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The 2% Rule

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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:43 pm    Post subject: The 2% Rule Reply with quote

I've often heard about the 80/20 rule (or perhaps its the 20/80 rule),
in which, it is said, 80% of the X comes from 20% of the Y.

So, for instance, 80% of the usage of features in a computer program
comes from 20% of the features.

What this rule suggests is not sweating the small stuff, making your
efforts directed toward the things that really matter.

Still, if you've got the "big stuff" under control, you might as well
tackle the little stuff as well. The 2% rule is a suggestion for a
cut-off of refining the small stuff. If you are working to get that
last 2% of sales, or efficiency, you're probably missing out on
a lot of other opportunities.

Another example in software applications. We'd all like them to
be perfect: clear, concise, fast, understandable, effective, etc.
But how much effort should be expended on those last little quirks?
The awkward phrasing of a sentence on a help page, it says
"press return" when my keyboard names it "enter", 4 steps involved
in reformatting a paragraph instead of 3 steps, and so on.

As I write this, it almost sounds like heresy. Lately, I've been
very critical of the quality of software applications I've been using.
But this is in an entirely different thing. I'd love it if these applications
worked at a 98% level.

In summary, if you are looking at undertaking efforts to address
those factors that contribute less than 2% to the overall quality
of the undertaking, take a rest, look around, and see if there isn't
something else to do.
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