Whether the 80/20 rule applies depends on the project. For example:
1. You are designing a building. If you leave off 20% of the design, you may end up with a building that lacks the functions you need for it to have.
2. You are buying groceries. If you get the most vital 80% of the list (bread, milk, etc.), you'll probably do all right. You can get the other items on your next trip.
3. You are operating on someone's brain. Getting it less than 100% right is unacceptable to the patient.
4. In my personal opinion, a bank that handles my accounts with only 80% accuracy will soon lose my business.
5. A laundry that gets only 80% of the customer's clothes back to the customer will soon have little business.
6. On the other hand, if I get up 80% of the weeds in my lawn, I'll be delighted.
The problem here seems to be that the organization has made it a rule, which is followed without exception. So vital, central, necessary projects, upon which the future of the company depends get only 80% done, and minor, trivial, nice-but-not-necessary projects get 80% done. In the first case, you kill your company. In the second case, you waste a lot of time on nonessentials.
The management here is trying to make a rule that will do what the managers are supposed to do. It is the job of managers to say when a project has reached an acceptable level of completion, whether that level is 40% or 99% percent.
This kind of thinking is a sign of moribund management.
There was no golden age. There will be no golden age. All ages are
alloys. But some alloys are better, stronger, and more useful than