theory+of+constraints category archives
I see a lot of projects within business support organizations that look like "implement this tool." And then the organization is surprised when the project takes much longer than expected and the tool doesn't get used to the extent expected.
It's a short book, meant to be a quick read and guide to start thinking about thinking. Or maybe, more accurately, to get people doing something differently about thinking. The tone is light, but insistent - change the way you think to create fantastic new solutions.
Clarke Ching's "Rolling Rocks Downhill" is a great business novel, primarily about TOC and Agile. I like how it combines a number of perspectives and shows how real value can be obtained in surprisingly short time horizons. That said, it helps when there is outside pressure.
Kevin Fox's book, Aligned & Engaged, talks about creating effective teamwork in an organization. He provides 29 practices that will help any leader create more and more alignment and engagement in order to improve the bottom line.
More on time management and multitasking. It's a topic near and dear to what I've been doing for many years.
A quick anecdote from Realization's newsletter on "There is no such thing as good multitasking" and some thoughts around the idea.
In 7 Wastes That Impact Business Growth Jon Terry, one of the founders of LeanKit, presents a nice way of thinking through the Lean / Toyota Production System idea of waste and how one my think about it in the context of business growth in any type of organization.
In my work the idea of "flow" is all about ensuring the right work gets started - work that will create value for the organization. And, once it has started, that it doesn't get stuck or stopped or held up until the value is created. Ideally: customer buys the results; savings are truly achieved.
Interesting video description of a simplified Current Reality Tree that Bill Dettmer calls an Executive Summary Tree.
Dealing with uncertainty / variability in operations is an important aspect of the TOC way of thinking and in the TOC applications.
Eli Schragenheim, author of a number of Theory of Constraints books and an active participant in ongoing TOC thinking has started writing his own blog.
There are plenty of job descriptions that make you scratch your head, wondering what they are really looking to hire. The classic is the job requirements for "good at multitasking" when that can be exactly the wrong trait. I came across one that throws Theory of Constraints and cost reductions into the same set of requirements.
"The CIO's Guide to Breakthrough Project Portfolio Performance: Applying the Best of Critical Chain, Agile, and Lean" by Michael Hannan, Wolfram Muller, and Hilbert Robinson is a good, short description of how to take ideas from several disciplines and apply them to an overall portfolio management approach.
Henry Camp has created a nice two-page summary of Theory of Constraints and made it available for all to use. I have grabbed a copy (with permission) and it is available from my website too.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has a nice piece on TOC and how valuable it is. And he mentions that Jeff Bezos has all his Amazon executives read The Goal. What I'd love to see is an article that describes HOW a company like Amazon is using TOC within the business.
Is the goal of a for-profit company to "make more money, now and in the future"? I suppose it depends on how you define the terms.
I've come across several recent articles in the press from India that talk about Theory of Constraints and the application at a number of companies.
"Pride and Joy" by Alex Knight is a Theory of Constraints business novel about a hospital in chaos and a way of thinking that can help move beyond the chaos to a truly patient-centric, high quality environment.
Rather than describe the solution - a description that is always going to be lacking - understand what problem the customer is trying to solve. What limitation or barrier do they need to overcome? And why do they want to do that?
One of the many people I follow on Twitter, Richard Cushing, has been interviewed and the results posted as "Where Does Your ERP Selection Fit with Your Continuous Improvement Efforts?"
Yishai Ashlag's new book, TOC Thinking: Removing Constraints for Business Growth, is a good overview of the Theory of Constraints approach to thinking about running organizations.
A theme has emerged for me at TOCICO 2014 across many of the talks and discussion this year. We generate big changes in implementing Theory of Constraints in organizations. And those big changes by their very nature create conflicts. How should we respond to these conflicts?
As usual, I'm exhausted after four days of listening and thinking and talking about the Theory of Constraints. Today was loaded with shorter sessions and more interesting conversations.
I attended a number of talks on CCPM today at TOCICO, as that is work I am doing these days. And these weren't even all the material that was available on CCPM. There were also some great hallway conversations.
The TOCICO conference has shifted from longer talks and workshops to 30-minute updates and case studies. This gives me the excuse to summarize in one post, rather than a post for each session.
Rob Newbold of ProChain held a session, diving into one of the big themes of his book, The Project Manifesto. It was good listening to him talk about it, as I picked up some things I hadn't appreciated from reading the book alone.
The second day of the TOCICO conference opened with a great keynote from Kristen Cox on "Better, Faster, Cheaper State Government." What a great way to open the day - TOC and systematic thinking really can come to an environment like state government. And there are lessons for other implementations.
Jelena Fedurko presented an interesting way to help resolve organizational conflicts - conflicts between the desired actions of two parts of the organization, where each believes the other's actions will severely damage a common goal.
Avraham Mordoch presented the next iteration on his CCPM Maturity Model that I reported on from last year's conference.
Eli Schragenheim's workshop covered the history of TOC with a focus on the many paradigm shifts that Goldratt went through in development of TOC and related thinking.
The "four concepts of flow" come from a 2008 article that Eli Goldratt wrote that describe the innovations from Henry Ford and Taiichi Ohno that have inspired him to create Theory of Constraints.
How does Theory of Constraints apply to the healthcare situation? Very well. Alex Knight presented his long running work in healthcare as the opening keynote at the TOCICO 2014 conference.
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.
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