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What is Murphy's Law?

Answers (1)

    • Svetlya Anukudinova

      Murphy's Law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as;

      "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong"

      Does your phone always ring when you are rushing toward the washroom?

      Does your PC crash or the internet go slow when you are in the middle of that important meeting with your client?

      Let's understand the theory
      In its simplest form, Murphy's Law states that "If anything can go wrong, it will for sure go wrong". However, as with many successful business theories, the original law has been extended over time to cover specialist areas, several of which are given below;

      • Project Planning: If anything can go wrong, it will. Usually at the most inopportune time.
      • Performance Management: If someone can get it wrong, they will.
      • Risk Assessment: If several things can go wrong, the one you least like to happen will occur.
      • Practical Creativity: If you can think of four ways that something can go wrong, it will go wrong in a fifth way.

      What are the origins of Murphy's Law?
      Believe it or not, Edward J Murphy was a real person. He was a Major in the US Air Force in the 1940s, specializing in development engineering. As much of his work involved testing experimental designs, he was frequently faced with things that didn't exactly go as per the plan. Scholars differ on precisely what words were originally used when the phrase "Murphy's Law" was first coined, but the meaning is clear.

      Furthermore, when Murphy and his team were breaking new ground, they were unable to rely on the kind of tried-and-tested procedures used effectively elsewhere in the military to ensure zero defects. As a result, they had to depend on their own initiative to get things right, and one team member, in particular, could virtually be relied upon to step on the proverbial banana skin. This almost certainly led to the Performance Management application of Murphy's Law.

      How to use the tool?
      There are many situations where you can and usually use Murphy's Law. Here are some situations when you might want to try it:

      • Next time you lose something important, expect that you will find it in the last place you look. Don't be tempted to cut corners by looking there first, though.
      • When standing in the line in a large store with multiple checkouts, expect the other lines to move faster. Try moving to a shorter line as many times as you like, but always expect it to become the slowest.
      • If your laptop has been misbehaving and you take it to your IT Department, expect it to work properly when the IT guy tries it out.


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