back to article BOFH: Shove your project managementry up your mailbox!

"So it's agreed then. You'll codify the project and I'll reach out to the developers for the SDK that you need?" the latest IT project manager asks. "By 'codify' you mean I'll write the program and by 'reach out' you mean email?" I respond. "Yes." "Why not just say email?" "I... because I might phone them." "So why not …


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  1. Martin 47

    Hmmmm I can think of lots of meetings that would have been improved by the judicious use, er make that indiscriminate use of a cricket bat.

    1. Callam McMillan

      Cricket bats are a bit unwieldy... Baseball bats on the other hand would be quite effective!

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        There's no edge on a baseball bat........

      2. Iftikar

        Re Callam

        Now I find that a good rounders bat is a decent compromise - it's short enough that you can get a decent amount of power from a short swing, plus it's more easily concealable :)

        1. Blitterbug

          Re: a good rounders bat ...

          In other words, a baseball bat

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The type of bat doesn't matter... much as how many nails it has in it.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Cricket bats versus baseball bats

        While baseball bats may be more comfortable to use, they lack the depth of sound that a cricket bat provides when the PM is dispatched to the boundary....

        1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

          Re: Cricket bats versus baseball bats

          While baseball bats may be more comfortable to use, they lack the depth of sound that a cricket bat provides

          Oh I don't know about that now, the 'oul aluminium (ah-lumi-mun to 'merkins) baseball makes a pleasant sound when it strikes something.

          My own personal favourite is a 6lb copper faced dead blow hammer, the copper face is particularly useful as it doesn't create sparks which could accidentally set fire to the PM's petrol soaked clothes.

        2. lawndart

          Re: Cricket bats versus baseball bats

          Point of clarification, please;

          Is it still counted as a four if only part of the PM crosses the boundary?

          What about if the part that does cross the boundary is not attached to the rest?

          1. Captain Scarlet

            Re: Cricket bats versus baseball bats

            Wish I had some cricket bats, all I am allowed in this H&S culture is a padded baseball thingy.

            Even then when using it I have to raise near miss forms and then have someone assess and say how it can be avoided :(

          2. Stephen W Harris

            Re: Cricket bats versus baseball bats

            The rules of cricket say "the ball" has to cross the boundary, not part of it. Thus the whole PM needs to cross. If the ball splits in half then the umpire must signal a dead ball. If the PM splits in half then the PM is declared DOA at the hospital.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Cricket bats versus baseball bats

              "The rules of cricket say "the ball" has to cross the boundary, not part of it. Thus the whole PM needs to cross. If the ball splits in half then the umpire must signal a dead ball. If the PM splits in half then the PM is declared DOA at the hospital."

              Well if "the ball" has to cross the boundary, the only part of the PM which has to cross is his testicle. The rest is irrelevant, attached or otherwise.

              What if the PM has two testicles? He doesn't, because all PMs are Hitlers, and Hitler has only got one ball (the other is in the Albert Hall). Oh look, Godwin's Law!

              What if the PM is female? Same rules apply: all PMs are Hitlers and therefore have one ball.

        3. Aremmes

          Re: Cricket bats versus baseball bats

          An aluminium baseball bat will produce a thoroughly satisfying *PING* when impacted upon a miscreant's head.

          1. Mike Flugennock

            Re: Cricket bats versus baseball bats

            An aluminium baseball bat will produce a thoroughly satisfying *PING* when impacted upon a miscreant's head...

            Maybe it's a generational thing, but I always thought the sound of an aluminum bat rather wimpy. For my money, there's nothing like the sound of a good old ash Louisville Slugger catching the ball (or a PM's head) right on the sweet spot, about halfway between the label and the tip of the bat -- that "home run sound" as many ballplayers like to call it.

      5. Chika

        A cricket bat is fine if you know how to use it.

        Personally, however, I'm a bigger fan of the big stick with a nail through it (not sure how that translates into Project Management-ese, and that's a fact of which I am pretty proud of!)

        1. Irongut

          Aye ye cannae beat a dod o wood wi a nail thru it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Or as Clint said...

            "I do love a good piece of hickory"

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Or as Clint said...


              "Nothing like a good piece of hickory."

              (It's been a while since my last good Spaghetti Western party.)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          stick and nail

          That would be the incentivizing corrective action implement

        3. Marshalltown

          Best not assume

          I had a fellow take a swing - two actually - at me with a stick with a nail through it. He connected neither time. After I took the stick away from him and removed the nail from it - converted it to toothpicks more or less, he concluded I might be a bit irritated and ran like a hare. I didn't even put him in the hospital.

        4. Tom7

          These all have their place, no doubt, but I find them a bit unwieldy in the confined space of a typical meeting room.

          Consider the advantages a good half brick has to offer. Easily concealed in a laptop bag, where it could be mistaken for a power supply. Still heavy enough that it can do serious damage at the end of a round-arm hay-maker. Easily wielded, no matter how constricted the space or how close the consultant has managed to get. And so easily blameable on the builders doing modifications down the corridor.

          "There's been a terrible accident! He's tripped and hit his head on this half brick the builders left lying around..."

          Bring two of them and you have a "competitive tendering process" ready-made.

      6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        The cricket bar, an elegant weapon from a bygone age - not as clumsy or random as a shotgun

    2. Matthew 3

      You may like the Basic Instructions logo

      Another site, with 'toons, that has the right attitude towards user support. Link

      1. perlcat

        @ Matthew 3

        "Humpification process". Heh.

        His instructions were a tad unclear, though...

    3. Fatman

      RE: indiscriminate use of a cricket bat.

      Nah!! Not me.

      I would suggest the indiscriminate use of an electric cattle prod.

  2. Filippo Silver badge

    Oh God, I have a client that's exactly like that.

    1. Captain Scarlet

      He attacked you for planning a project and adding in lots of extra stuff

      Well i hope you have a good health care package!

  3. RainForestGuppy

    Reminds me ..

    of a line lfrom the Chris Morris' Day-to-Day.

    In response to a managment consultant...

    "Do you have a Armitage Shanks defecation interface experience, or do you take sh*t like the rest of us?"

    1. John I'm only dancing

      Re: Reminds me ..

      Among the many pearls of wisdom from Chris Morris.. a true genius

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Reminds me ..

      I came out with one here a while back:

      "A verbal representation paradigm for exanguination incidents and their postulated relationships with previously established facts."

      Or, put more simply, "stating the bleedin' obvious with loads of wankwords".

  4. Fred Flintstone Gold badge


    OK, this one I must preserve.

    It deserves to be a chapter in the next PRINCE II manual ..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hahahaaaa

      I appreciate its a tech have a bash at PMs site. But this is somewhat bollocks and doesnt align anything like to PRINCE2. The PM doesnt write the business mandate or magic their own budget. It would be the business dictating these and agreeing to the project deliverables, cost and timescales.

      Part of the PMs job is to break down all the bullshit that techs and marketing people love, into what people can understand and deliver.

      So yeah a good laugh but not reality at all and you would just look like a tool in front of a professional PM.

      1. Circadian

        Re: Hahahaaaa (@ac 12:56)

        Really? Really??? Do you really, seriously, honestly-cross-that-shrivelled-thing-that-might-be-a-heart believe that Project Managers actually add anything (except time and misery) to a project. Wow. That's... touching. Really touching.

        "...align anything like to PRINCE2" - and you claim to try to make things understandable?

        "The PM doesnt write the business mandate or magic their own budget" - or, um, do anything useful?

        Maybe I'm unlucky and have never worked under a decent project manager. Or the majority of PMs are genuinely crap at anything other than marketing doublespeak.

    2. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: Hahahaaaa

      The project management methodology formerly known as...

  5. David Haig

    Thank you Simon - Crap week, great Friday now!

  6. K
    Thumb Up

    BoFH rides again..

    Brilliant... Just when I thought BoFH was losing his edge..

    Perfect way to start my Friday morning.

  7. Chris Miller

    What do you mean

    'new wave of project managers'? Didn't they always talk crap??

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What do you mean

      Yes it's always been like that.

      The technical brief, "put one less rock on each layer until you come to a point" - became in management speak:

      Bird with squiggly line, man walking sideways, man with dog head ....... and so on....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Didn't they always talk crap?

      Oh yes, this is ten to twenty years out of date.

      But, none-theless, the best BOFH story for about 18 months. Brilliant.

    3. Marshalltown

      Re: What do you mean

      Well sure. That's why they call it a BM degree. Still, each new generation likes to think they are talking all new, more effective crap.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Arrghh every time I hear the new phrase for 'email' - "reach out and touch base", I keep thinking of the start of Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus.

    "Low hanging fruit" I keep thinking of them in the garden of eden. Arrgghh mine eyes!

    "I'm all over this project" conjures up images of the speaking party as a spider splicer.

    Since when did excel spreadsheets become artefacts? Sounds like something from an Indiana Jones film.

    I dread to think if these people ever tried to build a house - A homo sapien container implementation with interfaced functional area componentry, implemented in brick.

    1. Peter Scott

      Re: Business-ese

      Low hanging fruit - the ones dogs have pissed on

      Blue sky thinking - don't understand the issue in question

      Think outside the box - you're clearly in the wrong box

      1. Chika

        Re: Business-ese

        Low hanging fruit - What you aim at with the stick

        Blue Sky Thinking - We used to call them Airheads

        Think outside the box - Because you surely aren't able to when you are inside it

      2. Mike Flugennock

        Re: Business-ese

        "Think outside the box" was a rather cool expression for about a week; then, suddenly, everybody and their cat was using it.

        Nowadays, it's one of my favorite expressions because I can use it to determine whether or not someone's had a single original thought in their lives. As soon as they say "think outside the box", I can be fairly sure that nothing else they say is worth listening to.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: "touch base"

      How much I loathe this! My usual answer to 'let's touch base' was: 'fuck all will I do! And keep your hand of me.'

      Yes, that was at a time my leaving was already in sight.

  9. John I'm only dancing

    Bullshit bingo

    Management speak is why use one normal word when you can use a rare concoction of meaningless drivel which only appeals to other managers.

  10. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Hahaha, far too many of us will have been in these meetings sometimes. Only one thing, other than non-mindless violence of course, for meetings like this: Bullshit Bingo!

  11. Jedit Silver badge
    Big Brother


    C'mon, we all know it's Charlie Stross under a pen name. We have the evidence.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: "Simon"?

      You know that Bob Howard*'s middle names are Oliver, Francis?

      1. Jedit Silver badge

        Re: "Simon"?

        Indeed, and at one point he had a junior assistant whose initials were PFY.

  12. The Baron

    "I think they're paid by the proportion of their words to yours."

    I think you've cracked it, sir. This goes a long way to explaining many of the things we've been seeing here lately.

    However, this does suggest a couple of interesting potential countermeasures:

    One is to engage in verbosity escalation warfare through the contingent deployment of an over-sufficiency of apposite syntactic units, resulting in the elimination of the offending adversary through their subsequent inability to achieve a high ratio of utterances compared to one's own due to the ultimately finite set of linguistic terms available.

    (That doesn't work, of course, if repeating the same word counts towards the total, but if it's a count of unique words then it could be a winner.)

    The other is to note that division by zero results in an error and therefore say absolutely nothing at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: say absolutely nothing at all.

      Or just grunt?

      Thank goodness I have left all that behind...

  13. Rob

    Project Managers

    I tend to find the phrase I use the most with these folks is 'No, your missing the point'. Which is always because the simple solution has suddenly been over engineered and sprinkled with bullshit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Project Managers


      If they pay attention to you, they aren't really project managers.

  14. Risky

    How do these people sleep at night?

    My favourite quote from their species was "If you take a hypothical system and imagine a hypothical use-case......." I have no idea what came next as I must have fallen into a trance.

    1. pordzio

      Re: How do these people sleep at night?

      If I recall correctly, it was named here "The tech-word buffer" or something like that - overflow the buffer and the brain resets, meaning, you read a really complcated tech text and sleep like a baby in no time.

  15. Gaz Jay


    Very strangely, one of the IT managers at the place I work has actually brought in a cricket bat today.


    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: Co-incidence?

      LART - Luser Attitude Readjustment Tool

      //any similarity to a cricket bat is purely coincidental

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Co-incidence?

        My favourite LART implementation actuality was a meter long length of undersea cabling. Very dense, and very apt for it's purposed intention.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          A great repurposing there!

          Oh, how I hate this "repurposing!"

          I don't think it is management so much as modern-internet. Obviously it wins over reuse or recycle on both syllables and cant.

        2. Fatman

          Re: meter long length of undersea cabling

          Mine was about 2 feet of 500,000 circular mill copper mains wire. Much easier to get at your local big box home improvement store.

  16. Morphius
    Thumb Up

    Ahhhhhh, that is just what was needed for a Friday morn...

    Happy Systems Administrator Appreciation Day to all BOFH out there!

    May your users fall silent (ly down a lift shaft) and your PFYs forget about their promotion plans (through dead mans still smoking boots naturally) for the day!

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      SysAdmin Day

      Mine are getting a fruit basket (although they deserve a trip to the pub and the rest of the day off)

  17. Z-Eden

    BOFH and beer - it's Friday!

    Spot on. Shame the feckless PM didn't get a good KZERRT'ing, but you take what you can!

    1. Jayce and the Wheeled Chairs

      Free BOFH beer it's System Administrator Appreciation Day

      I think El Reg Hacks need a good KZERRT'ing for not reminding everyone of System Administrator

      Appreciation Day today.

      To all BoFH's enjoy the drink of your choice on this special day

  18. Mako

    Buzzword-laden management ad-speak is basically the same thing as slang or gang colours. It identifies you as part of the group, and tells everyone that you belong.

    But it differs from gang colours in that it changes over time. It has to, because there's a risk that less senior people will pick up on it and start to use it, making them look like they belong too. At that point, it's no longer useful for that purpose.

    As an example, if you're a senior manager and some suit comes up to you and starts talking about "due diligence" at the start of a project, you know they're a faker because you and your cronies started calling that process "discovery" a few weeks ago. From that point on, you can safely ignore the random suit because he's not part of your echelon. He's just someone who picked up on your old slang.

  19. Mike Arthur


    This is all depressingly familiar. I'm currently on a large project officially listed as 'Subject matter expert' which apparently translates as the poor bastard that does anything the PMs can't work out where to put.

    I find in most cases you can safely drift off during the project meetings and then use the resulting meeting update email as the basis for whatever you need to do.

    1. perlcat

      Re: /sigh

      yes and no. Like listening to the wife, and nodding at random times and saying "uh huh", "yep", "That's right", "You're right", you can safely coast through until you discover later that you've agreed to paint the house or some other odious chore. (Happened to me.)

      Best idea now is to carry two cell phones, call one from the other, and then look like I'm deep in listening to someone troubleshooting an issue.

  20. Allan George Dyer

    If you need to think outside of the box, doesn't that mean you over-compartmentalised the specification?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Emperor's new verbs (or nouns)

    You mean like the "Core Values" to which many of us are increasingly being subjected. You know the kind of thing: perfectly ordinary words with "definitions" braingrindingly convoluted so they coincide with whatever twisted reality is being promoted at the time.

    God (Or personally selected deity of choice) that's pathetic.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cricket bat? Wimp....

    I am aware of a gentleman who began unstrapping his false leg in a meeting, to use as a cricket bat.....

  23. Amorous Cowherder

    That PM sounds just like Marcus Brigstocke's character in the classic radio comedy, Think the Unthinkable!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    1) Hire Samuel L. Jackson look-a-like.

    2) Dress in suit.

    3) Issue 9mm.

    4) During any meeting, if anybody speaks like that, empower him to draw and say one of the following phases:

    * "Say Paradigm again - I dare you!"

    * "What part of speech is 'incentive'? Does it look like a verb to you? Then why you tryin' to use it like a verb?"


    1. Mako

      Re: Simple solution

      It's a pity I can only upvote you once.

      1. perlcat

        Re: Simple solution

        Nah, the use of 'empowered' proves that he's one of "Them".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Simple solution

          "Nah, the use of 'empowered' proves that he's one of "Them"."

          No, it's just that it is only fair to explain to them what will happen in terms they can wrap their little minds around.

          Besides - what other term would you use in respect to SLJ? "Allow"? You don't "allow" SLJ, he does whatever he damn well pleases.

          (And of course, we can add"

          "Bring me my cattleprod - the one with "BMF" engraved on the handle"


      2. Fatman

        Re: It's a pity I can only upvote you once.

        That's alright, I added one fore you.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Simple solution

      >* "Say Paradigm again - I dare you!"

      Fscking genius!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Say Paradigm again - I dare you

        Could this could be the modern day equivalent of red lorry yellow lorry?

        Repeat, as fast as you can, until I tell you to stop, Paradigm Paradigm Paradigm Paradigm Paradigm...

  25. Jeff Power
    Thumb Up

    Dead ringer

    Gus Hedges - Drop the Dead Donkey.

  26. Hilibnist

    Thinking outside the box...

    ...maybe that's the time to remember why we put some of the ideas outside the box in the first place.

  27. Robert E A Harvey


    It's friday, it's Beer-o-clock, it's BOFH. Life could not be better if there were some unexpected giant sporting event due to start.

  28. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Just now I can really appreciate the value of willow, having just had a project signed off that should have taken a couple of days but was 'project managed' to three weeks.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      One of my colleagues has just completed a 5 day journey to a camp in siberia - by the dodgiest of transport - only to be told to do no work because the scope of work is in dispute.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We are all responsible

    For this garbage.

    Except, of course, for those who have replied, "I didn't understand a word of that. I speak ordinary English, if you want to talk to me, please do the same."

  30. earl grey

    reach out and touch someone

    No, not that one; the other one.

    Ah, nevermind; touch 'em both.

  31. TheTallGuy

    Hmm met a few quite reasonable project manages - had Simon said Change Managers then no amount of violence is enough.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Change is good

    The adolescent twats don't even begin to understand that some of us realised how stupid that idea is forty years ago

  33. unitron

    Change is good

    But folding money's better.

  34. optimus PM

    I worked at PMI

    I worked at the project managment instituion as a senior applications developer. It was by far the worst I.T experience i've had in my entire life. Whats even more frightening is i had an argument with my boss on how actually knowing I.T is critical to managing an I.T project. He disagreed, he thinks you don't need to know anything about I.T in order to manage an I.T project. All the PM needs to do is be a "decision maker". He said. No kidding!!! So when PMI tries to copy facebook it costs them over 7 million dollars to FAIL. Ever wonder why our economy is in the k-rapper? Thats your answer. Don't believe me and want a good laugh? Go to a friend that works in a blue collar/ skilled labor type job, tell them what i just said about project managers not knowing anything and watch the look on their face. Its awesome!!!!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one..

    ..who doesn`t find BOFH funny?

    1. Mike Smith

      Re: Am I the only one..


      Are you a manager?

  36. peony_ic

    Has no one considered

    Using a golf club on Project Managers. If you wear gloves, you can use one of their own clubs, and make a good beating look self inflicted!

  37. bluefoxx

    Truer words

    "I don't think" the Boss starts

    The most honesty on this page

  38. Nigel Campbell

    Percussive stakeholder management

    Known as a 'governance stick' in some circles.

  39. Herby

    Using a Bat

    Of either persuasion (Cricket, or Baseball) is revered to as "Impact Therapy". If applied all at once, it may also be termed "Impulse Impact Therapy".

    As for project managers, they need a constant dose! Multiple times per day!

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