Goldratt’s Rules of Flow: Chapter 26 – “How to Get Started”

Marc attends his final executive MBA course on “Rules of Flow” taught by Rick Silver. They discuss four common scenarios on how to deal with project constraints. Lastly, Silver identifies that the ultimate constraint in an organization is leadership time and their ability to focus attention on the highest value opportunities.

Best Quotes, Writing (Pages 161 – 168)

To help calm things down Rick says, “We all want the same thing. We want to go from a reality where we have frequent delays, things take forever and we are constantly multitasking to a reality where the lead times are much shorter and the chaos goes away. Let’s discuss how to facilitate this transformation.” The professor opens the final chapter in his classroom, Page 161.

“Remember, we don’t care about the productivity of a single worker, we ask what are the units that need to move faster in order to improve the flow of the whole system.” Rick speaks to student Ted, Page 162.

Strategy 1: “Freeze a large percent of the projects and keep the ones that are close to completion, or the ones with the highest priority, in the WIP.” Marc thinks of his flow strategy, Page 162.

“If they cannot assist in other projects, assign them to help with full-kitting.” Page 163

Strategy 2: Kill bad projects.

“We found that triage is not only about cancelling work packages with low value. We also came up with new high-value ideas that should have top priority.” Page 163

Strategy 3:

“In project environments where there is a massive amount of integration and people are constantly stuck because things are missing, it makes sense to start with full-kit.” Professor Silver highlights an aspect of construction projects, page 164

Strategy 4: “The fourth strategy that I’d like to mention is relevant to project environments that suffer from bad outcomes where people have to fix the same problems again and again. In these cases, dosage is likely the preferred strategy to control WIP.” Page 164

“The managers and experts are usually the most precious resource in the operation and are also the most scarce. Which means that they are the ones who are in most demand. They are the constraints, the resources with the least capacity in the system.” Rick to the class, Page 165.

“That may indicate there are too many projects in WIP.” Page 165 – what happens if leadership is overwhelmed?

“First, identify these few people are in fact your system’s constraint. Then figure how to exploit the constraint – how to make the best use of the time.” Rick shows how theory of constraints makes strategy a core answer to project management, Page 166.

“Your experts will be devoting a large percentage of their time to analyzing upcoming projects and full-kitting them. Get good people to help them. That will not only make your experts’ work more efficient, it’s the best way to grow your next experts from within.” Page 167

“For companies who are serious about it, who have the discipline to follow through and the confidence to endure this amazing cultural change, even the sky is not the limit.” Marc reflects, Page 167.

“Rick knows it is a lot of work.” Page 168

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