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The failure of Murphy’s Law

Toby Elwin Blog, Organization Behavior, Portfolio Planning 7 Comments

Toby Elwin, Murphy's Law, Humphrey's, Conway's, Brook's, Law

Wile E. fought the law and the law won, again and again and again …

Murphy’s Law sets the following: “anything that can possibly go wrong, does.”

I do not believe in Murphy’s Law.

The only law I do believe in is the law of gravity.

Gravity affects all. Murphy does not.

When things get bent Murphy takes too much credit (blame) when the more likely result being a symptom of poor planning and failure further upstream and far earlier than Murphy ever came on the scene.

Were you aware that Murphy has company? There are 3 inputs that increase likelihood of Murphy laying the law down on your project.

Murpy’s Law and Order

Though often associated with software development, here are 3 laws with gravity over Murphy:

  1. Humphrey’s LawThe User Does Not Know What They Want Until Production
  2. Conway’s LawThe Structure of the Organization That Designs is Constrained To Produce Copies of That Organization Structure
  3. Brooks’ LawAdding Manpower To A Project Delays The Project Even Further

The 3 reveal Murphy is more symptom than law and more excuse than lawful credibility. Murphy was bound to show up sooner or later when these other laws were in play.

Gravity works equally and against all, without prejudice. Murphy? Well, stop inviting him and he is less likely to join the party.

postscript:  I’ve not forgotten Ziv’s Law, but left it for another source of Murphy’s frustration.

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