If you do not understand a particular word in a piece of technical writing, ignore it. The piece will make perfect sense without it.
  • Cornuelle’s Law: Authority tends to assign jobs to those least able to do them.
  • Courtois’ Rule: If people listened to themselves more often, they’d talk less.
  • First Law of Debate: Never argue with a fool. People might not know the difference.
  • Donsen’s Law: The specialist learns more and more about less and less until, finally, he knows everything about nothing; whereas the generalist learns less and less about more and more until, finally, he knows nothing about everything.
  • Douglas’ Law of Practical Aeronautics: When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly.
  • Dude’s Law of Duality: Of two possible events, only the undesired one will occur.
  • Economists’ Laws
    1. What men learn from history is that men do not learn from history.
    2. If on an actuarial basis there is a 50-50 chance that something will go wrong, it will actually go wrong nine times out of ten.
  • Old Engineer’s Law: The larger the project or job, the less time there is to do it.
  • Non-reciprocal Laws of Expectations
    1. Negative expectations yield negative results.
    2. Positive expectations yield negative results.
  • Fyffe’s Axiom: The problem-solving process will always break down at the point at which it is possible to determine who caused the problem.
  • Golub’s Laws of Computerdom
    1. Fuzzy project objectives are used to avoid the embarrassment of estimating the corresponding costs.
    2.  A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned project takes only twice as long.
    3. The effort to correct course increases geometrically with time.
    4. Project teams detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests their lack of progress.
  • Gresham’s Law: Trivial matters are handled promptly; important matters are never resolved.
  • Hoare’s Law of Large Programs: Inside every large program is a small program struggling to get out.
  • Issawi’s Law of Cynics: Cynics are right nine times out of ten; what undoes them is their belief that they are right ten times out of ten.
  • Johnson’s First Law: When any mechanical contrivance fails, it will do so at the most inconvenient possible time.
  • Malek’s Law: Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.
  • Patton’s Law: A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
  • Peter’s Prognosis: Spend sufficient time in confirming the need and the need will disappear.
  • Law of Political Erosion: Once the erosion of power begins, it has a momentum all its own.
  • Pudder’s Law: Anything that begins well ends badly. Anything that begins badly ends worse.
  • Putt’s Law: Technology is dominated by two types of people—those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand.
  • Truman’s Law: If you cannot convince them, confuse them.
  • Von Braun’s Law of Gravity: We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.

Source: Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling by Harold R Kerzner (11th Edition).

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