Top tips for project managers?

Below is a compilation of project management truisms. Some have been around years; a few are my own concoctions – the result of researching and reporting on countless IT projects and programmes.


1. Projects with realistic budgets and timetables don’t get approved

2. Activity in the early stages should be dedicated to finding the correct questions

3. The more desperate the situation the more optimistic the progress report

4. A user is somebody who rejects the system because it’s what he asked for

5. The difference between project success and failure is a good PR company

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

7. Every failing, overly ambitious project, has at its heart a series of successful small ones trying to escape

8. A freeze on change melts whenever heat is applied

9. There’s never enough time to do it right first time

10. You understood what I said, not what I meant

11. If you don’t know where you’re going, just talk about specifics

12. If at first you don’t succeed, rename the project

13. Everyone wants a strong project manager – until they get him

14. Only idiots own up to what they really know (thank you to President Nixon)

15. The worst project managers sleep at night

16. A failing project has benefits which are always spoken of in the future tense

17. Projects don’t fail in the end; they fail at conception

18. Visions are usually treatable

19. Overly ambitious projects can never fail if they have a beginning, middle and no end

20. In government we never punish error, only its disclosure

21. The most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest

22. A realist is one who’s presciently disappointed in the future

And thanks to TechRepublic for this:

“Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet” – which brings to mind one or two of the NPfIT implementations.


A collection of project management sayings

Project management jokes, humour, proverbs and laws

Project Management tips

Do you speak “Project”? – PM Hut



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