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Murphy´s Law

… and other cool stuff

Here are two quite good resources:

And here ...

Murphy's Laws and Other Observations
(My personal favourite selection of obvious truth)

Murphy's Laws
If anything can go wrong, it will.
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the first one to go wrong.
If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

Schnatterly´s Summing up of Murphy´s Laws Corollaries
If anything can´t go wrong, it will.

Nagler´s Comment on the Origin of Murphy´s Law
Murphy´s Law was not propounded by Murphy, but by another man of the same name.

O'Toole's Commentary on Murphy's Laws
Murphy was an optimist.

Weiler's Law
Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.

Golub's Laws of Computerdom
A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned project takes only twice as long.
The effort required to correct course increases geometrically with time.

Osborn's Law
Variables won't; constants aren't.

Gilb's Laws of Unreliability
Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.
Any system that depends upon human reliability is unreliable.
Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.
Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or until someone insists on getting some useful work done.

Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology
There's always one more bug.

Gumperson's Law
The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its desirability.

Gummidge's Law
The amount of expertise varies in inverse ratio to the number of statements understood by the general public.

Zymurgy's First Law of Evolving System Dynamics
Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can
(old worms never die, they just worm their way into larger cans).

Kaiser´s Comment on Zymurgy:
Never open a can of worms unless you plan to go fishing!

Sattinger's Law
It works better if you plug it in.

Horner's Five Thumb Postulate
Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.

Rule of Accuracy
When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps if you know the answer.

Westheimer's Rule
To estimate the time it takes to do a task:
estimate the time you think it should take, multiply by two and change the unit of measure to the next highest unit.
Thus, we allocate two days for a one hour task.

Stockmayer's Theorem
If it looks easy, it's tough.
If it looks tough, it's damn near impossible.

Brooke's Law
Adding manpower to a late software makes it later.

Finagle's Fourth Law
Once a job is fooled up, anything done to improve it will only make it worse.

Featherkile's Rule
Whatever you did, that's what you planned.

Booker´s Law
An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction.

Peter´s Placebo
An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.

Klipstein´s Sixth Law
A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.

Boob´s Law
You always find something in the last place you look.

Hellrung´s Law
If you wait, it will go away
Shavelon´s Extension
... having done its damage.
Grelb´s Addition
If it was bad, it will be back

Grossman´s Misquote of H.L. Mencken
Complex problems have simple, easy-to-understand wrong answers.

Rune´s Rule
If you don´t care where you are, you ain´t lost.

Naeser´s Law
You can make it foolproof, but you can´t make it damnfoolproof.

Perrussel´s Law
There is no job so simple that it cannot be done wrong.

Higdon´s Law
Good judgement comes from bad experience.
Experience comes from bad judgement.

Meskimen´s Law
There is never time to do it right, but there´s always time to do it over.

Young´s Law of Inanimate Mobility
All inanimate objects can move just enough to get in your way.

Hoare´s Law of Large Problems
Inside every large problem is a small problem struggeling to get out.

The Schainker Converse to Hoare´s Law of Large Problems
Inside every small problem is a large problem struggeling to get out.

Big Al´s Law
A good solution can be successfully applied to almost any problem.

Biondi´s Law
If your project doesn´t work, look for the part you didn´t think was important.

Baxter´s Law
An error in the premise will appear in the solution.

McGees First Law
It´s amazing how long it takes to complete something you are not working on.

The Pitfalls of Genius
No boss will keep an employee who is right all the time.

The Lippman Dilemma
People (tend to) specialize in their area of gratest weakness.

Things that can be counted on in a crisis
Marketing says yes.
Finance says no.
Legal has to review it.
Personnel is concerned.
Planning is frantic.
Engineering is above it all.
Manufacturing wants more floor space.
Top Management wants someone responsible.

Patton´s Law
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

The Fourth Truth of Management
If sophisticated calculations are needed to justify an action, don´t do it.

Kirby´s Comment on Committees
A committee is the only life form with twelve stomachs and no brain.

First Law of Debate
Never argue with a fool - people might not know the difference.

Miller´s Law
Exceptions prove the rule - and wreck the budget.

Wisdom consists of knowing when to avoid perfection.

Fox´s second rule of Decisiveness
To decide or not to decide is a decision.
To fail to decide is a failure.

Segal´s Law
A man with a watch knows what time it is.
A man with two watches is never sure.

Levy´s First Law
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

Meyer´s Law
It´s a simple task to make things complex, but a complex task to make them simple.

The 90/90 Law of Project Schedules
The first 90 percent of the task takes 90 percent of the time,
and the last 10 percent takes the other 90 percent.

Cheop´s Law
Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.

Extended Epstein-Heisenberg Principle
In an Research and Development orbit, only two of the existing three parameters can be defined simultaniously.
The parameters are task, time and resources.

  1. 1. If one knows what the task is, and there is a time limit allowed for the completion of the task, then one cannot guess how much it will cost.
  2. If the time and resources are clearly defined, then it is impossible to know, what part of the task will be performed.
  3. If you are given a clearly defined goal and a definite amount of money that has been calculated to be necessary for the completion of the task, you cannot predict if and when the goal will be reached.
    If one is lucky enough and can accurately define all three parameters, then what one deals with is not in the realm of R&D.

Pareto´s Law
Twenty percent of the customers account for 80 % of the turnover.
Twenty percent of the components account for 80 % of the cost.

Poulsen´s Prophecy
If anything is used up to its full potential, it will break.

Eng´s Principle
The easier it is to do, the harder it is to change.

The Basic Rule of Construction
Cut it large and kick it into place.

MacPhersons Theory of Entropy
It requires less energy to take an object out of its proper place than to put it back.

Rudnicki´s Rule
That which cannot be taken apart, will fall apart.

Ray´s Rule for Precision
Measure with a micrometer.
Mark with chalk.
Cut with an axe.

Law of repair
You can´t fix it if it ain´t broken.

Rule of Intelligent Tinkering
Save all the parts.

Lowery´s Law
If it jams - force it.
If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.

Anthony´s Law of Force
Don´t force it; get a larger hammer.

Cahn´s Axiom
When all else fails, read the instructions.

The Principle Concerning Multifunctional Devices
The fewer functions any device ist required to perform, the more perfectly it can perform those functions.

Wethern´s Law
Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups

First Law of Systemantics
A complex system that works is invariably found to have envolved from a simple system that works.

Second Law of Systemantics
A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.

Mr. Cole´s Axiom
The sum of intelligence on the planet remains a constant; the population, however, continues to grow.

Van Roy´s Law
An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

If you are able to distinguish if an advice is good or not, you do not need advice.

Churchill´s Commentary on Man
Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.

Alice Kahn said:
"For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.


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