2 minutes to read
Sometimes, an idea or tool comes along that is so powerful, that you find yourself going back to it over and over.
The theory of constraints is one such idea. According to this theory, every system has a constraint or bottleneck, if you like, which when cleared will result in the entire system advancing in throughput.
One of the corollaries to the idea is that wherever there is a constraint, it will most likely be working at 100% capacity.
For example, say there is a software development business. Sales have plateaued and the sales pipeline looks lean.
On the other hand, the developers are working at full capacity and team leaders are also expected to carry out pre-sales activity such as carry out quotations, engage with prospects for pre-sales meetings, and write proposals.
Sales revenue swings from feast to famine as the pipeline work is fulfilled and the developers scramble to service prospects and write proposals, then once some sales success is achieved they go back to development activity, neglecting pre-sales work again.
Management, who are the developers, is disappointed with Sales because the gaps in the sales pipeline keep appearing. Sales is frustrated with Management because they are unable to respond quickly when they are needed to provide technical input for pre-sales, quotations and proposals.
Can you spot the constraint or bottleneck?
Bottlenecks can come in all sorts of shapes and forms. It can be any operational area of the business.