Managing Flow

I recently finished some coursework through Goldratt Group in Israel teaching me a myriad of elements regarding consulting behaviors built upon the Theory of Constraint (TOC) implementation while minimizing distortion between the points of a) theoretical application and b) real application in a production environment. Particularly, 'Viable Vision' and how to build ever-flourishing companies through the application of TOC.

Now I've read Goldratt books before and have evolved my own worldviews on TOC through the realities of product to market supply chain work in software. In fact, having read and applied various aspects of multiple books on the subjects of Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Extreme Programming (XP), Continuous Integration (CInt), Continuous Inspection (CInsp), Continuous Deploy (CD), Continuous Test (CT), Kanban, Crystal, Scrum, and Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) I have to say that I've not only read about it, but I've synthesized it and applied it in varying production environments with varying teams to varying levels of success. And I have a number of realizations as a result; five of which I cull out for this conversation at this point:

  1. Is it very easy to achieve local optimizations at the expense of end to end flow;
  2. Human Resource organizational structures (people management) impede operational effectivity;
  3. What worked at the last customer (or on the last project) will not work 'as is' next time;
  4. Everyone wants to achieve flow, few people know they want to achieve it or how; and
  5. There are principles and patterns that transcend industry, yes; however there are then industry-specific killer idiosyncrasies that require exclusive knowledge and experience in order to understand and influence said industry.

Of course, there are more. This is a blog.

I've been working on a new blog post regarding this matter for some time. It turned into a book. So, now I'm working on a book regarding TOC application and evolution within software. The point and purpose of the book is to elaborate on a synthesized solution model for software companies, not software groups. We already have rockstar development groups at many companies. It is the flow of the company that is the problem, hence the book.

TOC is not software explicit, but rather a behavioral-thought framework that is intended to be industry agnostic (even though "The Goal" seems to be production focused, it is not envisioned as such). CCPM is project focused, but not software evolved. Viable Vision is designed for a company level goal using TOC and CCPM behaviors therein. There is application to software companies, even companies who don't think they are software-driven, but have large IT/ICT shops.

I've looked through the books available through Amazon. There is but one book by David J Andersen in 2003 discussing TOC and software. Otherwise, the field is seemingly blank. If I've overlooked what you consider to be pertinent material applying TOC to software, contact me through LinkedIn. Yes, throughput economics counts. Not even the Goldratt Group has produced declarative publishings on the matter of software TOC applications yet. So, it appears we've an under-developed space. Of course this assumes you know about TOC, what it is and understand it isn't another "consulting template", but rather a framework for increasing flow. Perhaps it is the fact that 'The Goal' seems manufacturing-centric coupled with an absence of TOC understanding by anyone outside manufacturing that speaks to this.

What are your thoughts? More later.