The 80-20 Rule

In software, we have a 80-20 rule which i came across in some book a couple of years back . Basically it states :
The last 20% of the code takes 80% of the time.
Hmm.. now you know why we always miss the targets and the projects go into the 'bug-fix' phase and then keeps in it ;-)

So, this started me thinking... are there are other ways this rule can be generalized ?

Lets take wealth...
80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the people !

Wow ! Makes sense.

Lets take class results. only 20% of the class will be in the top (80% and above).

Now , we come to the performance of people. We have a lot of people saying that a person is giving 150% or 200% into the work and that is why he is doing so good. Actually its not that. An average person puts in only 80% of the work ( hey the code is good enough!). A performer just does that 20% extra and that is where the whole difference lies.

So, if its yourself you are looking at and thinking how you can be better - just identify the 20% you are not doing, and do it ! Its a simple secret for becoming good at whatever you are doing.


  1. Hey
    i read this rule quiet some years back when i was in school and after that i have heard it being referenced. It is not to read it again in ur post. So what is the extra 20% effort that u need to add to make life successful?
    It is one thing to know that one has to put extra 20% but it is another thing to realise that if one puts extra 20% now in a particular task, one would be a performer or task would be completed brilliantly. How does one get to know that one now needs to add extra 20%?
    What do u say buddy?

  2. its not 'now' that one needs to add the extra 20%. its always. As to how to identify it - simple. If you are not getting the correct results even after putting in lots of efforts - then you are looking at the wrong 20%.