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My Current Top 10 Favorite Quotes

Derek Huether
Reading: My Current Top 10 Favorite Quotes

Everyone Has a List of Their Top 10 Favorite Quotes, Right?

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t hear some awesome quote or analogy.  I put as many as I can into my mental back pocket, hoping for an opportunity to pull one out at a moments notice.  When you’re stuck for a quote or analogy, to help someone understand what you’re trying to say, do you ever ask yourself what’s that awesome quote that I just heard the other day?

Though not all quotes or analogies are applicable to what you do, some are just cool.

Here are 10 that I keep handy.  I actually had a longer list but nobody likes to read really long lists.

Are there any quotes you would like to share?  Please add them to the comments section.

1. Because the needs of the one… outweigh the needs of the many.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Captain Kirk 

I like to use this quote when explaining the contrast between egoism, utilitarianism, and altruism (servant-leadership).

2. The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain. 

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Scotty.

I’m admittedly a Star Trek geek.  I’ve used this once when trying to articulate Lean thinking.  I also segway into the untrue but compelling story of the Million Dollar Space Pen.

3. The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care. 

Office Space, Peter Gibbons.

 I like to use Office Space quotes, particularly when referring to empowered teams and while drinking from my Initech coffee cup.  Mmm’kay? Greeeeat.

4. Luck is not a factor. Hope is not a strategy. Fear is not an option. 

James Cameron

This quote was on the back of the LeadingAgile t-shirts we all wore at Agile 2012.  I still have strangers walk up to me and ask about its origin.

5. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. 

Friedrich Nietzsche

I think of this quote during almost every run I take.  After taking an inventory as to my physical condition, I have a mental debate as to stopping or keep pushing forward. I keep pushing forward.

6. We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney 

I’ve told my son over and over again to challenge the status quo (I don’t call it the status quo because he’s seven) and when given the choice, try new things.

7. When we go into that new project, we believe in it all the way.  We have confidence in our ability to do it right. 

Walt Disney  

The power of positive thinking and an empowered team.

8. Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.

Winston Churchill.  

Another almost identical quote came from Dwight D. Eisenhower….

9. Plans are worthless, but planning is everything

Dwight D. Eisenhower

When I talk about the Agile Manifesto and how should be responding to change over following a plan, this becomes one of my most commonly used quotes.

10. Stable Velocity. Sustainable Pace 

Mike Cottmeyer

This quote appears on the back of the LeadingAgile running shirt. It has become the unofficial motto of my life, as it applies to work, family, and running

Bonus: We don’t need an accurate document, we need a shared understanding 

Jeff Patton 

I was attending Jeff’s session at Agile 2012, when I heard him say this.  It really resonated with me.  I don’t know if the quote was scripted or impromptu.  Regardless, when I recently quoted him at a Project Managment Symposium in Washington DC, I saw over 400 project managers nodding their heads.

Next Introduction to Visual Management and PMI

VP of ALM Platforms; Advisor on #Productivity #Metrics & Tools | Improver of things | Author: Zombie Project Management | Speaker | Podcaster | Always drinking #coffee or #running

Comments (14)

  1. Robert Sfeir

    @derekhuether “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler” – Einstein (First to recognize #agile methods I think :) )

  2. ChimmyWagh

    It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time. – Winston Churchill

    • Derek Huether

      Thanks for the quote!
      Another one I like from Churchill is To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

  3. Cribo

    If we’re in geek mode, try the sayings of Salvor Hardin in the first Foundation novel by Isaac Asimov. His best epigram is “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”. I remember saying this to my mother when I was a smart-alec teenager, so she hit me.

    • Derek Huether

      I wish I had better sayings when I was a smart-alec teenager. I think my favorite saying, as my mother threw shoes at me was “You missed me!”. This did not bode well for me.

  4. Nathan Lockard

    All great quotes. A couple from George Patton:
    “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
    “Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.”

    • Derek Huether

      George S. Patton had some amazing quotes. The latest I’ve read was “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

  5. Rob Klamka

    “If there had been Agile 2500 years ago, a Potentially Shippable Increment of Rome could have been built in a day…” – Me :)

  6. Truth seeker

    “Hope is not a strategy” has been used many times over the years. Giuliani said it at the Republican national convention in 2008. Anther.Rick Page used it as a title for one of his sales and marketing books 2002-2003 that all of us saw in business school and some have indicated that coach Vince Lombardi used it first but I haven’t seen the direct quote. However I wouldn’t be surprised. This seems to be one of the Top Ten plagiarized quotes of all times…….

    • Derek Huether

      Truth seeker, thanks for your comment. To plagiarize, you would have to copy someone and pass it off as your own work. If you don’t know if Vince Lombardi used it first, can you say without doubt that he didn’t hear it from someone as well? I like to think an individual who is quoted provides unique context. The James Cameron quote was three quotes, in combination. This does not diminish what Lombardi or Giuliani said. It reminds me of the advertisement from the late 1990’s from BASF. “We don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.” I think Cameron made it just a little better.

  7. Jon Watts

    Love the quotes you have chosen as your handy 10. There are so many great quotes out there, one recently struck a chord with me. I think it sums up agile and MVP is

    “Don’t worry about getting perfect, just keep getting better.” – Frank E. Peretti, Illusion

    and my personal all time favourite has to be

    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

  8. Syd Salmon

    Great curation. They’re all inspiring, but the quote that resonates the most for me is, “Luck is not a factor. Hope is not a strategy. Fear is not an option. —James Cameron”


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