Some constraints on the theory of constraints
taking a critical look at the critical chain
Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt's Theory of Constraints (TOC) and its project management application, the Critical Chain, have drawn the interest of many in the field. This article examines three assumptions underlying the TOC, and offers alternative interpretations of them. The first assumption is that a project will have dedicated resources instead of multitasked resources. This assumption holds true for some large organizations but is not generally possible for smaller companies. The second assumption is that tight schedules and resource alerts will prevent the time lost from late startups; however, in many cases, late startups are due to learning curve considerations. The third assumption the TOC makes is that project teams will be motivated, committed, and lead by effective leaders. In fact, motivation and leadership issues are prerequisites to project success, and deserve more attention than the TOC model gives them.