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Two Great Books on Increasing Throughput

Submitted by  on December 4th, 2012

The Goal book coverThe Theory of Constraints (TOC), introduced by Dr. Eli Goldratt over two decades ago, has transformed the way businesses operate worldwide. Its practical principles have helped many companies increase system output, optimize tradeoffs, and clarify choices in a variety of different situations – all by managing constraints.

Instead of simply lecturing on how to apply the TOC principles, Goldratt often uses fictional storytelling to explain the ideas in riveting and memorable detail. The fascinating plots of his business novels help people assimilate a range of insights and applications through an engaging discovery process. For example, two that I use and recommend quite often are:

The Goal, Goldratt’s inaugural business novel two decades ago, focuses on the dilemmas and challenges that Alex Rogo, a new plant manager, faces in a serious business predicament.

Since his plant can’t seem to ship any of its products on time, Alex learns that the business will go under unless he figures out what to do. He turns to Jonah, a consultant friend of his, whose theories and advice help Alex and his colleagues discover and explain the TOC principles that break through the impasse.

Critical Chain book coverCritical Chain next explores TOC in the realm of project management. A business professor and class of project managers hypothesize, debate, and finally realize why their projects often run late and over budget, or fail to complete everything that was originally specified.

As the protagonists examine a range of thorny project issues, we vicariously learn how to optimize a project’s “critical path,” handle resource conflicts, introduce safety buffers, negotiate with subcontractors and suppliers, and predict the effects of early vs. late starts. The resulting formula offers us several powerful ways to resolve these age-old project challenges.

For more information on applying these important principles, read my article, What’s Holding You Back? Tips on Managing Your Biggest Constraints.

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Posted in Processes, Projects | Comments (3)

3 Responses to “Two Great Books on Increasing Throughput”

  1. Delphine du Toit Says:

    Goldratt was a real find, back when he first published The Goal. Thanks for this article – it is a reminder of the lesson I learnt way back when, that the fundamental principles of business processes may acquire new names and nuances, but the building blocks remain the same.

  2. Leslie Allan Says:

    Thanks Delphine. Yes, Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints was a real game-changer. It still wields enormous influence -and rightly so.

    Kind Regards, Les Allan

  3. Adele Sommers Says:

    Hello, Delphine!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. One of the things I have always loved about Eli Goldratt is his profound gift of storytelling, which has helped him produce several potent novels like the two above. The “business fiction” genre is able to convey the principles of dense subjects to readers who would otherwise not feel drawn to them. It’s a powerful way to teach!

    All best wishes,

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