Man Plans, God Laughs

22 Aug 2004 /
Man plans, God laughs.
— Yiddish proverb
Clock in German train station

A VP has asked me to review a Microsoft Project schedule printed out on 16 legal-size pages. The first thing that jumps out at me is that the level of detail in the schedule far exceeds the quality of information we have about the state of the world and the project at the future dates and times represented.

I don’t see how you can break tasks down to this level of detail, add in dependencies, and state that Task XYZ is going to start at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on some date 14 months from now.

And I would say that if the success of your project depends on your ability to forecast the future to that degree of precision, you are DOOMED from the outset . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.


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