The TOC thinking process provides a universal problem-solving approach to apply the five focusing steps to complex organizational systems. It has demonstrated substantial use in fields from corporate strategic planning to trouble-shooting complex technical problems. The thinking process answers three questions about any problem:
The thinking process starts with a representation of current reality: the current reality tree (CRT). The CRT is a logic diagram showing how one or at most a few root causes lead to many unde-sired effects in the current system. That root cause (What to change?) is the constraint of the overall system.
The thinking process identifies the organization direction (What to change to?) with a future reality tree (FRT). The FRT can guide an entire organization to achieve any desired set of objectives or solve any set of problems. It can come from the CRT or be developed to define a future direction. Dettmer provides excellent examples of applying the thinking process at the strategic level.6 The FRT provides a way to identify the projects that you should consider for your portfolio. It also can provide a high-level relationship map between the projects.
The thinking process tools to address How to cause the change? are called the prerequisite tree and transition tree. These tools provide a coherent strategy and synchronized plan to implement the change. I often substitute a project plan for the TOC transition tree tool.7
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.