The 90-10 Paradox of Software Selection

How many times have you been involved in selecting software for your business and the final decision came down to rejecting a great software product because it did not meet 10% of the requirements, rather than accepting the product because it met 90% of your requirements.

I call this the 90-10 Paradox of Software Selection. A.K.A., the Evil Software Killer.

Don't those final meetings go something like this?

Even though a product satisfied 90% of your requirements, people argue to the death, criticize the product as worthless, insult the product managers as having no vision, and otherwise disparage the company for not being forward-looking or for not understanding customer needs. 

"How could you build a product without this feature? Crazy!"

In some cases, customers and vendors try customizations and workarounds. 


Both parties are asking for trouble trying to find workarounds, customization options, integrations or other apps to address this 10%. This doesn’t work. I am not talking about software that is designed to be customized. I am talking about trying to create functionality not inherent in the current build.

The customer will not get exactly what they want, and the software company gets distracted from its current road map, which is probably doing quite well in satisfying the target market.

My advice: Use the software how it was intended and grow with it. Save yourself and your company a lot of unnecessary and distracting work. 


  • your industry
  • your company
  • your requirements
...are not as special as you think you are.