Theory of Constraints – and product management

Assumptions, constraints, Marketing, Product Management

Eli Goldiratt in the 1960s formulated this the Theory of Constraints and over the next 30-40 years he went about figuring out the solutions in various manufacturing companies. They had a lot of consultants world wide, some of whom directly still utilise the framework given by this theory or have modified it with changing times.

Goldiratt during his lifetime had written a few books out of which Goal and Goal II are so well written, with the story so tightly woven, that you don’t realise that you are reading a book which is about serious business.

Like with any theory there are proponents and then there are some who don’t realise the value and identify flaws – like in the real world there could be more than one constraint acting in parallel. These could be true.

However , I have found the theory very logical, in that it goes step by step in a well defined manner. If you go through the If… AND If…. AND If ….. Then. If you have done logic circuits using gates(AND, OR etc. ) then it is even more easy to understand.

Aa lot of times we are faced with the dilemma, that we have introduced a product, after identifying a niche in the market, with breakthrough technology, which has a novelty factor also, but the market is not accepting it. So you start figuring out the reasons.

One way to do the analysis and figure out the course correction is using the theory of constraints, by using the If …AND , If …. Then construct. As you start speaking the logic of the conditions you automatically start realising the flaws in your assumptions and start figuring out the possible challenges because of which there’s no pull in the market. I have found it’s a good way to surface the assumptions that you have taken during the launch of the product. Sometimes it actually makes you go down to where you started the buyer’s journey for your product. It can get you down to first principle thinking because it is so logical.

So while you do a lot of careful planning while launching, you should also be ready to work on a course correction if things are not going as per plan. Its your product, so a product management person you have to do whatever it takes to make it successful.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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