Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Immutable Laws of Project Management

I came across this classic list a while back and was reminded recently about it in Critical Chain Project Management by Leach, so I thought it useful to store as reference (yes, it's already online, but I actually enjoy writing things down as a way to reinforcing my memory).

I can personally identify with all these laws in my history of working on projects, how does your experience compare :-)

The Immutable Laws of Project Management

No major project ever completes on time, within budget, with the same staff that started it, and the project does not do what is supposed to do. It is highly unlikely that yours will be the first.
Corollary 1: The benefits will be smaller than initially estimated, if they made estimates at all.
Corollary 2: The system finally installed will be late, and will not do what it is supposed to do.
Corollary 3: It will cost more but will be technically successful.

One advantage of fuzzy project objectives is that they let you avoid embarrassment in estimating the corresponding costs.

The effort required correcting a project that is off course increases geometrically with time.
Corollary 1: The longer you wait the harder it gets.
Corollary 2: If you wait until the project is completed, it is too late.
Corollary 3: Do it now regardless of the embarrassment.

Everyone else understands the project purpose statement you wrote differently.
Corollary 1: If you explain the purpose so clearly that no one could possibly misunderstand, someone will.
Corollary 2: If you do something that you are sure will meet everyone's approval, someone will not like it.

Measurable benefits are real. Intangible benefits are not measurable, thus intangible benefits are not real.
Corollary 1: Intangible benefits are real if you can prove that they are real.

Anyone who can work effectively on a project part-time certainly does not have enough to do now.
Corollary 1: If a boss will not give a worker a full-time job, you shouldn't either.
Corollary 2: If the project participant has a time conflict, the work given by the full-time boss will not suffer.

The greater the project's technical complexity, the less you need a technician to manage it.
Corollary 1: Get the best manager you can. The manager will get the technicians.
Corollary 2: The reverse of corollary 1 is almost never true.

A carelessly planned project will take three times longer to complete than expected. A carefully planned project will take twice as long.
Corollary 1: If nothing can possibly go wrong, it will anyway.

When the project is going well, something will go wrong.
Corollary 1: When things cannot get any worse, they will.
Corollary 2: When things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.

LAW 10
Project teams detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests their lack of progress.

LAW 11
Projects progress rapidly until they are 90 percent complete. Then they remain 90 percent complete forever.

LAW 12
If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.

LAW 13
If the user does not believe in the system, a parallel system will be developed. Neither system will work very well.

LAW 14
Benefits achieved are a function of the thoroughness of the post-audit check.
Corollary 1: The prospect of an independent post-audit provides the project team with a powerful incentive to deliver a good system on schedule within budget.

LAW 15
No law is immutable.

1 comment:

  1. @khanmjk nice share ,an honest view on projects :)
    I like it