When All You Have is the Pareto Principle

In 1906, 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

80% of the people use 20% of a given software’s features.

80% of sales is generated by 20% of your salespeople.

80% of computer processing time is spent running 20% of a program’s code.

80% of your business should come from 20% of your customers.

80% of the work is done by 20% of the people.

80% of the quality comes from 20% of the effort.

80% of users’ information needs are served by 20% of a website’s content.

80% of delays in schedule arise from 20% of the possible causes of the delays.

80% of horse races are won by 20% of the jockeys.

Web analysts should spend 80% of their time doing analysis and only 20% reporting.

Ideally, 80% of what a videogame is about is shown in the first level.

Eat until you are 80% full and 20% empty.

20% of the references to Pareto Principle will incorrectly apply it in situations where there is not a corresponding 80% input or output, as shown in the last three examples above. Considering the previous sentence to be an application of the Pareto Principle would be another example of that error.

3 thoughts on “When All You Have is the Pareto Principle

  1. Oh, Stephen. If you were really going to be funny with your Pareto principles, you would have had two correct assertions and eight incorrect ones, each linked to different lolcats.

    I’m disappointed. 😉

    [Ever wondered, being a Pareto principal, if the reason that you’re part of the 20% doing 80% of the work is that you can’t delegate?]

  2. I think it’s just that 20% of the world are grunts and 80% is management, so the management knows exactly how to delegate.

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