It’s hard to be in the IT world today without hearing something about the Theory of Constraints. It could be from The Phoenix Project or the latest DevOps presentation you saw. Most questions I hear sound like, “How does some analysis of a factory help me make IT more efficient?”

channel mixer, by billaday

channel mixer, by billaday

Go read The Phoenix Project to learn more about that.

Gene Kim links to a fantastic set of resources in his blog on Kanban resources, but one key resource is a case study on how a failing Microsoft development team used the Drum-Buffer-Rope technique of Theory of Constraints to completely revamp their operations. Do yourself a favor and invest the time to read the Microsoft case study. Check the other link if you need some help on Drum-Buffer-Rope, but that one will take you quite a bit to get through.

All work that we do can be viewed as a system with inputs and outputs, much like Bill does in The Phoenix Project. Think about a process in your workplace that always seems to be a bottleneck. Maybe its an approval process, or part of your go-live process. From a Theory of Constraints perspective, that’s the part of the system that requires your attention.

Further fantastic reading on the Theory of Constraints can be found through Google or in Dr. Goldratt’s classic book, The Goal. My challenge for you is to read through the Microsoft case study at a minimum, and see if you can find your own example of a constraint. Look for more posts on ToC coming soon!

This post originally appeared on BrandenWilliams.com.