View Full Version : Strategy for identifying the 20% big items
10-27-2009, 02:57 PM
In his book, Tim says to identify the few items of key importance by "throwing it all up on the wall and seeing what sticks".
I was wondering if anyone had nailed this down to a science. What is the key strategy for identifying those 20% items currently contributing to 80% of the favorable or unfavorable results in anything.
10-27-2009, 04:00 PM
The ratio is not always 80/20 but it is rarely equal eg 50% of your time/money = 50% of results. And results are not always immediate eg it might cost you a lot of time today - but the long term pay off can be well worth plodding away at it. Or they can be a bit intangible eg time spent going to lunch with someone in exchange for possible future influence.
First of all you have to start monitoring/measuring eg you might keep a diary to see where your time is going and what are the outcomes.
Next look for patterns and anomalies eg if it takes an hour to deal with a customer who is worth $1 to you - perhaps you need to think about "sacking" them.
You're really looking for the things to leap out at you.
10-27-2009, 05:00 PM
From what I'm hearing it's mainly trial and error.
I have noticed just in the past week at my current job that simply keeping my mind on the lookout for these 20% items have dramatically increased my productivity, but it still could be much much better.
Anyone else given thought to this and have other suggestions?
11-02-2009, 01:00 PM
I dont think there can be a real science behind that...
However if you want to start thinkin about it with some kind of tool, maybe you can fill up some kind of grid with :
For each task : amount of time taken
For each task : impact (+ or -). (assess it on a scale from 1 to 10 by example).
Then you would sort it by decreasing impact and compute a % of the total as an increasing sum, you can then see where the cut is in your causes.
Task A - 10 minutes - Impact 9
Task B - 1hr - Impact 3
Task C - 30 minutes - Impact 6
Task D - 20 minutes - Impact 5
Task E - 2 hours - Impact 4
Sort by decreasing Impact
A - 9
C - 6
D - 5
E - 4
B - 3
Total = 27
Cumulative % :
A - 33% (9/27)
A+C - 55% (15/27)
A+C+D - 74% (20/27)
A+C+D+E - 89% (24/27)
A+C+D+E+B - 100% (27/27)
Your 80% impact is somewhere between A+C+D and A+C+D+E. That means that out of your 5 tasks , with 3 of them you have 74% of your impact. In time this represents 1hr out of 3 (total time for all tasks) which is 33%. In this case you don't have 20/80 but 33/74, but that makes it that to achieve 74% of your impact you only have to work 1hr instead of 3.
I hope it makes sense.
11-02-2009, 08:11 PM
This is very interesting Liam. I might look into doing something like that. Thanks for the input.
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