Quality Progress - August 2016 - 63

ONE GOOD IDEA BY ALEX COMAN AND BOAZ RONEN Visualizing Constraints This chart offers a visual element for the theory of constraints QUALITY MANAGERIAL TOOLS are empowered by visual elements such as Pareto analysis of waste causes. 2. Strategic gating: Screening tasks that would look when applying TOC to an IT application development department charts, control charts, Ishikawa's fishbone will not be assigned to the system due to (Figure 1). In step one, an analysis is per- diagram and others. constrained bottleneck resources. formed that identifies system architects Subordinate the whole system to the as the constraint. The theory of constraints (TOC) is a Step two of TOC is broken into two popular five-step continuous improvement bottleneck. All other departments should method, but it lacks a visual element. address the bottleneck. Subordination is parts. The first is identifying sources of accomplished using the following tools: waste-bad multitasking, scope creep and 1. The complete kit policy: Prevent the endless meetings. The second identifies The gate and gear chart (see a populated version in Figure 1) is a simple visual tool that enables quality managers to communi- bottleneck from processing tasks that tasks to be eliminated-the system archi- cate TOC's continuous improvement meth- lack components essential to successful tects will no longer be evaluating the cost completion. of small tasks. ods to stakeholders and top management. The gate has two parts: strategic gating, 2. The small batch concept: Break large Step three is to subordinate the whole or selecting tasks, and tactical gating, or batches into small, lean ones to acceler- system using three different tools. Enforc- streamlining those tasks. The gear refers to ate the flow in the system. ing a complete kit policy will ensure that exploiting and leveraging the bottleneck. The 3. Drum-Buffer-Rope release mechanism: only tasks with complete requirements Pace the whole system according to the are fed to the architects. Large tasks are Identify the system's constraints. A bottleneck and release tasks to minimize broken into small elements, and tasks are constraint is any element that prevents the work in process and increase throughput fed to the architects using the Drum-Buffer- system from achieving better performance. and quality. Rope method with a maximum of three One of the most common constraints is a Alleviate the bottleneck. The re- tasks at a time. gate and gear chart follows TOC's five steps: bottleneck. Decide how to exploit the con- source is alleviated by offloading bottle- The final step in the chart is to al- neck tasks to non-bottleneck resources. leviate, or offload, the bottleneck. The Reevaluate the constraint. If the programmers will scope small tasks on straint. A bottleneck can be exploited in two ways: current constraint is taken care of and its their own, junior staff will replicate work 1. Waste reduction: Reducing the bottle- throughput increases, another resource environments for the architects and project becomes the constraint. deployment will shift to the operations neck's waste or garbage time. Waste Consider how the gate and gear chart reduction is achieved using the Pareto IT application development department: gate and gear / FIGURE 1 Step 3: Subordinate 1. Enforce complete kit: only treat complete requirement specifications. 2. Large tasks are broken into small elements. 3. The architect should not work on more than three tasks simultaneously. 4. In the beginning of the day, the architect processes small requests. Step 2: Exploit waste reduction 1. Bad multitasking. Step 3: Subordinate 2. Scope creep. 3. Unnecessary meetings. Step 1: Identify the bottleneck: System architect Step 2: Exploit strategic gating 1. No costing for small tasks. Step 4: Offload 1. Small tasks are scoped by the programmer. 2. Replicating the user's work environment done by junior staff. 3. Deployment to the user done by operations. department. QP NOTE: 1. More examples of using the gate and gear chart for TOC, along with a blank template, can be found on this column's webpage at www.qualityprogress.com ALEX COMAN is a professor of project management at Tel Aviv University and the Academic College of Tel Aviv in Israel. Coman has his doctorate in IT from Claremont Graduate University in California. BOAZ RONEN is a professor of technology management and value creation at Tel Aviv University in Israel. He has his doctorate in business administration from Tel Aviv University and co-authored Focused Operations Management: Achieving More with Existing Resources (Wiley, 2008). August 2016 * QP 63 http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - August 2016

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Chain Challenges
Sample Simplification
Recognize, Rate and Resolve
Exploiting Bottlenecks
Station to Station
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
Standards Outlook
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea
Back to Basics

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