How Projects Are Born — 12 Hilarious Project Management Jokes

Project management can often be a cold industry, but that doesn’t mean that project managers lose their sense of humor along the way.

After scraping through many sources of satire related to project management, I’ve put together these 12 hilarious project management jokes.


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The Best Project Management Humor on the Web

The Funniest 12 Project Management Jokes You’ll Ever Hear

1. How Projects Are Born

Programmer to Module Leader: 
“This is not possible. **Impossible**. It will involve design change and no body in our team knows the design of the system. And above that nobody in our company knows the language in which this software has been written. So even if somebody wants to work on it, they can’t. If you ask my personal opinion the company should never take these type of projects.”

Module Leader to Project Manager: 
“This project will involve design change. Currently we don’t have people who have experience in this type of work. Also the language is unknown so we will have to arrange for some training if we take this project. In my personal opinion, we should avoid taking this project.”

Project Manager to 1st Level Manager: 
“This project involves design change in the system and we don’t have much experience in that area. Also not many people are trained in this area. In my personal opinion we can take the project but we should ask for some more time.”

1st Level Manager to 2nd Level Manager: 
“This project involves design re-engineering. We have some people who have worked in this area and some who know the language. So they can train other people. In my personal opinion we should take this project but with caution.”

2nd Level Manager to CEO: 
“This project will show the industry our capabilities in remodeling the design of a complete system. We have all the necessary skills and people to execute this project successfully. Some people have already given in-house training in this area to other people. In my personal opinion we should not let this project go by under any circumstance.”

CEO to Client: 
“These are the type of projects in which our company specialize. We have executed many project of the same nature for many big clients. Trust me when I say that you are in the safest hand in the Industry. In my personal opinion we can execute this project successfully and that too well with in the given time frame.”


2. The Lightbulb

How many project managers does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but you’ll require a scope change to get them to turn it on.


3. The Pet Store

A young girl enters a pet shop to buy a cat. The pet shop worker shows her three cats that look identical.

“This cat here costs $1,000,” he explains.

“Why does that cat cost so much?” the girl asks.

“This cat knows how to complete legal research,” the pet shop worker explains.

The girl asks about the cat in the middle, and the pet shop owner explains that the middle cat costs $2,000 because it knows legal research and can win any case.

The girl is curious and asks about the third cat.

“That one is $5,000.”

“Well, what can this cat do?” asks the girl.

“Honestly, I have no idea. I have never even seen it do anything at all, but it says it’s a Project Manager.”


4. The Agile Lightbulb

Why did the project manager use Agile PM to change a lightbulb? He heard that waterfall and electricity don’t mix.


5. Immutable Laws of Project Management

  1. No major project is ever completed on time, within budget, with the same staff that started it, nor does the project do what it is supposed to do. It is highly unlikely that yours will be the first. 
     a. The benefits will be smaller than initially estimated, if estimates were made at all. 
     b. The system finally installed will be completed late and will not do what it is supposed to do. 
     c. It will cost more but will be technically successful.
  2. One advantage of fuzzy project objectives is that they let you avoid embarrassment in estimating the corresponding costs.
  3. The effort required to correct a project that is off course increases geometrically with time. 
     a. The longer you wait, the harder it gets. 
     b. If you wait until the project is completed, its too late. 
     c. Do it now regardless of the embarrassment. 
  4. The project purpose statement you wrote and understand will be seen differently by everyone else. 
     a. If you explain the purpose so clearly that no one could possibly misunderstand, someone will.
     b. If you do something that you are sure will meet everyone’s approval, someone will not like it.
  5. Measurable benefits are real. Intangible benefits are not measurable, thus intangible benefits are not real. 
    Corollary: Intangible benefits are real if you can prove that they are real. 
  6. Anyone who can work effectively on a project part-time certainly does not have enough to do now. 
     a. If a boss will not give a worker a full-time job, you shouldn’t either. 
     b. If the project participant has a time conflict, the work given by the full-time boss will not suffer. 
  7. The greater the project’s technical complexity, the less you need a technician to manage it. 
     a. Get the best manager you can. The manager will get the technicians.
     b. The reverse of corollary 1 is almost never true. 
  8. A carelessly planned project will take three times longer to complete than expected. A carefully planned project will only take twice as long.
    Corollary: If nothing can possibly go wrong, it will anyway.
  9. When the project is going well, something will go wrong.
     a. When things cannot get any worse, they will.
     b. When things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.
  10. Project teams detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests their lack of progress.
  11. Projects progress rapidly until they are 90 percent complete. Then they remain 90 percent complete forever.
  12. If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.
  13. If the user does not believe in the system, a parallel system will be developed. Neither system will work very well.
  14. Benefits achieved are a function of the thoroughness of the post-audit check.
    Corollary: The prospect of an independent post-audit provides the project team with a powerful incentive to deliver a good system on schedule within budget.
  15. No law is immutable.


6. Project Management Knowledge

When do we really know how long it will take to complete the project? After we are done!


7. IBM Project Management Axiom

The need for project modifications increases proportionally to project completion.


8. The Salesman

What is the difference between a project manager and a used car salesman? The used car salesman always knows when he is lying.


9. Frogs to Market

Project Management is like pushing a wheelbarrow of frogs to market.


10. Genesis of Failure

In the beginning was THE PLAN.
And then came The Assumptions.
And The Plan was without substance.
And The Assumptions were without form.
And darkness was upon the face of the Workers.

And they spoke among themselves, saying,
“It is a crock of s–t, it stinks.”
And the workers went unto their Supervisors, and said,
“It is a pail of dung, and none may abide the odour thereof.”

And the Supervisors went unto their Managers, saying
“It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong, 
such that none may abide it.”

And the Managers went unto their Directors, saying,
“It is a vessel of fertiliser, and none may abide its strength.”

And the Directors spoke among themselves saying one to another,
“It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong.”

And the Directors went to the Vice-Presidents, saying unto them,
“It promotes growth, and it is very powerful.”

And the Vice-Presidents went to the President, saying unto him,
“This new plan will actively promote the growth and vigour of the company, with powerful effects.”

And the President looked upon The Plan, and saw that it was good.
And The Plan became policy.

And that is how S–t happens.”


11. Improvements on Beating a Dead Horse

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.” However, in many organizations a range of far more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

  • Buying a stronger whip
  • Changing riders
  • Saying things like, “This is the way we have always ridden this horse.”
  • Appointing a committee to study the horse
  • Arranging to visit other sites to see how others ride dead horses
  • Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included
  • Appointing a tiger team to revive the dead horse
  • Sending riders to training sessions to improve riding ability
  • Comparing the state of dead horses in today’s environment
  • Changing the requirements to declare that “This horse is not dead.”
  • Declaring that “No horse is too dead to beat.”
  • Reclassifying the dead horse as “living impaired”
  • Doing a Cost Analysis study to see if contractors can ride the horse more cheaply.
  • Purchasing a product that claims to make dead horses run faster
  • Hiring an outside contractor to ride the dead horse
  • Harnessing several dead horses together to increase the speed
  • Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance
  • Forming a quality circle to find uses for dead horses
  • Saying “This horse was procured with cost as an independent variable.”
  • Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance
  • Declaring that the horse is “better, faster and cheaper” dead (i.e. as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the mission of the organisation than do some other horses)
  • Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses
  • Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position…


12. How Done Are You?

The first 90 percent of a project schedule takes 90 percent of the time.
The last 10 percent takes the other 90 percent of the time.


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Hi, I am Stefania, hearth and keyboard behind Tipsographic, a free online resource for everybody interested in project management and agile. I specialize in project management tips, tools, and tricks. When I'm not writing, you can find me road cycling around Tuscany or spending time with friends and family.

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