theory+of+constraints category archives

Rob Newbold's latest book takes the reader further down into how to run projects (with CCPM). This book will be something to talk about with my colleagues and friends who are running these kinds of projects.
Blue Ocean Strategy is a ten-year-old book that is still relevant today. How do you craft a business strategy that moves you to a new mode of operation - away from the competition and setting your own destiny? I also see a lot of Viable Vision in this book.
A great discussion of systems thinking by Fred Kofman, which ties into much of what the folks in the Theory of Constraints camp talk about. In the first minute, he says several times some version of, "To optimize the overall system, you must sub-optimize the subsystems."
When planning a project, are you more interested in the dates every activity happens, or are you more interested in how all the activities are connected together?
The book in two sentences: "There are two alternatives: one is to bitch about reality and the other is to harvest the gifts it just gave us. This is what I call the freedom of choice."
Are successes because of the design or despite the design? What about failures?
Some good videos that I've come across recently on Theory of Constraint: Critical Chain and the Thinking Processes.
I re-read Goldratt's book on the TOC approach to project management, Critical Chain. Some interesting food for thought here, even for a guy who does quite a bit of CCPM work.
Deming repeats the main mantra over and over: Management owns the system. It is the system that generates the results. If those results are unacceptable, it is management’s responsibility to investigate and improve the system. Repeatedly. Continuous improvement.
Are you suffering the effects of fluctuation? Or are you Focusing on constraints?
The Goal has helped companies of all shapes and sizes. There is a podcast with Erik Prince of Blackwater (the defense contractor) who sites The Goal as helping him grow the business.
I picked up Steve Tendon and Wolfram Muller's Tame the Flow: Hyper-Productive Knowledge-Work Management shortly after the TOCICO conference in June, and every time I pick it up I glean a different take on the embedded ideas. I enjoyed the thinking here, particularly since I am seeing more and more project management that is all about managing the flow of knowledge work.
After the TOC ICO conference, I picked up Yuji Kishira's Wa - Transformation Management by Harmony, based on a conversation with him and other attendees. It is a fun take on Theory of Constraints, change management and other topics.
Why do businesses exist? What is their purpose? Can we identify just one thing? Steve Denning talks about Milton Friedman's statement that the sole purpose of corporations is to make money for its shareholders. The short form is that Friedman based his article on flawed logic.
Drew Greenblatt, the president of Marlin Steel has a nice appreciation of Eli Goldratt on the Inc. website, The Man Who Saved My Company | Inc.com. (Yes, Eli Goldratt died two years ago.) He opens with the familiar struggle and goes on to talk about how he was able to pull his company out of the struggles with help from The Goal, and Theory of Constraints.
Is Agile at all compatible with project management? Should we even try to make them talk to each other? Wolfram Müller talked through his views on Agile, and on how some of the TOC applications could be thought of as working together with the Agile mechanisms.
Steve Holt had some fun with his talk at TOCICO this year that he created out of conversations with April K Mills of Engine for Change. This time he suggests create policy buffers to protect change efforts.
Prof. James Holt usually gave a talk about Managing Complex Organizations this morning at the TOC ICO conference. The basic idea is to use Throughput Dollar Days and Inventory Dollar Days internally.
What am I good at? What do I love to do? What drives me? What fits my personality? These questions are the core of today' full-day session on TOC for Personal Growth, by Efrat Goldratt.
How can we take advantage of what Theory of Constraints teaches as well as bring in thinking from other disciplines to learn? Specifically, how do we learn from a single occurrence - an occurrence of something going awry? This was the question that Eli Schragenheim tried to answer in his talk this morning on "Learning from ONE event: A structured organizational learning process to inquire and learn the right lessons from a single event."
Rami Goldratt of Goldratt Consulting talked about the latest knowledge that is coming out of TOC implementations in retailers. It's about what NOT to replenish.
Avraham Mordoch presented his thoughts on an organizational maturity model for project management environments, and specifically related to Critical Chain Project Management. It was very interesting to listen to in relation to my recent experiences with project management work.
How about this for advocating Theory of Constraints? The opening keynote from Mazda at the TOC ICO conference ended with the statement, "Made with TOC." They even had a couple cars in the parking lot to show off.
My review of "The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win" by Gene Kim and gang. I enjoyed it, and ended up staying up late to finish it. The structure of the book is quite familiar: business novel; looming disaster; averted with the determination of the protagonist (and colleagues) and the help of a wacky "guru." There are some new-to-me concepts that fit neatly with my current worldview.
I re-read Eli Goldratt's The Goal. I enjoyed reading it again for the nuggets embedded throughout and the reminder that this is a solid way to help people and organizations think differently about their situation.
Believing in the inherent value and quality of people comes out in how you challenge them and what you expect of them. It has much less to do with your direct personal style.
Ihab Sarieddine has a nice overview of CCPM in his blog on project management, "Improving Scheduling Using Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)."
I read Bob Sproull's _Epiphanized_ in just a few days and found it told a gripping story of TOC transformation, even if the writing style was sometimes off-putting.
Working with clients on project management, as I do, I see a familiar theme come up over and over again. People have a difficult time separating the creation of an idea from starting to work on that idea.
Creativity and productivity are both enhanced by acknowledging and working with full understanding of the operating constraints. An HBR article from Matthew E May reminds me of the idea once again, "How Intelligent Constraints Drive Creativity."
Project management and knowledge management are about getting things done. I attended and spoke at the Center for Business Information (CBI) 6th Annual Forum on Knowledge Management this week in Philadelphia. Rather than talk about knowledge management directly, I opted to speak about managing projects - whether they are KM or other types.
Thanks to Mark Graban's recent Leanblog podcast with Steve Bell, I found a long list of "information wastes" that serve as an appendix to Bell and Orzen's _Lean IT: Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Transformation_ (2010).
Thomas Corbett's _Throughput Accounting_ is a quick read and very familiar for someone who has been in the Theory of Constraints world. I wonder if anyone comes to TOC via this route, rather than through The Goal and some of the other business novels.
I came across a pair of articles that compare Lean, Theory of Constraints and several other process improvement approaches. Both decide that Lean is the best, but the authors appear to emphasize Lean in their work as well. TOC doesn't get a very good hearing.
Some interesting quotes today: Metadata is the stuff you know. Data is the stuff you are looking for. -Weinberger Information is the answer to the question asked. -Goldratt
"The High-Velocity Edge" was given to the attendees at the Lean Software & Systems Conference this year, as Steven J. Spear was one of the keynote speakers. I enjoyed the book and have dog-eared pages and underlined throughout.
I've written about the common focus on efficiency several times here. This time it's inspired by an HBR blogs article by Casey Haksins and Peter Sims, "The Most Efficient Die Early.'
John Hagel has a great piece on "The Paradox of Preparing for Change" that talks about the importance of planning for what DOESN'T change, along with the stuff that does.
Strategy+Business has an interview with Jeffrey Liker, one of the academics who have studied the Toyota Production System in great detail. "Jeffrey Liker: The Thought Leader Interview."
Philip Marris, who I met at this year's TOC ICO conference in Chicago has published a nice case study of Critical Chain, focused on problems common to the pharmaceutical industry.
Portia Tung has a choose-your-own adventure version of a business novel, this time about going into a client as an Agile Coach (consultant) with five days to turn things around.
The latest read from my backlog is David Anderson's 2004 look at "Agile Management for Software Engineering: Applying the Theory of Constraints for Business Results." It's a great combination of two of my interest areas today.
The idea of standard work applies to the management of knowledge work, rather than to the specifics of the work.
Throughput Accounting is an important decision-making topic in the Theory of Constraints community, but it doesn't get much play beyond TOC. One of the key aspects revolves around the idea of cost allocations. Here is my attempt to explain it.
I attended an interesting talk by Dan Vacanti last week at the monthly Agile New England meeting. I enjoyed the talk overall, and I particularly enjoyed his emphasis on the Cumulative Flow Diagram as a key diagnostic tool - it's predictive.
As with Tuesday, this day of the conference was packed with a variety of talks from descriptions of project implementations to thinking about how to use TOC in different contexts to combining TOC with other thinking to create even better solutions.
Day 3 of the TOCICO conference. Lots of great ideas. Maybe too much at once.
The nature of this day of the conference was around hearing new applications and new thinking behind Theory of Constraints. There were presentations from Boaz Ronen, Eli Schragenheim, Kelvyn Youngman, Shimeon Pass and several others (plus collaborators).
Rami Goldratt gave this morning's keynote talk on the topic of Management Attention. This is part of an ongoing discussion on the topic that has been percolating through the Theory of Constraints community: the real constraint for ongoing success is limited management attention.
The second half of the day today was devoted to breakout sessions on each of the TOC application areas. The stated goal was on having people familiar with these applications discuss opportunities for improvement. I decided to sit in on the projects (CCPM) discussion.

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