80 percent from 20 percent or Pareto Principle

questioning pareto principle
Testing the validity of the Pareto Principle

Here is something you can check out on your blog. Check the total number of views of all posts and pages. Find the number of posts and pages that lead to 80% of the views. If you have published quite a lot posts and pages on your blog, chances are that 20% of all your posts and pages leads to 80% of total views. Say hello to the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule.

The principle is named after Vilfredo Pareto, who noted that 80% of land is owned by 20% of the population in Italy, has been found to occur in a lot of natural settings, where you least expect to find a pattern. 80% of sales are made to 20% of customers is a general rule of thumb in business world. And more recent discoveries also confirm the Pareto Principle. For instance, 80% of the world’s income is owned by 20% of the world’s population. So that’s where the money has been hiding!

So where else has the Pareto Principle been found to be applicable? 80% of life changing consequences results from 20% of decision that you make. 80% of the language that you speak, (which ever language it is) is made up from 20% of the entire vocabulary. You can get away learning only 20% of a language, instead knowing the whole dictionary. 80% percent of all program crashes can be attributed to 20% of all the bugs in a program. 80% of a building construction is finished off in 20% of the effort, time and money. This list is really never ending, but in essence, Pareto Principle shows that variables are not distributed evenly in different situations and that some variables have more consequences then others.

Pareto Principle has all sorts of implication in the management world. In risk management, 80% of stochastic consequences can be explained by 20% of the risks identified. Which means that 20% of risks could lead to 80% of the total cost escalation and also schedule variances. Wouldn’t it be great to just identify 20% of all the risks and not care too much about the other 80% because even if they occur, their effect is going to be only around 20%?

Articles and pages that resulted in 80% of the views in this blog is highlighted. This result set doesn’t conform to Pareto Principle (80% of views in this case is from 37% of articles), maybe because of the limited number of articles on the site so far and the limited amount of time.

To conclude, hoping that 80% of you readers understood what the article is about by reading 20% of it.

[7 Oct 2018 update]

Almost two years after this article was written, the articles and site seems to be more inline with the pareto principle. 25% of the articles have generated 80% traffic on the site. 

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