All in theory of constraints
My review of Kevin Kohl’s Addicted to Hopium - Throughput: Using the DVA Business Process to Break the Guesswork Habit. The book is a fictionalization of the long history that Kohls has had in bringing Theory of Constraints and related approached to GM and other organizations. Kohls gives us the story of MegaCo and engineer Andrew Wright and their journey from barely being able to keep their heads above water to applying a strategic approach to improvement, thanks to the impetus of a guru in the form of a possible customer.
Beyond the Goal is a great encapsulation of the TOC ideas and concepts. Eli Goldratt summarizes the previous 20 years (and more) of thinking and many of the topics in this audio book continued to be developed beyond this publication.
Gene Kim and John Willis recorded a set of conversations called Beyond the Phoenix Project to talk about the DevOps movement since the publication of The Phoenix Project. (It’s available as an audio and a transcription.) I very much appreciate that the thinking behind DevOps has been geared around learning and applying concepts and ideas from all of these areas. I'm sure there are cargo-cultists who simply try to mimic what they see other people doing, but the people who are developing and growing in DevOps are clearly those who are looking at the giants that have come before them, climbing up on their shoulders, doing something new that is relevant to their current view of the world, and then sharing that back with the community to test and refine and develop further. I got a strong sense of excitement and desire to learn from this.
Clarke Ching has created a new book to try to help people understand what is blocking their work (or life?). The Bottleneck Rules: How to Get More Done (When Working Harder isn't Working) is a quick read and got me thinking more about how I talk about this topic with people.
There's a nice video from Goldratt Consulting Brazil on a Betânia Lácteos case study. They are a dairy facing some pretty familiar challenges in supplying their market while dealing with variability in demand and supply. "If it doesn't rain, the cows don't give milk."
The Theory of Constraints community has a number of useful tools to help people think through change: the Layers of Resistance and the Change Matrix. Lars Axelsen posted a nice article combining these two ways of thinking, Change must address reservations!
Final wrap-up from TOCICO, including the obligatory conversation about how to make TOC the way.
Henry Camp gave another interesting talk on "Gaining a Competitive Edge through Sufficiency - 10 Steps to Breakthrough Results". His focus this time was on the concepts from The Choice, which describes the necessary conditions for a successful life: Lots of chances, Toughness/willingness to recover from mistakes, and the Ability to collaborate with others.
Humberto Baptista led a thoughtful discussion on "The Elusive Nature of POOGI" (process of ongoing improvement). He had a lot of fun with the language and suggesting Eli Goldratt left more meaning between the lines.
Joe Cooper and Malcolm Neumeyer spoke about "Applying TOC to Enterprise Architecture: Gaining Focus". It was an education on EA and a nice view of the challenges they see in the discipline.
Sanjeev Gupta of Realization gave the opening keynote on the second day of TOCICO. The talk was billed as "The Rising Importance of TOC" but ended up becoming "Solving the Projects Problem: It's not about buffers or behaviors" based on his experience with years and years of CCPM software and implementations.
How do you think about embedding TOC and flow into everything you do? "Engineering Reality at WiseTech Global: Core Conflict – Friend or Foe?" from James Powell was a fun talk from someone who clearly enjoys the work he is doing.
The lunchtime keynote was "30 Years of Success: TOC & Throughput Improvement at GM" by Jeff Miller (GM) & Kevin Kohls.
Steel companies have been using TOC in a variety of formats for many years. The steel industry is even featured in the TOC Insights self-learning program that were created in the early 1990's. There were a couple talks at TOCICO from steel companies.
Yaniv Dinur presented some of the challenges experienced in work with a large engineering-to-order company, "Engineering to Order – engineering, procurement, and production in one flow."
The first official day of the TOCICO conference started with a keynote from Kaoru (John) Watanabe talking about the long history of TOC implementations at Hitachi, "Enterprise wide TOC Implementation at $83B Conglomerate."
First workshop of TOCICO18. I sat in on the Demand Driven: A Practical Workshop on The Strategy of Flow by Debra Smith - she's one of the long time experts on this topic from her experience creating the concepts of DDMRP and implementing with many clients.
Too high work-in-process (WIP) is dangerous for all sorts of reasons in almost any organization. It slows everything down like the molasses in winter. But simply saying “cut WIP” without understanding why it remains so high is a recipe for disaster. Let’s think about this a little.
The TOCICO (Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization) is holding its annual conference in Las Vegas on the 29th April - 1st May with some pre-conference workshops on Sunday the 28th.
The goal isn't efficiency. The goal is getting the right things done.