Constraints

- 1 min

Recently I came across this great talk by Dan North where I found out about a behavioural pattern called “Create Urgency”. This pattern can be understood better through the “The Theory Of Constraints”. The main goal of this theory is to find what, within a process, is the biggest constraint. Once found, efforts are then directed towards optimizing and improving that constraint in order to increase the throughput of the process.

Dan mentions the book “The Goal” which describes the process. At the end of the book there’s an interview with the author where when asked why this is such a difficult process to apply, he responded by saying that a paradigm shift is required.

To create a paradigm shift three things are required:

This is where the “Create Urgency” pattern emerges. Dan gives the example of a colleague of him who learned Node.js by publicly committing to build a feature for the business they were in (pressure) in Node.js (no other option) by a given deadline (pressure). He put himself in a position where he had to deliver. By doing so he learned only what was necessary to get the job done and as a bonus he learned Node.js.

I think this is a very powerful technique. Constraints are often seen as obstacles but in reality constraints can benefit us in many great ways. It reminded me of this other great talk which I also highly recommend.

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