Scrum 101: The 80/20 Rule

The principle of the 80/20 rule is 80% of the whole, or value, comes from 20% of the execution. Also known as the “Pareto Principle,” this rule is intentionally vague because, as discussed by Kevin Kruse in Forbes, it’s found everywhere. From an execution and product standpoint, Scrum applications of the 80/20 rule vary. The rule could mean a minority of the development team will interact with the majority of your tasks. The rule could also imply that a small subset of your bugs will interfere with users the most. Like laws of nature, these elements occur naturally, but the true value of the 80/20 rule is when you actively exploit it to improve your overall Scrum developing & delivery process.

The 20

Scrum is aligned to exploit the Pareto Principle. The time constraints of a sprint paired with the pressure to produce a high-functioning product can be daunting. Sometimes, these constraints lead to engineers building around requirements instead of developing a solution. Then, post-review, the developers can make their case for further enhancements for the next sprint. This candid conversation fosters an environment of simplicity and team efficiency.

Now the developers and the project can stay on track for delivering not just a product, but the value to the client. The Scrum process empowers the team to keep building the 20% that matters and to cast a critical eye towards scope creep. This attitude is not easy. As we know, many developers feel like the task’s not finished until it can cook itself dinner (wouldn’t that be great?). By setting good task definitions, the value-based solution development can be achieved!

The 80

Kinney Group strives to connect our work directly with our stakeholder’s needs and objectives. We developed “The 3 ROIs Framework” to make that happen. Through the framework, our Kinney team outlines the financial, human, and business objectives of our customers on every project we deliver. The 3 ROIs Framework is further enhanced by Scrum teams that fully exploit the 80% value to deliver the unexpected experience to our clients.

By nurturing an environment for candid feedback between developers, product owners, and users, the team can identify key features that are punching above their weight. These are your “special treatment” features. These features may take additional interface work or enhancements towards improvement. Although they may seem small, these features can improve first impressions towards the overall product. This precision can turn your application from a jack of all trades to an instrumental piece of software, strengthening your client’s mission, financial, and human goals.

Again, this laser focus is at odds with developer behavior behind building the complete picture, requiring user feedback. It is important for product owners to take on the role of championing the users’ needs and equally important for the development team to listen.

The Takeaways

Of course, the 20% of this post that provides 80% of the value is the wrap-up summary. Take these tips and help shape your Scrum and project delivery processes:

  • Re-enforce iterative development. This will ensure each sprint is forcing developers to take the short, simplest routes. Then, they can re-assess in the next sprint if additional work is actually needed.
  • Have candid conversations with your Product Owner and users. These folks will lead you to find the 20% of your product that provides 80% of value.
  • Prioritize work that aligns with the 20% features. You want your solution to shine for users. Always have a bias to improving this feature over adding additional bells and whistles.
  • Gather your ROIs from your client and start by discussing the 80/20 features.

At Kinney Group we design, build, and integrate IT infrastructure solutions for some of the most demanding government agencies and commercial organizations in the country. As an organization, we develop our solutions through Scrum and agile best practices and delivery. By leveraging next-generation technologies, adopting proven engineering practices, and agile development principles, we create custom solutions and world-class environments for data.

Want more information on how we can put that power to work for you?

Start typing and press Enter to search