In this final post of the series, we will discuss the final, but rather crucial, step of your change initiative: the practical implementation (that is, the “how to cause the change” part of the Thinking Processes).
Strategy and Tactics
During this stage you will find that the Strategy and Tactic Trees developed by Eli Goldratt will be of invaluable help. These are presented in great detail in this blog post; they are considered one of the most important tools the TOC has to offer and serve several functions in the Process of Ongoing Improvement:
- A concrete implementation plan for the proposed changes.
- Clear communication of all steps involved (as well as the underlying logic) to all employees, leading to harmony and cooperation
- An auditing tool to verify that all necessary steps were taken in the correct order
How to develop an S&T Tree and the different kinds of trees at your disposal can be found here.
A Simple Process from Identifying the Gap to Building an S&T TreeAs many in the business world still considered development and implementation of strategies and tactics to be overly complex and tedious, Dr. Barnard came up with simplified procedurein 2009, starting from the gaps identified in the current situation and using the Evaporating Cloud to construct an S&T Tree, which is then used during the implementation of the change.1
This is completed in five concrete steps:
a. Identify the gap keeping the organization from reaching its (ambitious) goal.
b. Determine the impact (on throughput, Investment and Operating Expenses) of the decision not to close this gap.
c. Define the most important Undesired Effects (independent causes contributing to the gap, also UDEs).
Step 2: Define the unresolved conflict underlying each of these UDEs.
Step 3: Identify the erroneous assumption for each of the conflicts.
Step 4: Replace them with new assumptions and resolve (evaporate) the conflict with a Win-Win solution (a new rule or “injection”).
Step 5: Using the data obtained from the above, you can then construct an S&T Tree as follows:
|Evaporating Cloud||Strategy and Tactic Tree|
|Necessary Condition (B+C)||Strategy|
|Old (invalid) assumptions||Parallel assumptions|
|Injection (new rule)||Tactic|
|Undesired Effect||Necessary Assumption|
Based on Alan Barnard: Proposed process using conflict cloud to creation/validate new S&T entities2
This offers you a simple and flexible process, taking you from the identification of the gap all the way to the full implementation of all changes necessary to reach the organizational goal (including control and monitoring): a Swiss army knife for change management.
These various tools, guides and tips make Continuous Improvement considerably easier to manage and integrate into day-to-day operations. The most important element will always be focus: what exactly do I need to change in order to achieve the biggest impact. This includes not doing something else and thus opening up the time and resources for the right change.
1: Barnard A. 2009. ABB Case Study Helping Achieve One-Simple-ABB with TOC in SAP. South Africa: SAPICS 2009 Conference Proceedings (June).
2: Dr. Alan Barnard, “Continuous Improvement and Auditing” Cox III, James F., and Schleier Jr., John G., Ed. Theory of Constraints Handbook. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 2010. p.. 448