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95/5 Rule

by Mountain Computers Inc., Publication Date: Sunday, May 3, 1998

View Count: 1252, Keywords: Small Business Education Time Management, Hashtags: #SmallBusinessEducationTimeManagement

95/5 Rule

May 3, 1998

The rule is about successful project management. Since 1998 through today this rule has been used in various situations to avoid project team attrition along with short and long term financial impacts.

This rule is to be used in rare situations when a project is so complicated and frustrating that the project team is about to lose faith in its ability to complete the project at all.

95/5 Rule: When the project achieves 95% completion, and 5% remains, call the project complete: 100%

WHEREAS, a team will also try to spend 95% of their energy on the last 5%. That is ridiculous.


Why the pain? Let the project team catch their breath and recover from what it took to get to 95%. They know the truth that 5% is due yet they need to pull back, take a break and reflect on the challenges and re-attack them with new vigor.

This is an amazing rule that I came up with after 7 years of project management at Microsoft where deadline dates were unorthodox and unrealistic, and stakeholders realized that teams were no longer interested in projects that were necessary to move the company forward. For me, this ability allows me to negotiate the team deliverables and continue the savings while keeping the risks and costs minimized. The remaining 5% is not forgotten, just re-assigned and assessed and the top project team members with proteges are assigned to finish the project to the true 100%.

In most cases a simple project can be achieved to 100% yet a complicated project can be grueling.

The nuances of using the 95/5 rule requires excellent project management experience and absolute stakeholder trust.

more to come...


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