11 laws of project management

If you keep an eye on my CV, you’ll notice that I am currently project manager, the job is very far from WordPress, blogs and others Web 2.0 considerations, but nevertheless very interesting. For years, some try to make our life easier, by creating many methods, all extremely serious and whose aim is to help us complete our projects on time and on budget. But as rigorous as these methods, I do not know of any project that have not drift at least one time. But you have to know that, beyond the methods, projects are manage by very powerful but invisible laws… I will present a few.

About software developments

Brooks law
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
Please don’t give this rule to financial controllers to whom you are requesting an extension for increasing your team.

Conway law
Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure
In fact this law has many consequences. Bigger is the company, more complex will be the project, for example.

Ninety-ninety Law
The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.
Pareto will not be very happy.

Wirth’s Law
Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.
Perhaps this law is also the law of Bill G.

Bram’s law
The easier a piece of software is to write, the worse it’s implemented in practice
We all know at least one indispensable application, developed in a few hours by a trainee, and that nobody dares to keep the code is so incomprehensible.

About project management

Fitts’ Law
The time taken to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and the size of the target
In other words, the best way to manage a big project, is dividing it, into smaller steps or tasks, with closest target dates.

Golub’s law
A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned project takes only twice as long.
After a while, it’s useless to go deeper in a plan, we need to go (my boss will be pleased to hear that 😉 ).

Hofstadter’s law
It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.
I like the recursiveness of this rule.

Loi de Cheops
Nothing is ever built according to the schedule or budget.
Wise was Egyptian people

Tesler’s Law of Conservation as Complexity
You cannot reduce the complexity of a given task beyond a certain point. Once you’ve reached that point, you can only shift the burden around.

Hartree’s Law
Whatever the state of a project, the time a project-leader will estimate for completion is constant.


If you are currently in the planning phase of a project, stop all. Take all tasks duration, multiply them by 2, and then by 1.5. According to the laws above, you will certainly late, but just less than previously.