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Top 25 Project Management quotations

With 20|20 staff having a combined experience of over 300 years in project management, many quotations have been used and quoted on numerous occasions, whether in the training room or during consultations.

Working in the project management training and consultancy industry, we have found that it is often a simple quotation which can inspire, motivate and offer a real perspective. So here are our Top 25 project management quotes which we hope will motivate, inspire or amuse you.


“Operations keep the lights on, strategy provides the light at the end of the tunnel, but project management is the train engine that moves the organisation forward” – Joy Gumz

“Running a project without a work breakdown structure is like going to a strange land without a road map” – J Phillips

“Business Cases are probably being massaged (either by underestimating costs or timeframes or by being unrealistic about the benefits) so projects will be approved” – Bentley & Borman

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing” – W.Edwards Deming


“Have a good plan, Execute it violently, Do it today” – General Douglas McArthur

“Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression” – Sir John Harvey-Jones

“Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face” – Mike Tyson

“Luck is for the ill-prepared”- Arnold Schwarzenegger

“There’s only two things you can start without a plan: a riot and a family, for everything else you need a plan”-  Groucho Marx


“Leadership is the intelligent use of power” – Winston Churchill

“”Only bad generals need heroes” – Berthold Brecht

“The only real training for leadership is leadership” – Anthony Jay

“I can make more generals, but horses cost money” – Abraham Lincoln

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” – Albert Einstein


“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got” – Anthony’Tony’Robbins

“I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road” – Stephen Hawking

“It is not necessary to change, survival is not mandatory” – W.Edwards Deming


“As we know there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we know we don’t know” Donald Rumsfield.

“In the business world, the rear view mirror is always clearer than the windshield” – Warren Buffet


“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place” – George Bernard Shaw

“Only free men can negotiate, prisoners cannot enter into contracts” – Nelson Mandela


“Ambition is the last refuge of failure” – Oscar Wilde

Working style

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking” – Henry Ford

“You have to learn the rules of the game and then learn to play better than everyone else” – Albert Einstein


“Data is like garbage. You’d better know what you are going to do with it before you collect it”- Mark Twain