Drilling Software: Get More Done by Doing Less

More than a century ago, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto noted the consistently lopsided relationship between inputs and outputs called “The 80/20 Principle”, which asserts that a small portion of inputs or efforts leads to a big portion of outputs or results. In 2008, self-confessed “lazy entrepreneur” Richard Koch explained this principle in great details in his best-seller book “The 80/20 Principle”.

Basically, if 2 sets of data, relating to causes and results are examined, the most likely result is that there will be a pattern of imbalance. The imbalance may be 65/35, 70/30, 80/20 or 95/5, or any set of portions in between. However, rarely 50% of inputs will account for 50% of outputs.

80/20 principleWhether we realize it or not, the principle applies to our work, social life, and personal matters.

In our personal life, 20% of our clothes will be worn 80% of the time. 20% of our carpet areas are likely to get 80% of the wear. If you have an alarm system, 80% of the false alarms will be set off by only 20% of the possible causes.

In society, 20% of motorists cause 80% of all accidents. 80% of the value of our relationships is derived from 20% of close relationships.

In business, 20% of products or customers are responsible for 80% of a company’s revenue. 80% of wealth increase in portfolios comes from fewer than 20% of the investments. In a study of the revenues and lifespan of 300 movies released over an 18-month period, they found 4 movies (1.3% of the total) earned 80% of box office revenue – a clear example of the rule of imbalance.

Similar analysis could be done to study our time allocation of our drilling engineers/managers. It will probably show the similar imbalance. Achievements should probably not be “99% perspiration and 1% inspiration”. Instead, they may come from the 20% of our work.

The key terms in the equation of imbalance may vary from person to person. But from our drilling engineers’ perspective, taking the advantage of drilling software is one of the ways to improve our efficiency, because we then can spend more time in analyzing/identifying potential problems, rather than doing the tedious calculation.

As a software vendor, majority of our time is spent on R&D and software development, so that our clients do not have to spend big chuck of their valuable time making spreadsheet calculation. This is a derivative of the 80/20 principle: if you are not many times better than others in certain areas, outsource the tasks.

Drilling software does not replace drilling engineering. It amplifies drilling engineers’ skills so that we can get more done by doing less.