80/20 -- Quality of Design in Systems Development


Savoie, Michael J.; Sower, Victor E.; Motwani, Jaideep G.   (1990, ASQC)   University of North Texas, Denton, TX

Annual Quality Congress, San Francisco, CA    Vol. 44    No. 0
QICID: 9466    May 1990    pp. 297-302
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Article Abstract

Poor design contributes up to 40% of all quality problems, and between 60% and 80% of all costs are fixed at the design stage. Lack of concentration on quality of design results in time consuming and costly reworking of products, processes, and design plans. The 80/20 design model calls for management to spend 80% of the time and money allotted to a project on making sure that the product is correctly designed, such that it will meet the design objectives. Research has shown that if the money and time are spent up front, the overall cost of the project will decrease dramatically.

Design and development of a computer system is an example of how 80/20 design methodology works. If management takes a 20/80 approach to design, 20% of the time and money devoted to system development is spent analyzing computer needs and purchasing the computer system. The remaining 80% of the budget is devoted to trying to get the computer system integrated into the business system of the organization. This approach usually results in a system, which if it works at all, is over-budget and over-price.

A better approach to system development is to perform a business analysis before selecting the hardware or software. By spending 80% of time and money analyzing the needs of the entire business, a system is developed which can be integrated with existing systems and meet the needs of the entire company. This amount of up-front effort results in a system which requires less implementation and debugging time (20% of the budget) and will usually result in a much lower overall cost of the system. By performing 80/20 analysis, the company can increase quality and performance without the costs associated with incorrect design or purchases of wrong equipment.

This paper describes an eight step process for system development (see Figure 1). It outlines parameters management can use to ensure proper design quality. Costs/Benefits analysis is used to compare current design approaches with the 80/20 model. A final section discusses the universality of the model and describes future applications of quality of design in the workplace.


Human resources (HR)

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