The Pareto principle, better known as the 80/20 rule, is quite common and can be applied in almost every field of life. The rule maintains that 20% of efforts give 80% of the result, and the remaining 80% give only 20% of the outcome. It sounds great, but is it practical when it comes to the IT industry? Well, let’s explore this theory more profoundly to see the real benefits of the Pareto principle in software engineering.
80/20 rule in software development
Statistics show that users never use 45% of an app’s features, 19% are in rare use, 16% are used occasionally, while only 20% are used frequently or always. Based on this statistic, we can sum up that if we focus on 20 percent of the core functionality of the app, we can get real benefits and guarantee its further development. The remaining 80% of features will serve as additional bonuses for more sophisticated users.
The Pareto principle serves to improve the overall software process throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). This finding has heavily influenced the Agile management model, where 80% of the team’s efforts are focused on what is essential at any stage of the product’s development.
The 80/20 rule in Agile is a flexible solution that helps make the development process more efficient and reliable. It helps not to dissolve into unimportant actions and helps to choose most suitable approaches to organizing the development process. In this case, the time spent on the main functionality will take 80 percent, while the rest 20 percent will be used to polish the remaining additional features.
Minimum viable product & the Pareto principle
The Pareto principle is perfectly suited for planning the general concept of a future software project. Minimum Viable Product or MVP is an excellent illustration of how we can reduce total tech & human resources for the software development, but at the same time understand what really matters to the end-user, before the app goes live in production.
This approach helps us explore the fundamental needs of the target audience in the first stages of the software development, while all further improvements or additional features (80%) will be introduced to the application only after analyzing the feedback from early users.
One of the key advantages of the MVP is to allow you to listen to your clients attentively. They will give you the accurate data, not just a hypothesis. It prompts you to search practical business solutions, which then will be appreciated by users of your product.
With the Minimum Viable Product, you can determine in time what features you can define as basics (20%), and which ones could be removed altogether. The performance and successful development of the project will not be harmed in any way; instead, it will greatly benefit.