Sunday, 1 May 2016

Famous Quotes and relevance for Project Managers

Do famous quotes have relevance for Project Managers and Project Teams? Can they can be an inspiration in certain situations? Yes, is my answer! Here is a selection I have picked with their relevance described.

Famous Quotes for Project Managers

Risk Management - Winston Churchill

One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never! 
Churchill meant this in terms of Political Risk but it could apply to Project Risk. The way I have previously described it is Attack the Risks before the Risks Attack you!
Projects - Attack the Risks before the Risks Attack You

Alternatively, the Churchill quote reminds me of an important behavioural characteristic for Project Managers. As a PM you need to be prepared to stand your ground and not duck issues. I covered this and a number of other characteristics in this post.
Project Manager - If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything

Issue Management - Charles F Kettering

A Problem well stated is a problem half solved
Kettering puts it very succinctly. Define your problem statement when you have an Issue and it helps focus the mind on the potential solutions. 

Dale Carnegie put it in a more descriptive manner:
Get the facts! Let's not even attempt to solve our problems without first collecting all the facts in an impartial manner
Have a look at my post on Issue Management

Human Aspects of Project Teams - various

Benjamin Disraeli
One of the hardest things in this world to do is to admit you are wrong. And nothing is more helpful in resolving a situation than its frank admission
 Benjamin Franklin
Arguing is a game that two can play at. But it is a strange game that neither opponent ever wins
It is worth keeping these quotations in mind when in the heat of arguments within the Project team or with other stakeholders

Dale Carnegie is worth considering with regard to team spirit and the importance of wanted to achieve as a team
You can't get anywhere in this world without wanting to do something 
When things get difficult within a Project and you are faced with the choice of a more risky approach versus holding back, remember this Lloyd Jones quotation:
The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed
Have a look at my post on Human side of Projects

Self-Motivation - Abraham Lincoln

If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already ..... Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing
As a Project Manager you need good self-motivation and always have in sight the ultimate goal. 

Read this post for other behavioural traits of a good Project Manager.

Coping with stress - Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference
As a Project Manager you need to cope with stressful situations at times and this quote is useful to remember. 

Read this post for more on coping with stress and worry.

Good Time Management - Henry Ford

It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste
As a Project Manager you need good time management skills. I always start the day by working out the key things to achieve in the day. I try and address the things of most importance to the Project(s), not the easy things to tick off or the activities I prefer.

Personal and Project Lessons Learnt - Dale Carnegie

The difference between a successful person and a failure often lies in the fact that the successful man will profit by his mistakes and try again in a different way
Plutarch put it another way
To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future
I have found Organisations mixed in their approach to learning lessons from previous Projects. However, on a personal level, there is no excuse and I always make a point of considering what has gone well with Project execution, what less well and what I should aim to do differently next time.

Have a look at my post on Lessons Learnt where you will see another quote from philosopher George Santayana

Projects - Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it


I am always keen on "hooks" to remember key Project Management tips and techniques. I must admit to preferring proverbs and humour as my means of achieving this (see this post) but if are inspired by famous quotes then this could be best approach for you - as long as you remember to apply the tip or technique :-)


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