How to Scale Improvement: Beyond Bottlenecks and Boiling the Ocean

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The Theory of Constraints teaches us that at any given time there is one system bottleneck in a value stream and that improvement efforts away from the bottleneck will not improve overall system performance, and may make it worse.

In almost complete contrast, the various approaches to scaling Agile typically mandate all Agile teams to reflect and improve on their practice, not just those situated at the system bottleneck. This advice seems superficially in contradiction to a key lesson of The Theory of Constraints — don’t boil the ocean, focus your improvement efforts.

In this talk Dan will resolve this apparent paradox, showing how both sides have part of the truth, and explain how by going a little deeper we can give better advice on improvement for both people working on the overarching system of work and to those working on front line teams.