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Articles, Case Studies
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Articles and White Papers

1. Article - Supply Chain Logistics, TOC Pull Distribution

Abstract: This newsletter pulls together several articles on the Theory of Constraints dynamic pull distribution solution for retailers and distributors. Learn how to build a supply chain to grow sales without growing inventory. Read about the actual results of one big sports retailer. Understand how to overcome inaccurate forecasts. Learn the new way that China manufacturers and North American logistics companies are overcoming the challenge of distance and ordering in large batches.

2. White Paper - Integrating Critical Chain and the PMBOK®

Abstract: The purpose of this white paper is to help project management professionals understand how the Theory of Constraints Critical Chain Approach integrates with and adds value to the current body of project management knowledge, and where it differs from it. Two of the most referenced sources of current knowledge in the project management world include the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Guide and Dr. Harold Kerzner's Project Management Text. The document begins with a look at the Theory of Constraints/Critical Chain approach and how it enhances the foundation of Critical Path practice. The document also discusses Critical Chain relative to each of the nine knowledge areas of the Project Management Body of Knowledge. A glossary of Critical Chain terms is included.

3. Article - Critical Path vs. Critical Chain

Abstract: Critical Chain is a paradigm shift in project management practices. "Paradigm shift" implies that the required change in project behavior is so radical that you cannot use your experience to predict the outcome. Therefore, in comparing Critical Chain to Critical Path, it is vital to remember that Critical Chain is about much more than the mechanical differences in how a project plan is created. After more than 40 years of Critical Path experience, most projects are still failing to meet their goals - on time, on budget and within scope. This is NOT a criticism of Critical Path. Critical Chain's starting point is to seek at least a 25% improvement in project duration with better than 95% on time performance by eliminating some of the treasured rules (sacred cows) that hurt project performance. In this article about Critical Chain and Critical path, the approach first explains the overall philosophy and methodology of Critical Chain. From that explanation, it is hoped that the reader will draw the conclusion that while Critical Chain uses all of the good features of Critical Path thinking, it is quite different in its focus and approach. Following this overview, major differences are summarized. These concepts are more fully explained in two books by Gerald Kendall, Advanced Project Portfolio Management and the PMO, J. Ross Publishing, 2003 and Viable Vision, J. Ross Publishing, 2004.

4. White Paper - Metrics the Theory of Constraints Way

Abstract: The Theory of Constraints (TOC) assumes that there are very few factors governing the Throughput of any organization and the behavior of people. If we accept this assumption, then it follows that the best results come from finding the one or two biggest leverage points to improve the organization. What are the biggest problems with most metrics today? Encouraging people to do the wrong things Not driving people to focus on doing the few right things If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. The metrics hole is simply having too many measurements for an individual or team. Human beings are probably NOT going to be driven correctly by 8 or 12 measurements, such as advocated in a Balanced Scorecard system. As Jim Collins points out in his bestseller, Good to Great, the difference between good and great companies is that the great companies get rid of their bad measurements, the ones that de-motivate or confuse people. Whenever you put efficiency or cost reduction measurements on the same scorecard as Throughput or getting work done, the person being measured will frequently find themselves in a conflict. This person has the perfect excuse for missing a number of measurements in any time period. At the same time, the boss has the perfect reason to crucify someone, because in any time period, it is likely that 1 or more measurements will be missed. The TOC approach is a holistic approach. It advocates simplicity over complexity. 1 primary measurement and 1 secondary measurement are usually enough to drive the correct human behavior in any given situation. This White Paper introduces the TOC metrics for senior management, for support organizations in a supply chain and for project management.

5. Article - Oxford Radcliffe Hospital Story

Abstract: This story is related by Alex Knight, a TOC consultant who headed up the group implementing this major improvement in some hospitals within the United Kingdom. As Alex describes: "The major issue in Oxford was the frequent failure to meet the 4 hour turnaround targets in the emergency departments and regularly exceeding the 12 hour trolley waits before being admitted to the acute hospitals. When we looked across the whole Oxford Health and Social Care System we could see every part of it, be it the Community Hospitals, the Acute Trusts, the actual Ambulatory & Emergency (A&E) departments, experiencing capacity problems. In the TOC language, we describe it as a chain of dependent events where natural fluctuation in performance of every one of them has amplified into a sense of insufficient capacity everywhere; something which in TOC we call ‘wandering bottlenecks'. Our analysis showed us that it was the delays in moving the patients from one kind of care to the next, especially in expediting the patients out of the acute care, that manifested itself as a problem in the A&E." Alex and his group used TOC Buffer Management and Critical Chain concepts to address these issues, with outstanding results within a few months.

6. Case Studies - Critical Chain success stories from Realization

Abstract: These briefs represent some of the Critical Chain implementation work done by clients of Realization Technologies, Inc. - a Critical Chain software company. Organizations include LSI Logic, Elbit Systems, the Pharmacia division of Pfizer, FMC Energy Systems, Shea Homes, and the Cherry Point Naval Air Depot.

7. Article - Strategy for Multi-Project Management and the PMO

Abstract: As organizations implement strategies, project management is on many executives’ minds. The record of many companies in getting projects completed on time, on budget and within specifications is abysmal. The Theory of Constraints offers an excellent solution - Critical Chain. The major benefits of Critical Chain come through a holistic approach to all of the projects in an organization - the multi - project solution. In parallel with Critical Chain, over the past several years, a paradigm called the Project Management Office (PMO) has evolved. This approach advocates a corporate function that sets standards, delivers training and offers support for project management across an organization. The Project Management Office and multi-project Critical Chain go hand in hand. The resistance of executives and managers to these exciting new approaches is extremely high. Explaining the sequence of selling executives and a set of measurements for the PMO, including a Critical Chain approach, is the purpose of this article.

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