The term 80/20 rule is widely used now in all walks of life to describe relationships between “causes and effects” and “efforts and results” but what is the rule ? and what are the uses and limitations in business analysis?
What is it? Well firstly few things are ever exactly 80% or 20% the rule is a general guide, a rule of thumb. For example;
- It could be the relationship between number of complaints versus the type issues or it could be the number of losses versus the type of problems. So maybe around 80% of the customer complaints that are documented relate to the same 20% of issues. Therefore fixing the top 20% of issues would reduce 80% of the complaints.
- Or maybe it is looking at where to invest your precious IT resources, analysis might show a particular business process is responsible for 80% of the work, the other business process account for the remaining 20% of the work.
- Or it might be 80% of the rework a business process has to do relates to one or two upstream teams, so these should be the ones to focus on.
In current state analysis 80/20 rule will appear repeatedly in any metrics that are collected, if not exactly 80% this or 20% that there will definitely be themes and patterns that will emerge. When looking at solutions they same things will apply, fixing a handful of key things can have a big benefit.