My 11 Favorite Eponymous Laws

  • Amara’s law — “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run”.
  • Brooks’ law: “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”
  • Conway’s Law : “Any piece of software reflects the organizational structure that produced it.”
  • Edwards’ law: “You cannot apply a technological solution to a sociological problem.”
  • Goodhart’s law: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”
  • Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”
  • Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle: “States that one cannot measure values (with arbitrary precision) of certain conjugate quantities, which are pairs of observables of a single elementary particle. The most familiar of these pairs is the position and momentum.”
  • Keynes’ Law: “Demand creates its own supply.” (The economists’ version of Gibson’s ‘the street has it’s own use for things’)
  • Parkinson’s law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
  • Sturgeon’s revelation: “90 percent of everything is crap.”
  • Winer’s rule of alternatives: “One way to do something, no matter how flawed that way is, is better than two, no matter how much better the second way is.”Two is more than twice as bad (Note: Thanks Dave!I need to find a proper citation for this. Google wasn’t helpful)

Update 11 Aug 2008
I’m interested in the relationship between Sturgeon’s Relevation and the Pareto Principle (i.e the 80-20 rule).

6 thoughts on “My 11 Favorite Eponymous Laws

  1. great list – one to add that my old CD lived by:

    “Nine out of ten ideas are bad ones, no matter who they come from. That’s why we’re professionals. We come up with thousands of ideas so a few will turn out.”

  2. Winer’s rule of alternatives is now emblazoned across my cubicle whiteboard. Not like anyone will notice. They’re too busy calling meetings to discuss how we’re going to develop procedures for out multiple lines of business. ;P

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