Project Management

Pareto's Principle (Part 1)

Richard L. Diamond & Jennifer S. Diamond

Joe, CIO at ABC Tech, sank into a chair in CFO Ann's office. "I wish we had a more energetic team for this project. The implementation is so important, and we just got through defining requirements and people want to throw in the towel!"


Ann bristled. "Well, they'd be happier if your team wasn't already telling the users they can't have what they need. We haven't even gotten into prototyping and all we hear is that our requirements don't make sense."


Joe snapped back, "Well, if we had unlimited time, money and developers, you're right, we could build a miracle system that can make all the accountants obsolete!"


Ann stood. "This is the problem. Right here. How can you know what it will cost if you don't even listen?" She stalked out of her own office and slammed the door.

Make vs. Buy, Projects Still Fail
Even if the relationship isn't as bad as Ann and Joe's, there are few CIOs who don't know the frustration of a combative relationship with users during scope setting phases. Fear of overcommitting or letting users even think beyond the immediate to overset expectations drives playing it cool and pushing back early. Business unit leaders get frustrated with IT, and reputations all around suffer. And it's all so avoidable, if we go back to basics.

In the early 1900s, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto identified that a "significant…

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