Date: 25th Mar 2017

A follow on from a previous article which gives you some examples to illustrate Pareto's Law


Examples of Pareto's Law in action

1. 80% of value is achieved with the first 20% of effort

Project teams commonly report that a task is almost completed after a short time. A long time may well pass before they report any further progress or results.

2. 80% of project politics come from the 20%

Political struggles often originate with a few, there often seems to be a breakaway group, often small in number.

3. 80% of problems originate with 20% of projects

Some projects are far more problematic than others. There may be small glitches within a program which cause the majority of the issues.

4. 80% of work is completed by 20% of your team

The observation that there is often a wide performance gap between your top performers and the rest of your team. This is evident in so many teams -  take a sports team for example and a “top scorer”. They may well score 80% of the goals. However, the most hard-working team members may be those in defence who do 80% of the defensive work.

5. 80% of software problems are caused by 20% of bugs

The observation that most problems are caused by a handful of serious bugs. These days we use so much technology yet it is only a small percentage of that technology responsible for the problems such as viruses.

6. 80% of customers only use 20% of software features

Most users don’t use all of the features in a program. In many cases, they don’t understand how to or take the time to learn. For example Microsoft Excel or Word… How much do you really use?? Same is true of Photoshop etc…

7. 80% of sales come from 20% of your clients

Many businesses are dependent on their largest accounts. I can concur in my own business. The “Big Money” clients make up around 20% and the smaller earning 80% of my clients.

8. 80% of sales come from 20% of your products

In my own energy brokerage, around 80% of sales are using 20% of my suppliers. Yes I have a wide range of suppliers but the ones that are easiest to deal with, which provide the best customer service and value fall into the 20% bracket.

9. 80% of sales come from 20% of your salespeople

How many sales companies have their Superstars? They are the small minority within that organisation. Think of an MLM company and the “Big Earners”. The majority will try and emulate that minority but that minority will have the discipline that is needed to succeed when the chips are down.

10. 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers

This is a commonly cited customer service rule of thumb. Most people that are customers will be satisfied with the service they receive, but there will always be a minority that will find fault in anything you do.

12. 80% of wealth is owned by 20% of people

Pareto’s 1906 observation that 80% of Italy’s wealth (land) was controlled by 20% of people has held up extremely well. Today, 20% of the world’s population controls 82.7% of wealth. I have read some interesting articles about the spread of wealth in cities such as London and the small minority own the majority of the properties.


So if you take stock of where your efforts are being made, think about the 20% group where 80% of your results are coming from. We tend to concentrate more of our time on the 80% group that isn’t delivering the results, thinking we can bring them into the high earners in that 20% group. Don’t get drawn into neglecting the sales person that is getting you 80% of your sales, so don’t just spend 20% of your time on them.

If an ex is causing you 80% of your heartache, don’t spend 80% of your time on him/her and neglect the important person or people that you are only giving 20% as a result. Because that person you are neglecting will be giving you at least 80% of your happiness and stability.

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Written By

Gary Dwyer

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