Will your 80% Effort fill my 20% GAP – so I can deliver Quality Products On Time…?

I always strive to learn how I can maximize my time, to do more with less and thereby increase my effectiveness.

I recently asked myself, how can I and my Advantu Team – more effectively serve the needs of our clients and their customers?

The answer is a derivation of the Pareto Principle, commonly known as the 80/20 rule – and it makes a ton of sense for those who work in the Engineering world.

I learned this from my friend Jim Butz, a very successful business advisor, who wrote about Dan Sullivan (Strategic Coach) and his observations about the way people tend to approach projects.

Dan said that when people look at a project, they generally find that 80% of what they need to know is already in their core; something they’re already knowledgeable in and requires no further learning.

However, 20% is generally something that they have no idea how to do. It’s not in their core.

Where do you think most people start their project?

It seems that many begin to focus on the 20%. They feel that, since they don’t know this area, and they understand that this could be the difference between success and failure, they should start here.

Dan says that the problem with this, is that this 20% will never be in their core and that, quite often, they will spend 80% of their available time on this 20% of their project.

Many just give up frustrated…

Here is the way that I think about taking on the 20%.

Early in my business career I sat with a business advisor and heard about everything that needed to be done, to start a business and grow it to a successful enterprise. I learned about Accounting, Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, Team Motivation, and so on, because I was eager to start.

I dived in ready to do everything necessary because I was really excited about running my own business.

After I captured my first contract with a new client (providing software testing support) I soon realized there weren’t enough hours in the day for (me alone) to try to learn and master all these areas of a normal business. I saw that I couldn’t master everything and be any good at it…if it wasn’t in my core.

So I reached out for help.

I met an established Sales & Marketing Consultant who taught me how to implement systems for B2B Marketing, and I’ve used her service ever since. I did the same for other areas which were my 20%.

I realized that if I outsource my 20% – I will have more time to focus on my 80% and become far more productive in my area of expertise.

Dan’s recommendation is to find someone whose 80% is your 20% and outsource it to them.

In other words, if Marketing isn’t one of your core skills, (it is not for many of us, including myself), find someone who is an expert at Marketing. For them, it’s what they do daily, will do it faster and with significantly better results than you would do yourself.

It is their 80%; their core. When you do, you’ll find that your 80%, combined with their 80% of your 20% puts you at about a 96% coverage for your problem. Significantly different than if you were to take on that 20% yourself.

Consider the amount of time you would spend working on your weaknesses within your 20% – then think of how that time could be put to use more effectively.

When I talk to Leaders struggling with software delivery challenges beyond their ability to resolve, I ask them how long they’ve been dealing with them and what they’ve attempted to find a solution.

Most often I hear about Google searches, reading a ton of literature in their 20% and trying to become experts in a new discipline that isn’t in their core, and most likely, never will be.

They’re silently going crazy because, in their mind, they’re expected to know how to solve the problem (as the Engineering Leader) and they don’t want to look like a failure to their boss, their team or their clients.

This is what I would call the death of a thousand cuts; you jump in all excited about conquering a major challenge, but over time…because this isn’t in your core…the lack of progress chips away until you feel like a failure.

There just isn’t enough time in a day, and eventually burn-out will be your reward because the skills needed to resolve the challenge aren’t in your core.

If you’re the CTO, VP of Engineering or Director of R&D and you’re dealing with projects continually running late, defects are escaping to production causing rollbacks or worse – ask yourself if Process Improvement is in your 80%.

If not, let experts who have spent their professional career focusing on Process Improvement because it’s in their 80% and they thrive at it – so you can focus on your 80%.

Working together, we will help you overcome those software delivery challenges…so your team can routinely deliver high quality products on budget, on time!

If you’re interested in the following:

  • Shrink your time to market
  • Reduce costly rework time and effort
  • Increase customer satisfaction with your products

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