As featured in The Spectator magazine and The Guardian newspaper.
- 'It’s a great read' - Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking - '[Part of] a series of wonderful short books' - Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK - 'Fantastic book, relevant no matter what sector you work in' - Maria Macnamara, MBE, Founder and CEO of the international charity Smalls For All - 'A very good book with a practical approach to Goldratt's 5 steps' - Prof Witold Łojkowski, Head of Nanostructures Laboratory, Institute of High Pressure Physics, PAS
This tiny book shares one little-known concept: there's a bottleneck hiding inside your organisation, but because you don't know where it is, it's in charge. What's it doing? It's slowing your entire team, or organisation, down.
The Bottleneck Rules shows you how to find your bottleneck, then manage it, no matter where you work.
You'll learn how to do this using real examples from a broad range of workplaces and occupations, including accountancy, retail, airports, hospitals, software development, and hotels.
It contains one Dad Joke.
It's not as funny as the author thinks, but you'll find it surprisingly useful.
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If you don't know where your bottleneck is, scroll up, BUY the book, and READ it this evening.
Within a week, your workplace will have sped up, and calmed down. You will be in charge of your bottleneck, not the other way around.
Old school deep Lean/Agile geeks will be tempted to brush over this. There’s no new concepts in it and really it’s just Goldratt’s 5 focusing steps boiled down with less than a handful of anecdotes to illustrate. You can read it over a single meal or short hop flight.
But that’s its genius. It’s JUST ENOUGH anecdote to strongly convey the ToC heart in an actionable way to its actual target audience: wildly over stretched business leaders with demand far over their capacity.
And deep dyed Lean Agile folks? You can learn something important too: how to focus your message on the wildly important for leaders so that it is understood and used.
Great little book on identifying and removing bottlenecks. It's a good introduction into Eliyahu M. Goldratt's Theory of Constraints (TOC) and the 5 focusing steps. The goal of the book is to present the 5 focusing steps (rebranded as FOCCCUS in this book) so that anyone can understand them. I think the book achieves this goal through a handful of examples and anecdotes.
A fairly quick read explaining basic Theory of Constraints concepts such as bottlenecks and the 5FS but in a much more accessible way using anecdotes from the non manufacturing world. If you haven’t read anything from Goldratt yet, you should give this one a shot.
Clarke Ching has created a new book to try to help people understand what is blocking their work (or life?). The Bottleneck Rules: How to Get More Done (When Working Harder isn't Working) is a quick read and got me thinking more about how I talk about this topic with people. [Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book. And I consider Clarke a friend.]
The book is intended to be a fast read to introduce people to the concept, share a number of examples, and get them thinking. It certainly got me going. And for people who know Theory of Constraints (and The Goal in particular), Clarke pays homage while trying to simplify the language for people who aren't managing factories or big companies. He uses un-complicated examples, drawn from his experience and that of others to drive his points home.
In short, bottlenecks are anything (people, machines, rooms, computers, services) that slows down your work. Or any step in a sequence where the demand is greater than the ability to finish the work in the desired time. When there is a (growing) queue, it's a sure sign of a bottleneck. On the other hand, just being always "busy" doesn't mean that is where the bottleneck is. In fact, a bottleneck may only be temporary, like a (popular) restaurant's tables during the lunch rush.
Whether we think there is a bottleneck or not, they MUST exist in any situation where there are multiple steps involved. If we don't know where the bottleneck is (it's one of Clarke's "hidden" bottlenecks), then we often take actions that appear to be the right thing to do but don't ever seem to create the desired effect: getting more of what we want out the other end. When the bottlenecks are exposed ("tamed"), then we can get to make choices about the best ways to operate with that knowledge. Clarke identifies several types of bottlenecks that might cause us to think about the bottleneck in different ways, but it is still the limiting factor.
The book's title is intentionally punny (as is Clarke in general). A bottleneck rules the ability of the system to create its output (widgets, reports, airport landings, etc). And if we don't know where it is, it will rule us anyway. When we know where it is, we can create simple, powerful rules so that we can rule our destiny.
Clarke also re-phrases the classic Theory of Constraints "Five Focusing Steps" into an acronym that might be slightly easier to remember: FOCCCUS: * Find the bottleneck. This can be powerful all by itself, particularly when people are "always busy" but nothing ever seems to improve. * Optimize it. Once you know where the bottleneck sits, you can check to make sure it is operating as best it can. But even if it is "optimized" the next steps can really make it sing. * Coordinate, Collaborate, Curate everywhere else. There is a lot packed into these three words, but the general idea is that all the other steps in the operation MUST work to the pace of the bottleneck - or they must work to find ways to enable that bottleneck to work more effectively: don't waste time at the bottleneck. There is a lot of power in really thinking through how everyone else can support - finding ways to open up the bottleneck is the only way to generate more in the entire system. * Upgrade the bottleneck. Once the work is flowing the way it should and you STILL need more capacity, then consider buying another or hiring. This is a reminder that it does not make sense to spend a lot of money on automation or new equipment or new hires before ensuring that the work flow makes sense first. ("Automating bad processes, just gives you faster bad results.") * Start over (Strategically). The bottleneck might move - you might open up one step in a flow that and the bottleneck moves elsewhere. In that case, find the new location and have at it again. I love the addition of Strategically here, because it offers the opportunity to think differently about how we want the system to behave. Is the current bottleneck where we think it should be? (Should a hotel's breakfast room capacity prevent it from selling more beds?)
1. Every sequence of tasks forms a process which can be improved. 2. The bottleneck is the resource that can’t keep up with the demand, so a queue (build up) forms in front of it. 3. The system throughput is limited by the bottleneck throughput. Thus, to improve a system you must act on the bottleneck. 4. Use the FOCCCUS framework to do that. Essentially, work both directly on the bottleneck (Find, Optimise and Upgrade), and on how non-bottlenecks can help the bottleneck (CCC) 1. Find. You can spot the bottleneck by the pile of things piling up right before it (the ‘waiting room’). The step which waiting room has the most items waiting to be processed, that’s where the bottleneck is. 2. Optimise. “Squeeze more work out of it” Analyse the bottleneck in isolation. Ask what is the ‘bottleneck inside the bottleneck’? Can you make anything different to save time? 3. Coordinate. How can the non-bottlenecks help the bottleneck? You may want to introduce some rules, or adjust non-bottlenecks so that a queue (build up) doesn’t form on the bottleneck. 4. Collaborate. Reallocate work. It works better with people. How can non-bottleneck people do some of the work of the bottleneck people? 5. Curate. “Prioritise work that is relevant”. Reduce demand on the bottleneck by filtering out less important stuff to work on. Only work on stuff that are relatively more important. 6. Upgrade. Once you reduced the impact of the bottleneck by re-thinking your system around it, consider upgrading the bottleneck resource. A new machine, perhaps? If you did all the above, you collected improvements. The steps above “cleared the way” for you to extract the most benefit from upgrading. 7. Start again (strategically). Repeat the process. Improvement is continuous. This is management! 5. Your most valuable resource in the system should be the bottleneck. You want a hotel’s bottleneck to be guest rooms, not toasters; a surgeon’s bottleneck to be her own availability, not room for prep.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Very short book explaining Theory of Constraint from a very practical view, with a strong focus on knowledge work (software in particular), even though the content can be applied in all kind of scenarios. Suggests the FOCCCUS formula as the way to overcome the bottlenecks, instead of the original 5 focusing steps described in the Goal: Find, Optimise, Coordinate, Collaborate, Curate, Upgrade, and Start again (strategically). The author suggests that his book, being short, is more likely to be read and used than the original The Goal, and will help spreading the use of Theory of Constraints. He's probably right.
This is the "Cliff's Notes" for a book called "The Goal" by Eli Goldratt introducing his Theory of Constraints, and specifically about identifying and fixing bottlenecks in a work process. I've never read the source material but I suspect this did a good enough job of compressing the insights into a small space, with just enough anecdote to keep things interesting. The processes were broken down into what sound like small, actionable steps - haven't tried to apply any of them yet myself - and described well.
This is a great book – easy to read, easy to understand and therefore easy to apply. We are encouraging all members of our team to read this book to help them better understand how to apply Theory of Constraints within our workplace.
The author promised “To help every-day, ordinary people, find then manage their bottleneck quickly, no matter what industry they happen to work”….and I think this book achieves that.
BTW, I also highly recommend reading Rolling Rocks Downhill.
Great short read and practical application of the Theory of Constraints. Love the real story's and examples Clarke gives and its true, once you start seeing flow problems, you really can see them everywhere. Honestly I wanted more. More examples, stories, and problems where this has been applied. Reading "The Goal" and his "Rocks rolling downhill" are very good, I really like seeing how other people have used these simple steps to solve real world problems.
Escrito en un lenguaje sencillo y explicado con casos supuestamente reales. Te deja en buena posición para mejorar procesos usando la identificación de cuellos de botella. También cuenta que a veces es más importante actuar sobre lo que rodea al cuello de botella que sobre el cuello de botella. Es rápido de leer. No sé si está en castellano. No lo he puesto en práctica así que no sé lo real que será.
Lean for Dummies. This is a short, simple and easy to read book that explains the basic elements of lean thinking for people who know nothing about it. In summary, your work is slow and wasteful because you have bottlenecks in your system. You can find bottlenecks by looking for queues of work piling up in front of a particular person or team. You can remove bottlenecks by increasing their capacity. If you improve things that are not a bottleneck it won't make any difference to the end result.
An outstanding and ACTIONABLE introduction to Theory of Constraints and how to apply it. The author does a great job of making the central ideas and methods clear, using examples that are easy to understand and help illustrate the concepts.
I was immediately able to apply what I learned from this book to solve a longstanding problem that had defied my every effort to even find it for years. Highly recommended!
A nice collection of narratives around TOC and what can be done one you identify a bottleneck. Yet from my point of view, it's not going into the details enought: the FOCCCUS Model (Find, Optimize, Coordinate, Collaborate, Curate, Upgrade, Start-over) looked like being too "obvious" when I read it. While many things seem obvious in hindsight, I expected a bit more depth on the 3C's.
2.5 stars. I fall outside the target audience (office workers), but it was still a mildly interesting read. Everything made sense, and I can see it possibly being useful in the future. However, for such a short book, there was quite a bit of fluff, mostly in poor theoretical examples. It also could have benefitted from a concise summary.
This is a short and easy to read book on Bottleneck. Ching him self pitches it as a alternative/complement to "the game". I think this is a good sized and on point book to get people starting to thing about theory of constraint. Comparing to "The game" this has no Story framing, and not the assumption of "Gaining money" being the only thinkable goal for a business.
Very good and practical guidelines to implement TOC
This is relatively small book hence possible to read and implement some of the ideas in practice right away. Very good thought process, although obvious. Some insight on addressing variations in processes would be even better.
Short and informative. Read it in a couple of hours. I appreciate that it gives some interesting perspectives on how to tackle (and leverage) bottlenecks in your processes. Makes you think are they where they should be and provides some real-world examples and stories.
Really good intro to theory of constraints. Kind of like the Cliff's Notes version suitable for execs, new-to-TOC, and those just curious how subtle changes to process can increase throughput by 20-100%. Worth the couple hours (it's an easy read that flows well).