Choose Solutions That Capture 80% Of The Benefits With 20% Of The Effort

This advice has been quoted for so long it has been graced by the scientific community as a guideline known as Pareto's Law. It shows up in all kinds of places. The numbers may be 80/20 or 70/30 or some other set, but it is amazing how many things in life fall under the umbrella of this rule. When a company selling merchandise analyzes their sales they find 20 percent of items they offer for sale result in 80% of sales dollars. If you are working a research project, 80% of the "meat" or value will come from 20% of the effort (often the first 20%). Elsewhere in this book it was stated "a good plan now is better than a perfect plan some time in the future". Just another reflection of this rule.

If you are low in the pecking order of your organization it is difficult to put this rule into effect on your own authority. If your boss doesn't know that the world runs this way, you may have no options to doing things as your boss says to do it. You may spend a lot of hours on things you know will make little contribution to the final result. If you are farther up on the ladder, however, this rule should guide the selection and execution of many of your projects. Bottom line you are able to produce a lot more results each year, with the same level of resources.

©  2002 John D. Toellner, All Rights Reserved