Solving problems using Theory of Constraints current and future reality trees

4-6 October 2017

John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh

A 90 minute Tutorial by:

Suzanne Morrison


Laz Allen


About this Tutorial

When people think of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) they usually think about flow and bottlenecks. However, Goldratt has a whole host of other techniques called the 'Thinking Processes' to help you solve complex system problems.

This tutorial introduces the Thinking Processes and explains how they can be used to help decide what to change, what to change to and how to do it. The tutorial assumes no prior knowledge of TOC, and it is suitable for complete beginners.

After a brief outline of the Thinking Processes, we will introduce the concept of undesirable effects and how they can be found in a team or organisation. We will hand out a case study about a dysfunctional scrum team that's struggling to deliver anything of value and explain how you can use current reality trees (CRTs) to find the root cause(s). In small groups you will construct a CRT and we'll be available to help and answer any questions as you do this.

The next part of the tutorial covers future reality trees (FRTs) and how these can be used to find ways to address the root causes and test how the future might unfold in different ways depending on what you decide to do.

Throughout the tutorial we will bring real-life examples from our experience of using this tool extensively in Skyscanner to resolve issues ranging from team level up to company level. We’ll share the mistakes we’ve made, what we’ve learned and how we’ve adapted our facilitation over time to be more effective.

We will also briefly cover how we see these tools aligning to the Cynefin model, taking into account the approaches needed when dealing with complex systems.

About the Speakers

Suzanne Morrison

Suzanne Morrison is an agile coach at Skyscanner in Edinburgh. She began as a software developer and became interested in agile back in 2006, when she learned about and implemented scrum for the first time. On a typical day at Skyscanner she can be found running lean and agile training courses, helping new squads and tribes to start up and continuously improve, or using TOC techniques to find root causes and improve flow. Suzanne lives in Edinburgh and in her spare time she loves to travel around the world, cook exotic foods and do yoga (not all at the same time).


Laz Allen

Laz Allen is an agile coach at Skyscanner. He started out running a start-up where he discovered agile and scrum from Henrik Kniberg’s seminal ‘Scrum in the Trenches’. The smallest of budgets and shortest of timescales gave Laz a passion for seeking effectiveness and focus. He picked up TOC 3 years ago, and spent time with Clarke Ching ironing out the chinks in his understanding. At Skyscanner he has a wide remit, working with many squads across the company’s tribes and offices to drive that effectiveness and focus. Outside of work he’s working out how best to introduce his two small boys to WIP limits.


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