Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law — Douglas Hofstadter,

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid^{}

Hofstadter's Law is actually about self-referencing systems. The statement about *how long it takes* is a self-referencing statement.

The #NoEstimate community uses it as an example that *you can't estimate, because even when you do it's going to be wrong*.

This of course willfully ignores the principles, practices, and processes of mathematical estimating. Both Parametric and probabilistic estimating.

In both these paradigms, parametric and probabilistic, uncertainty is the core driver of variance both Irreducible and Reducible uncertainties.

Here's the well-known approach to managing in the presence of uncertainty

- Irreducible uncertainty can be addressed with
*Margin*. Cost margin, schedule margin, technical performance margin. - Reducible uncertainty can be addressed with redundancy,
*risk retirement*activities, that*buy down*the risk resulting from the uncertainty to an acceptable level.

In both cases, *managing in the presence of uncertainty* means following Tim Lister's advice...

Risk Management is how Adults Manage Projects

So when Hofstadter's Law is used without addressing the reducible and irreducible uncertainties and the resulting risk to project success, the result is Hofstadter's Law.

A self reference circular logic leading directly to project disappointment