Hofstadter's Law

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

-- Douglas Hofstadter, 1979

First coined in Hofstadter’s book Gödel, Escher, Bach, this law nods at the difficulty of accurately estimating the length of software projects. It’s self-referential in a way that Gödel especially would have appreciated. Indeed, advice to rising software managers commonly suggests adding a “buffer” to their estimates. This law suggests that the buffer will never be enough. Zawinski’s Law may provide an explanation for this phenomenon: even when developers complete their tasks within the estimated time, software bloat will cause the project to expand and then overflow the buffer.