Original Post Date: Monday, September 20, 2010

I have been fortunate in my career to have been associated with some great mentors. Each individual has provided me a bit of a golden nugget to carry with me as I tried to navigate my way through the professional waters. My first “civilian” manager, after I left the service and joined industry, provided me a list of the Laws of Analysis (I had just started a position as an operations research analyst). He explained that this list was a mix of serious and tongue in cheek snippets of wisdom. I looked at the list and thought … “He must be kidding, followed by, Wow this is not politically correct!” But what I realized over time was even the farcical statements were a bit of reverse truth. I have hung this list in every office I have occupied since it was given to me. I provide it here for your consideration and entertainment. Hopefully you too will recognize a golden nugget or two:


1.       Never B.S. yourself

2.       Never use a round number – even though only one significant figure counts

3.       Never tell a small lie

4.       Answers are always more credible if printed on paper with small holes on the sides
(I know this is a throw-back to early mainframe computers and printers – so I am old look beyond it)

5.       When briefing always take someone along to share the blame

6.       Always remind yourself it’s a science

7.       Everything takes twice as long as it should plus a month

8.       The farther a system is from reality the more cost effective it is

9.       Large committees produce only large confusion

10.   If more than one person is responsible for a miscalculation no one will be at fault

11.   If someone isn’t mad at you, you’re not trying hard enough or been on vacation

12.   Never enough time to do it right – always enough time to do it over


After having just worked with a client on estimating software costs for a major program, I found #9 to be especially relevant.

Bob Koury
Senior Cost Research Analyst, PRICE Systems