Monday, July 25, 2011

Eliyahu Goldratt

Eliyahu Goldratt, a truly innovative thinker, passed away last month, too early by 20 years at least.

Goldratt gave us "Theory of Constraints" and "Critical Chain", two really good ideas useful everyday in our business.  TOC--as explained in his book, The Goal--gave us a working paradigm for optimization focused on throughput, the stuff that matters and is valuable to customers/users.  He worked hard to convince everyone that optimizing department metrics does not optimize for the business; indeed, it's counter optimization.  From TOC, we have the underpinning for Lean, and "throughput accounting", a good concept for the agilists. 

From Critical Chain we learn that to protect the critical path and avoid 'merge bias' that destroys schedules, including agile schedules, we buffer to make parallel paths look tandem (serial, finish-to-start).  CP uber alles was his mantra.  And, Goldratt recognized the cumulative error of putting reserves at the task manager level; his idea: the PM should control reserves, buffering the whole project.

We should all take a moment and remember Eliyahu Goldratt.

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