Vade retro, Pareto ! | Cécile Roche | LinkedIn

Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923)

“Vilfredo Pareto was a respected economist and sociologist, which few people know. He invented the theory of Pareto optimality, which describes a maximum efficiency of the competitive economy. Better known to the general public for his empirical law of 80/20 (in general, 20% of the causes generate 80% of the effects), his reputation is in reality often reduced to the use of the diagram of the same name (that he did not even invent!)

And that’s where things go wrong. I’m sure you know this famous diagram, the one where you stack problems in pre-labeled columns. Those who know me know that most of the time, these famous diagrams (actually invented by Joseph Juran) generate in me a reflex of distrust…”

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Michel Baudin‘s comments: Cécile Roche’s article has a clever title that works in English as well as in French. The body of the article, however, is in French, and I recommend Google-translating it into the language of your choice. The result won’t be perfect but you will get the gist.

Her experience with Pareto diagrams confirms the points I have been making about them in this blog. I agree with Cécile’s conclusions that they are good for slides but not as drivers for actual change. On the other hand, I don’t believe it has to be that way and I see many practical uses for the analysis behind the diagrams, if not for the diagrams themselves.

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