Project Management Wisdoms


There are countless sayings, quotations and wisdoms on the subject of project management. We have collected these over the years and enriched them with our own project experiences. There is a grain of truth in all of them, in some of them even more than it seems at first glance…

Project planning

  • A badly planned project will take three times as long as originally expected, a well planned project only twice as long
  • Many projects would never have been started if the truth about costs and schedule had been known
  • The earlier you are behind the project schedule, the more time you have to catch up
  • If everything goes exactly according to plan, then something is going massively wrong somewhere
  • A few projects are completed “in time” – contrary to the “project management best practice
  • The more ridiculous the project end date is, the more money is wasted to keep this date
  • The earlier you start programming in software development projects, the later you will finish it

Project Manager

  • As project manager you are responsible for everything without having the competence for anything
  • As a project manager you are an all-round dilettante
  • Good project managers allow mistakes: that’s why you rarely find good project managers
  • There are no good project managers – only project managers who are lucky
  • Everybody demands a strong project manager, when he is there, you do not want him
  • Good project managers know when to NOT manage a project
  • Strong project managers do not solve problems, they get rid of them
  • The most important and least used word in a project manager’s vocabulary is “NO”.
  • A project manager brings a project to success when he is with his team on the “construction site” – not at his desk!
  • A project manager who spends more time working with PM tools than communicating with the project team is doing his job wrong.

Change in projects

  • Everything that can be changed in the project will be changed until there is no more time for changes
  • Frozen requirements and the snowman have the following in common: both will melt if sufficient heat is applied

Project team

  • Too few people in the project cannot solve the problems – too many people in the project create more problems than they solve
  • You can commit a fool to a hopeless deadline, but you cannot make him keep that deadline
  • Never change a winning team! – Applies especially in projects!

Documentation, status, risks, ….

  • What is not written down, has never been said (who writes, stays!)
  • PARKINSON and MURPHY live and enjoy good health – in your project!
  • Good project management is not primarily knowing what to do and when, but knowing which excuses are credible and when
  • If the project status report can be interpreted differently, the most unpleasant interpretation is the correct one
  • Project management by science fiction: Project and line organization function without conflict. The project manager has all necessary capacities and competencies. The steering committee and the board of directors understand what is reported to them.
  • “Probability includes the possibility that the improbable may occur.” Artistotle, Greek philosopher