best-laid plans go astray, the

the best-laid plans go astray

Said when something ends poorly or differently than expected, despite preparations for success. It is an abbreviated version of the full proverb "the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." I always thought our marriage was stable and that we'd be together forever. I guess it's true what they say, though, even the best-laid plans go astray. A: "I've been working on this project for six months, and now, right before it's due, they tell me they want something completely different." B: "That's rough. Even the best-laid plans go astray, I suppose."
See also: astray, plan

best-laid plans go astray, the

Also, the best-laid schemes go astray. Even very careful designs or projects do not always succeed. For example, Mary spent all afternoon preparing this elaborate dish but forgot the most important ingredient-oh well, the best-laid plans go astray . This particular turn of phrase comes from Robert Burns's poem "To a Mouse" (1786): "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley [go often astray]." It is so well known that it is often abbreviated to the best-laid plans.
See also: plan