Murphy's law for programmers

21 Nov 14

Murphy's law in the life of a programmer useful for every Friday 5pm EOD.

  • 1. Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
  • 2. Any given program costs more and takes longer.
  • 3. If any program is useful, it will have to be changed.
  • 4. If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
  • 5. Any given program will expand to fill all available memory.
  • 6. The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
  • 7. Program complexity always grows until it exceeds the capability of the programmer who must maintain it.
  • 8. If a test installation functions perfectly, all subsequent systems will malfunction.
  • 9. Job control cards that positively cannot be arranged in improper order will be.
  • 10. If the input editor has been designed to reject all bad input, an ingenious idiot will discover a method to get bad data past it.
  • 11. Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.
  • 12. Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
  • 13. A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned project takes only twice as long.
  • 14. (Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology) There is always one more bug.
  • 15. It is impossible to make any program foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
  • 16. When things are going well, something will go wrong.
  • 17. When things just can't get any worse, they will.
  • 18. Anytime things appear to be going well, you have overlooked something.
  • 19. Test functions and their tests should be reproducible -- they should all fail in the same way.
  • 20. If it looks easy, it's tough.
  • 21. If it looks tough, it's damn near impossible.
  • 22. You always find any bug in the last place you look.
  • 23. Anything can be made to work if you fiddle with it long enough.
  • 24. A terminal usually works better if you plug it in.
  • 25. If all else fails, read the documentation.
  • 26. If you do not understand a particular word in a piece of technical writing, ignore it. The piece will make perfect sense without it.
  • 27. No matter how much you do, you'll never do enough.
  • 28. What you don't do is always more important than what you do.
  • 29. Procrastination avoids boredom; one never has the feeling that there is nothing important to do.
  • 30. Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.
  • 31. No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.
  • 32. Nothing is impossible for a man who doesn't have to do it himself.
  • 33. If builders built buildings the way programmers write programs, then the first woodpecker than came along would destroy civilization.
  • 34. Programmers will act rational when all other possibilities have been exhausted.


* From Murphy's law site.

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