On my flight home yesterday, I wanted to reconnect with the Theory of Constraints (TOC) for a project I'm working on and decided to re-read "Critical Chain" by Eliyahu Goldrat.
A few days ago, I posted some thoughts about TOC along with a recommended reading list I built on Amazon. However, after revisiting Critical Chain, I've decided I want to modify my "first book to read" recommendation.
If you want to get indoctrinated into the Theory of Constraints, start with Critical Chain. It presents a concise, very readable, and very applicable primer on TOC and shows how the thinking processes of TOC can be applied to many different personal and business situations.
Essentially, it's about how productivity of an overall system is governed by its weakest link. It discusses how to systematically identify the weak link (the constraint), exploit the constraint to make it as efficient and productive as possible, subordinate all other activities so they never outpace the constraint, then elevating the constraint to improve its capacity.
As you continue to elevate the constraint, you reach a point where you see no top level system benefit from improving the constraint. This indicates that that particular process/activity is no longer the weakest link, so you start over again.
I got energized reading this - why not give it a whirl yourself?