Category Archives: History Lessons

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.Project Management Lessons from History

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. 

A kite flies against the wind, not with it. 

It’s no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary. 

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required. 

Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you. Give me a pig. He just looks you in the eye and treats you as an equal.

I never worry about action, but only about inaction.

The price of greatness is responsibility.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

“The Buck Stops here” – Management Lesson from President Truman | Project Management, History, Lessons Learned, Ankit Vaid, Trueman

Popularized by US president Harry Truman. The phrase is based on the metaphorical expression passing the buck, derived from poker gameplay, that came to mean “passing blame”, or absolving oneself of responsibility or concern by denying authority or jurisdiction over a given matter.

in an address at the National War College on December 19, 1952 Mr. Truman said, “You know, it’s easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done, after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you — and on my desk I have a motto which says The Buck Stops Here’ — the decision has to be made.” In his farewell address to the American people given in January 1953, President Truman referred to this concept very specifically in asserting that, “The President–whoever he is–has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.

Project Management History Lessons - President Truman - Ankit Vaid Blog

President Truman at his desk

Project Management History Lessons - President Truman - Ankit Vaid Blog

The Buck Stops here !

We managers need to make sure the Buck stops at us or know the right person, create right environment to make the buck stop and take final call.

Winston Churchill on – Metrics | Project Management, History Lessons, Ankit Vaid, Blog, Winston Churchill, Agile

“No matter how beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”

Deliver, Quantify, Analyze — Repeat.

Winston has been referred in many Software Metrics books. He coined above quote and was responsible for initiating the process of Retrospectives and Metrics. In many instances he used to make sure after a win, his team creates and analyzes the metrics.




3 lessons on Productivity from Winston Churchill | Project Management, History Lessons, Winston Churchill, Agile, Productivity

Winston Churchill History Lessons

Winston Churchill History Lessons for Project Managers


There are many lessons to be gathered from this leader who was responsible for Britain’s re-org and agile governance during World War II .

For Productivity:

  1. Work Environment Matters:
    Make sure you are comfortable in your work environment.  Winston Churchill used to spend most of his morning in bed.. working. Just make sure you as a manager need to think about n different aspects. in case of distractions do not let it linger and wait for right time for your to get idea or think and write that email. Just make sure you initiate in right place. A laptop on bed, or with morning coffee on dining table or going to near by Coffee Shop to work is always going to help.
  2. Priority – need to be simplified:
    We need to cut the crap, there is a lot on emails from clients, team members with different aspects. Make sure the way people communicate they understand your time and escalation mode in simplified way.

    1. Priority on Email:
      • Ask them to write an email with ** Urgent Question for Ankit** when they email you.
      • Emails create a lot of noise, we are in CC of n-number of emails which we really need not to read and follow up. Make sure team is aware of it.
    2. Priority in Defects / Tasks:
      • Priority and Severity to coins which decide a task to be accomplished most of times create confusions in case your organization is not ready for it. Simply it.. ask for keeping either priority or severity. Define the clear direction to be taken among them.
      • Emails create a lot of noise, we are in CC of n-number of emails which we really need not to read and follow up. Make sure team is aware of it.

      Churchill used throughout his career in government. He used this system to delegate tasks to others, but I look at from the other side. How I handle tasks coming in.

      As Churchill would dictate memos, which he often did while in bed, he would add one of two tags to the memo before it went out. Urgent memos were tagged “Action this day.” For these, he expected a response or action to happen the same day the memo was issued. For less urgent memos, he would tag it (in a different color) “Respond in 3 days.” This meant he expected a response within 3 days of the memo being received.

  3. Message to be brief:
    Churchil used to ask his team to send him not more than 1 page of typed letter. This always used to keep his team on toes to understand and simply the message for him. This helps improve my thinking on the subject, but it also is sensitive to the time of my correspondents.