PM Quotes

“Being a Project Manager is like being an artist, you have the different colored process streams combining into a work of art” – Greg Cimmarrusti, PMP


“We will either find a way, or make one.” – Hannibal


PMs are the most creative pros in the world; we have to figure out everything that could go wrong, before it does – Fredrik Haren


Working ten hour days allows you to fall behind twice as fast as you could working five hour days. – Issac Assimov


Trying to manage a project without project management is like trying to play a football game without a game plan. – K. Tate


A project without a critical path is like a ship without a rudder. – D. Meyer


Running a project without a WBS is like going to a strange land without a roadmap. – J. Phillips


If, on your team, everyone’s input is not encouraged, valued, and welcome, why call it a team? – Woody Williams


Whilst you can practice good project management without EVM, you cannot practice EVM effectively without good project management. – Steve Crowther


Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work – Peter Drucker


Project managers function as bandleaders who pull together their players each a specialist with individual score and internal rhythm. Under the leader’s direction, they all respond to the same beat.- L.R. Sayles


If you have never recommended canceling a project, you haven’t been an effective project manager. – Woody Williams


Teaming – No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra. – H.E. Luccock


Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. – Fred Brooks


On planning – What is truth today may be falsehood tomorrow. Never confuse your plan with truth. – Woody Williams


On design – Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein


The testers won’t break the system but the user who thinks the cd-rom drive as a drinks holder will – Cornelius Fitchner


There is no such thing as scope creep, only scope gallop – Cornelius Fitchner


It is always easier to talk about change than to make it. – Alvin Toffler


Project management is like juggling three balls – time, cost and quality. Program management is like a troupe of circus performers standing in a circle, each juggling-three balls and swapping balls from time to time. – G. Reiss


Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal. – Walt Disney


Rewards and motivation are an oil change for project engines. Do it regularly and often. – Woody Williams


Nobody knows how Honda is organized, except that it uses lots of project teams and is quite flexible. – Kenichi Ommae


It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out nor more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things – Machiavelli


Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances – Sun Tzu

This feeling, finally, that we may change things – this is at the centre of everything we are. Lose that… lose everything. – Sir David Hare


A project is complete when it starts working for you, rather than you working for it. – Scott Allen


The most important part of your professional wardrobe is your personality. Wear it with style. – Woody Wilson


Any Idiot can point out a problem …. A leader is willing to do something about it! Leaders Solve problems! – Tony Robbins


Adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit – Ovid (Latin to English translation). “Add little to little and there will be a big pile” – Ovid


Make an extensive table of project ‘deliverables’. Label one column ‘as requested’. Create another column labeled ‘could be’. Make each ‘could be’ wild and woolly! – Tom Peters


When a risk occurs, with some ingenuity, this may open up an opportunity, and conversely when pursuing an opportunity there will be associated risks. Risks are generally deemed acceptable if the possible gains exceed the possible losses. – Rory Burke


“What we are looking for is managers who are awake enough to alter the world as they find it, to make it harmonize with what they and their people are trying to accomplish.” – Tom DeMarco


Project management is … The art of creating the illusion that any outcome is the result of a series of predetermined, deliberate acts when, in fact, it was dumb luck. –  Harold Kerzner


Project managers rarely lack organisational visibility, enjoy considerable variety in their day- to-day duties, and often have the prestige associated with work on the enterprise’s high- priority objectives. – Meredith & Mantel


The project manager must be able to develop a fully integrated information and control system to plan, instruct, monitor and control large amounts of data, quickly and accurately to facilitate the problem-solving and decision- making process.  – Rory Burke


If it is not documented, it doesn’t exist … As long information is retained in someone’s head, it is vulnerable to loss.  – Louis Fried


For a project plan to be effective it must equally address the parameters of ‘activity time’ and ‘activity logic’. This logical relationship is required to model the effect schedule variance will have down stream in the project.  – Rory Burke


No major project is ever installed on time, within budget, with the same staff that started it.  – Edwards, Butler, Hill & Russell


You can’t keep it all in your head. Project control tools are an absolute necessity for the control of large projects.  – Louis Fried


‘Don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut’, but equally don’t agree important things informally where there is a chance of a disagreement later over what was agreed.  – Colin Bentley


The project manager is expected to integrate all aspects of the project, ensure that the proper knowledge and resources are available when and where needed, and above all, ensure that the expected results are produced in a timely, cost- effective manner.  – Meredith & Mantel


Project management can … be defined as a way of developing structure in a complex project, where the independent variables of time, cost, resources and human behaviour come together.  – Rory Burke


Momentum is a fragile force. Its worst enemy: p-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-i-o-n. Its best friend: a deadline (think Election Day). Implication no. 1 (and there is no no. 2): Get to work! NOW!  – Tom Peters


The functional groups should not be allowed to stretch out the project for the sake of improvement, refinement, or the investigation of the most remote potential risk. – Meredith & Mantel


Why do so many professionals say they are project managing, when what they are actually doing is fire fighting?  – Colin Bentley


“Some of the most flowery praise you hear on the subject of teams is only hypocrisy. Managers learn to talk a good game about teams even when they’re secretly threatened by the whole concept.”  – Tom DeMarco


Like organic entities, projects have life cycles. From a slow beginning they progress to a buildup of size, then peak, begin a decline, and finally must be terminated. (Also, like other organic entities, they often resist termination.) – Meredith & Mantel



First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination. – Napoleon Hill


“Get the right people. Then no matter what all else you might do wrong after that, the people will save you. That’s what management is all about.”  – Tom DeMarco


So you’re not a “sales guy” (or gal). B-a-l-o-n-e-y. We’re all “sales guys” … if – if! – we care enough about our project.  – Tom Peters


You may con a person into committing to an unreasonable deadline, but you cannot bully them into meeting it.  – Edwards, Butler, Hill & Russell


Project Management is… The art of creating the illusion that any outcome is the result of a series of predetermined, deliberate acts when, in fact, it was dumb luck.  – Harold Kerzner


Don’t do anything you don’t have to do.  – Louis Fried


Project management is like juggling three balls – time, cost and quality. Programme management is like a troupe of circus performers standing in a circle, each juggling three balls and swapping balls from time to time.  – Geoff Reiss


I am not interested in…making sure that you (the employee) are here, that you are giving us so many hours a day. We need people who will deliver a final result.  – Ricardo Semler


Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes … but no plans.  – Peter Drucker


The conditions attached to a promise are forgotten and the promise is remembered.  – Edwards, Butler, Hill & Russell


No matter how good the team or how efficient the methodology, if we’re not solving the right problem, the project fails – Woody Williams


The P in PM is as much about ‘people management’ as it is about ‘project management’.  – Cornelius Fichtner


A good plan can help with risk analyses but it will never guarantee the smooth running of the project.  – Bentley & Borman


Ensure your documentation is short and sharp and make much more use of people-to-people communication.  – Bentley & Borman


A well-constructed project management workshop should give people a solid foundation to build on.  – Bentley & Borman


A task is not done until it is done.  – Louis Fried


If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking.  – General George Patton Jr


Project proposals, business cases or cost benefit analyses are probably being massaged (either by underestimating costs or timeframes or by being very optimistic about the benefits) so projects will be approved.  – Bentley & Borman


Reconnaissance memoranda should always be written in the simplest style and be purely descriptive. They should never stray from their objective by introducing extraneous ideas.  – Napoleon Bonaparte


Know when to cut your losses if necessary. Don’t let your desire to succeed be the enemy of good judgment. If Napoleon had left Moscow immediately, he may have returned with a salvageable army.  – Jerry Manas


[At the end of the project.] Lavish credit on anyone and everyone who helped you the least bit.  – Tom Peters


As has been taught to teachers of the Harvard Business School, the art of asking good questions is often the most important element of managerial tasks.  – Parte Bose


Projects progress quickly until they become 90% complete; then remain at 90% complete forever.  – Edwards, Butler, Hill & Russell


Each completed task establishes certain parameters and imposes constraints on the next task.  – Louis Fried


The real problem is what to do with problem solvers after the problem is solved – Gay Talese


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man – George Bernard Shaw


Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand – Chinese Proverb


Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better – Samuel Johnson


Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances – Sun Tzu


This feeling, finally, that we may change things – this is at the centre of everything we are. Lose that… lose everything – Sir David Hare


“Project management will become a recognized profession when jokes are made about the practitioners.” —

If an IT project works the first time, it was a very small and simple project. – Cornelius Fitchner


Unengaged sponsor sinks the ship. – Angela Waner

Before anything can be repeatable or reusable, it must be usable. – Woody Williams


Testing proves the presence of bugs but not their absence. – Woody Williams


If an IT project works the first time, it was in your nightly dreams. Time to wake up and get to work. – Cornelius Fitchner


Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal- Cornelius Fitchner


“Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups” Wethern’s Law of Suspended Judgement – Paul Duvall


“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.” – Winston Churchill


When debugging, novices insert corrective code; experts remove defective code. – Richard Pattis


Good leaders do not take on all the work themselves; neither do they take all the credit. – Woody Williams


On lessons learned – Don’t look where you fall, but where you slipped. ~African Proverb – Woody Williams


Requirements – In many cases, the software is much less important than the data delivered. – Woody Williams


Resources – We cannot drive people; we must direct their development. Teach and lead. – Woody Williams


A {specification, design, procedure, test plan} that will not fit on one page cannot be understood. – Mark Ardis


Some things are better done than described. – Hunt & Thomas


There are two types of software : bad software and the next release – Cornelius Fitchner


A project ain’t over until the fat cheque is cashed – Cornelius Fitchner