20 cynical project management tips

Here's your guide to the seamy underbelly of IT project management.
Written by Michael Krigsman, Contributor

Ever wonder why so many projects fail? Well, here's your guide to the seamy underbelly of IT project management.

From Tony Collins, who writes a well-researched blog on government-related IT failures in the UK:

  1. Projects with realistic budgets and timetables don't get approved
  2. The more desperate the situation the more optimistic the progress report
  3. A user is somebody who rejects the system because it's what he asked for
  4. The difference between project success and failure is a good PR company
  5. Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it
  6. Every failing, overly ambitious project, has at its heart a series of successful small ones trying to escape
  7. A freeze on change melts whenever heat is applied
  8. You understood what I said, not what I meant
  9. If you don't know where you're going, just talk about specifics
  10. If at first you don't succeed, rename the project
  11. Everyone wants a strong project manager - until they get him
  12. Only idiots own up to what they really know (thank you to President Nixon)
  13. The worst project managers sleep at night
  14. A failing project has benefits which are always spoken of in the future tense
  15. Projects don't fail in the end; they fail at conception
  16. Visions are usually treatable
  17. Overly ambitious projects can never fail if they have a beginning, middle and no end
  18. In government we never punish error, only its disclosure
  19. The most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest
  20. A realist is one who's presciently disappointed in the future

[Seamy underbelly photo by Michael Krigsman.]

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