2080 (software concept)

2080 (software concept)

The 2080 software concept was developed from 2005 by elaborating on the existing Pareto principle, or "80/20" rule which states, in short, that in IT projects 80 per cent of the work is done before 20 per cent of completion time, and the remaining 20 per cent will take up 80 per cent of the time. While known to developers, this rule often creates a lot of frustration with managers. The 2080 Development concept further elaborates this principle to include functionality, make or buy decisions, and prototypes using agile methods.

Practice

When applied to build-or-buy for software, 2080 tends to favour building based on the preamble that off-the-shelf software (be that open source or proprietary) does indeed include — usually — about 80% of the required functionality. It is tempting to say that this makes an unbreakable case for taking an off-the-shelf solution and making it fit your needs. This does however not take into account the 2080 rule. Because we tend to think 80% of functionality is there, we think we are almost done by paying our license. The 2080 rule claims this wrong. The 20 missing percent of functionality will take up 80% of the build time. This is especially true since the "shelf" product we use was not built with our specific needs in mind, but more likely to fit as many customers as possible, as good as possible — but never perfectly. Hence, instead of thinking you can cut 80% of a development budget by using (or buying) an existing solution, you are more likely to cut just 20% — if the building of extras goes smoothly.

Then again we are still ignoring another 2080 rule: that we are most likely to use just 20% of the existing part. 2080 doesn't go into the discussion of needlessly used diskspace, processing power, or memory. Whilst true, this is usually not an issue in a time when computers still follow Moore's law: We are talking about these features bothering your users. If you use only 20% of Microsoft Word's features, 80% of them are relatively useless. It makes for a lot of searching for the features you do use! We are not talking about rebuilding Word — we are talking about small, company-specific tasks like budget management, holiday-approval, etc., simple basic tasks where every company has its own particularities and hence a huge amount of possibilities need to exist in any shelf application, with only a few being used (and as stated above, the most essential one likely missing).

The 2080 Development method wants to address these issues by using an agile-like approach combined with a fixed project planning, divided in 5 "20%" steps. The first is the prototype step to showcase "80%" of functionality and decide on a go or no-go for the rest of the project. This methodology, however, insists on the importance of the remaining four "20%" parts (duly called, the second prototype, the alpha version, beta version and release version). This five-step approach means to reconcile agile and more traditional methods, by allowing frequent changes and adaptations whilst still maintaining a predefined project scope as is preferred by decision makers.

References:

* [http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=988291 Applying the 80/20 Rule to Your Business]
* [http://www.2080.be/ 2080 Developers Community]

See also

*Agile software development
*Collaborative development environment (CDE)


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