Software Nuggets

“It’s hard to remember your job is to drain the swamp when you’re up to your arse in alligators”

Project Graffitti


"Lots of Project Managers just spoil things" (by Senior Developer)

“Some projects finish on time in spite of project management best practices”

“Good project managers know when not to manage a project”

“If it happens once it’s ignorance, if it happens twice it’s neglect, if it happens three time it’s policy”

“Audit investigate the 5 ‘Ps’ of Project Management – People Perfectly Performing Perfect Processes”

“The single most important task of a project: setting realistic expectations. Unrealistic expectations based on inaccurate estimates are the single largest cause of software failure”


“A language that doesn’t affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing”

“With great power comes great responsibility” (Spiderman’s Uncle)

“If software programme content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress”

“Projects happen in two ways: (1) Planned then executed (2) Executed, stopped, planned then executed”

“The more you plan, the luckier you get”

“Incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of a profession”

“To err is human, to estimate, divine”

“The project would not have been started, if the truth had been known about cost and timescale”

“Activity is not achievement”

“A project is one small step for the Sponsor, one giant leap for the Project Manager”

"The production of a child takes nine months regardless of how many wo(men) involved”

“It’s always a people problem”

“Some things that don’t count are counted, many things that count aren’t counted”

“Good control reveals problems early … which only means you’ll have longer to worry about them”

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

"Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal”

“No plan ever survived contact with the enemy”

“A project ain’t over until the fat cheque is cashed”

“What you don’t know hurts you”

“It is better to measure gold roughly than count pennies precisely”

“How does a project get to be a year late? …. One day at a time”

“If there were no problem people there’d be no need for people who solve problems”

“Anything that can be changed will be changed until there is no time left to change anything”

“A user will tell you anything you ask; but nothing more”

“Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t have to do it”

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly, it should be thrown with great force”

“There’s no sense being exact about something if you don’t even know what you’re talking about”

“Give me a date. I won’t hold you to it”

“The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time, the last 10% takes the other 90%”

“The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of hitting a date is forgotten”

"If there is a 50% chance of something going wrong then 9 times out of 10 it will”

“Metrics are learned persons excuses”

“The first myth of management is that it exists”

“If there is anything to do, do it”

“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be overcome first”

"Bad news does not improve with age and should be acted upon immediately”

“A little Risk Management saves a lot of fan cleaning”

“The more ridiculous the deadline the more money will be wasted trying to meet it”

“If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, you haven’t understood the plan”

“It’s hard to remember your job is to drain the swamp when you’re up to your ar se in alligators”

“There is such a thing as an unreasonable timescale”

“When the weight of the project paperwork equals the weight of the project itself, the project can be considered complete”

“A ‘Change Freeze’ is like the abominable snowman; it is a myth and would melt anyway when the heat is on”

“Fine words butter no parsnips”

“If everything is going exactly to plan, something somewhere is going massively wrong”

“No project has ever finished on time, within budget, to requirement”

“Accept that some days you are the pigeon and on others the statue”

“Worrying is the most natural and spontaneous of all human functions. It is time to acknowledge this"

“If you are as confused as I am then you know as much as I do”

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”

“Known Unknowns – Information you know someone else has, Unknown Unknowns – Information that does not yet exist”

“The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once”

“The sooner you begin coding the later you finish”

“Fast, Cheap, Good …. You can have any two”

“When the pressure to deliver becomes too great, common sense slips, and testing is abandoned”

“Tell me what you need and I’ll tell you how to get along without it”

“These things are fun, and fun is good”

“Cost varies as a product of men and months, progress does not”

“At the heart of every large project there is a small project trying to get out”

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try and please everyone”

“If you’re 6 months late on a milestone due next week but still believe you can make it, you’re a project manager”

“There is no such thing as Scope Creep, only Scope Gallop”

“There are two types of estimate: Lucky or Lousy”

“We don’t have time to do it right … but we have the time to do it again”

“Save your breath to cool your porridge”

“If you add a cup of champagne to a barrel of sewage, you’ll have a barrel of sewage. If you add a cup of sewage to a barrel of champagne, you’ll have a barrel of sewage”

“Work expands to fit the time allowed” Parkinson’s Law

“The ‘Student Syndrome’ – delaying the start of a task due to having ‘more than enough time’ to accomplish it”

“Managing IT people is like herding cats”

“Early in the project you can have firm cost and schedule targets or a firm feature set, but not both”

“You cannot watch everything. What you can watch are the people.”

“Of several possible interpretations of a communication, the least convenient is the correct one”

“Wrong decisions made early can be recovered from. Right decisions made late cannot correct them”

“Difficult projects are easy, impossible projects are difficult, miracles are a little trickier”

“No individual is a success who hurts the team, and no individual is a failure who helps it”

“People under pressure do not think faster”

“Use what works, not what is fashionable”


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