90% Right = 0%

The “90% Right Often = 0%” Law

Project management experts have long recognized the principle that all the elements of a project have to be in place (the right external circumstances, the right value proposition, the right customer set and so on) or the project can fail—completely. This little-recognized reality about project risk can be described by the simple formula “90% Right Often = 0.” Proof that the 90/10 Process Law and the 90% Right Often = 0 Law are alive and well is provided by research undertaken at the Product Development Management Association. Here is an excerpt from their research: For new-to-the world products cycle time was reduced from 41.7 months in 1995 to 24 months in 2004. The dramatic decrease in cycle time shows the impact of scientific method-based product development processes, practices and technologies–but it is interesting to note that reducing cycle time in product development time did not improve the profitability of products.” Obviously, scientific-method-based product development technologies and processes have made those in the middle (development) of the new-venture life cycle look good. But as the above PDMA study points out, profits on new products have not increased. New-venture innovation decreasing returns persist, as our first three laws would predict.

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