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Dead Presidents

The Dead Presidents’ Guide to Project Management considers 40 brief lessons that these great men have bestowed upon us. It is the author’s opinion that the job of president of the United States requires a lot of the same strengths and characteristics needed by both project managers and executive sponsors. Most projects need both a strong, skilled executive sponsor and a project manager (or if an organization follows an agile methodology such as Scrum, then a Scrum master and product owner); and both positions can learn from our dead presidents.

Advice Articles

Abraham Lincoln

“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” Abraham Lincoln 


Andrew Jackson

“The people are the government” said Andrew Jackson.

Andrew Johnson

“Washington, D.C., is 12 square miles bordered by reality.” Andrew Johnson 


Franklin Pierce

“Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion.” Franklin Pierce



George Washington

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one,” said George Washington.

James Buchanan

“The ballot box is the surest arbiter of disputes among free men.” James Buchanan 

James Knox Polk

The Presidency is no bed of roses. [James Polk]

James Madison

“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” said James Madison.

James Monroe

"A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue”, said James Monroe.

John Adams

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy,” said John Adams. 

John Quincy Adams

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”, said John Quincy Adams.

John Tyler

“I can never consent to being dictated to.”

Martin Van Buren

“I tread in the footsteps of illustrious men” said Martin Van Buren.

Millard Fillmore

“An exuberance of enterprise should cause some individuals to mistake change for progress.” Millard Fillmore

Thomas Jefferson

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past,” said Thomas Jefferson.

Ulysses Simpson Grant

“My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent.” Ulysses S. Grant


William Henry Harrison

“The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.” William Henry Harrison


Zachary Taylor

“I have no private purpose to accomplish ... nothing to serve but my country.”