2017/09/07: Utah Ops & Goldratt Consulting: Breakthrough Reults For Government and Business Part 2

by Gene Kim on


2017/09/07: Utah Ops & Goldratt Consulting: Breakthrough Reults For Government and Business


Kicking off Goldratt conference: Kristen Cox, Exec Director, Office of Mgmt and Budget, State of Utah

Up: Retired Lt General Andrew Busch (former head of Defense Logistics Agency)

  • Cox: “Lt General Busch will talk about he used Theory of Constraints to help taxpayers, our troops and our country” (how marvelous @nicolefv!)
  • Busch: “Defense Logistics Agency: our product is military readiness: our customers are the warfights (w/constrained budgets)
  • Busch: “95% of our workforce are civilians; generals are like SVP of business unit”
  • Busch: “Senior military roles are capped at 2-3 years: very much ‘up or out’; must quickly orient and contribute
  • Busch: led orgs from 4500 to 25,000 employees: last gig was only 45 military personnel
  • Busch: “These are profit/loss businesses; 2005-2017, we were at war, emerging China/Russia; req strong operational focus
  • Busch: “Our budget process is as convuluted as anything on planet; using money budgeted 5 years prior; financial & readiness objectives
  • Busch: “Aircraft MRO: C-5 Strategic Airlift: largest strategic airlift asset for US: only 112 exist; demand was incredibly high
  • Busch: “7 year maint cycle; taking 1yr to do overhaul; WIP 10-16 planes; 10-15% airlift capacity in overhaul
  • Busch: “cycle time for overhaul was 350 days; used TOC Critical Chain proj mgmt to reduce cycle time to 160 days”
  • Busch: “Problems: employees were multitasking; lots of airplanes parked waiting; feeling that couldn’t let planes sit, so threw ppl at it
  • Busch: “Build system to manage common pool of safety buffer; when plane came in, took off pylons, engines, paint, sent to repair shop; then we left it alone, for the first time ever
  • Busch: “40% cut of WIP; reduced cycle time from 340 to 160 days; returned 8 additional 8 aircraft to support warfighter
  • Busch: “Freed up dock space for additional work, b/c fewer planes parked; and gave rebates to our customers
  • Busch: “Coverting to Critical Chain started before I got there; my predecessors set the goal of 160 days
  • Busch: “160 day target was easy to embrace, b/c fit into overall mission of Air Force; ‘know that u’re right, trust your intuition

  • Busch: “Next tasking: DoD Aviation Spare Parts: supply management for all Dept of Defense; 1MM parts: largest Enterprise Biz System

  • Busch: “Probs: inside SAP, customer backorders were up 78%; backlogged purchase reqs up 72%” (very similar to industry probs)

  • Busch: “Probs: entirely new org chart, new job reqs, new terminology

  • Busch: “My mission: turn my org into a contract order machine: inputs were purchase reqs to buy, thru pricing, contracting; outputs: awards, grants

  • Busch: “10-15 months of work in queue: ppl waiting over years to get needed purchases thru the contracting system” (!!!)

  • Busch: “Again, the problem was poor WIP control: used Drum Buffer Rope to regulate work

  • Busch: “Results: late awards reduced by 22%; award throughput increased 19%

  • Busch: “Over time, backlog went from 15 months down to 3 months; 80% reduction of cycle time

  • Leadership lessons

  • Busch: “Setting BIG goals is critical to success; core team of believers/implementers is essential; invest in them

  • Busch: “2% improvement targets are not enough of a rallying cry to get people involved and excited”

  • Busch: “Employees want to be on winning teams and they want leadership to take them there

  • Busch: “People were always poring thru my calendar, looking to see how I spend my time: where I focused sends powerful signal of values

  • Busch: “You will spend far more time on process rather than metrics; the pages of reports of metrics were causing the probs

  • Busch: “I.e., people showing your reports of metrics is what causes the whack-a-mole problems, causes the chronic problem

  • Busch: “Must focus on making things that make change enduring: that means policy & resources, budgeting process

  • Busch: “In my last gig, I had separate team that focused on lasting change: changing standard operating procedures,

  • Busch: “In military, balance between ‘finger in chest’ & ‘bringing folks along’ — your personal leadership style; servant leadership” (!!)

  • Busch: “Early in my career, I realized I was a micro-manager: poor delegator; had to learn to delegate

  • Busch: “A mentor taught me: at end of meeting, don’t talk: ask for opinions for those around you;

  • Andrew E Busch: Andrew.e.busch at g dot com


  • Busch: “There will be setbacks; stay the course and draw upon your mentors; tremendous strength & resolve thru sharing stories w/others

  • Andrew E Busch: Andrew.e.busch at g dot com

Up: Kristen Cox: Exec Director, Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, State of Utah

  • Cox: “this works take a community; b/c we have to problem solve together, get feedback, need support to keep going;
  • Cox: “The Seductive 7 Excuses:
  • Cox: “This game of leadership is a game of emotions as well as intellect; we give more power to the obstacles than the goal
  • Cox: “‘yes, but’ is powerful for risk mitigation, but often kills the ability to make progress; vision must be more powerful than obstacles
  • Cox: “The large vision enables hidden organization capacity
  • Cox sharing her story of training as she started going blind after accident; holy cow. Training incl finding way home after being dropped off
  • Cox: “Another big obstacle is belief we have to be experts; often requires unlearning so many beliefs; be a beginner
  • Cox: “prob: commerce & opioid addiction; reducing paperwork for state troopers; creating $$ for parents to allow kid piano lessons; commerce fuels public
  • Cox: “it’s not okay to be content;
  • Cox: “#2: Embrace Constraints: ran dept of disabilities for Maryland;
  • Cox: “Problematic goal: make $1MM in 6 mos; if I robbed back to achieve it, did I really achieve goal?
  • Cox: “lazy thinking happens when we have don’t have boundaries and constraints”
  • Cox: “My bad goal from career: improve outcomes for people with disabilities; no constraints or boundaries
  • Cox: “A goal I like: Elon Musk: get into space, but cheaper than NASA and make vehicles renewable; serves as problem constraints
  • Cox: “Social services: dept of corrections welfare programs; constraints: fixed budget; better relationship w/agency; lower cycle times; reduced recidivism
  • Cox: “Focus on THE problem to solve” (Ha! “Flow-cus”)
  • Cox: “The Seductive 7 Excuses: more money/tech/reorgs/training/communication/data/accountability/blame/strategic planning
  • Cox: “We use the Seductive 7 Excuses when we don’t really understand the problem
  • #devops Fascinating; Cox is asserting how leaning on the Seductive 7 Excuses ensures we’ll never achieve big goals
  • Cox: “TOC highlights that the largest constraint is leadership/management time and attention: 8 Flaws
  • Cox: “When I drop an apple, why does it fall? One answer: “gravity”; better answer: “you let it go” (b/c that is within your control)
  • Cox: see video: “work piling up results in status calls, building new systems to manage all the WIP”
  • Cox: “need help needing welfare; speed matters especially when dealing with people’s lives, or building roads” — Cox: from 96 hours to 32 hours; one change reduces cost per unit by 30%
  • Cox: “Strategy sounds so fun and sexy; but the real value is created is in Execution
  • Cox: “What I’d like everyone to do when you get back to work on Monday: make a list of things you’re going to stop doing”

Panel: Utah Social Services

  • “as you know, case loads grow”
  • we wanted to get them out of poverty; intensive dosage
  • overcome barriers: childcare, resume, mock interviews; on their way to success
  • they’re more likely to reach out to employment counselor
  • limit WIP: alliance survey shows that the relationship is there
  • Eligibility services division: not “you have 22 cases, here’s 4 more”
  • prepatory plan counts as 4 cases; targeted plan counts as 1: simple weighting, not complex mathematical formula
  • tried capping it: it limited WIP; we actually had more capacity, so we modified the rules with just simple weighting

  • Listening to amazing story of how Utah Human/Workforce Services improve flow/outcomes for vulnerable population get back on feet

  • Big problem was case management/high WIP: prioritized relationship building in beginning; each case in that phase weighted 4x

  • Conducted controlled trials: experiment controlled WIP: initial phase weighted 4x; seeing dramatic lead time reductions in counselor scheduling

  • Outcomes: happier counselor, higher survey results, better intimacy with customers; helping in critical phases when customers need help

  • When customers back on feet, no longer getting financial assistance, still want to meet with counselors; lasting lifelong impact

  • Better yet, customers are able to maintain employment, lower rates of recidivism;

  • Up: Curtis Giles, Human Services, Davison of Child & Family Services

  • 4200 employees across the state: ensure safe children

  • every 8 min, call made about abused/neglected children; 10K children helped; 27 children a day

  • Giles: “in our work, WIP is a child who needs help; our pilot covers 3 teams, 1500+ cases; very successful early indicators

  • Larson: “We’re borrowing Scrum terminology; each case is on a Kanban board, focusing on most vulnerable urgent cases;

  • Larson: “In our world, it’s easy to multitask: after all, each case is a child who needs our help; WIP limits requires discipline, enables slack capacity

  • Larson: “when we visualized work, constraint became immediately clear; case workers got stuck in critical decision: ‘is child at high/med/low risk?

  • Larson: “it’s a tough emotional decision; managers helped case workers make these decisions; WIP limits enabled this

  • Larson: “Reduction in WIP increased our capacity to help kids”

  • “WIP limits allowed us to close out cases faster; we start cases in batches of 3 instead of round-robin; reduced multitasking (go in field vs office

  • “Batching allowed case workers to do similar work at the same time, maintaining work context (in office vs. in field)


  • after tweet, focus on editor box so I can keep note taking
  • “Tweet from Scribe:” disable notification
  • See screenshot: Tweetbox needs min width, should be the same as max width: (see Jurgen Kanz: @juergenKanz tweet from 9:33am”
  • should have some visual indicator in Tweetbox that tweet has been sent already
  • keyboard accelerator: Command-S to Save Scribe
  • deeply understand how RT often shows elipses at the end: see excerpt below
  • move notifications to upper-left, so it doesn’t hide Hashtag field

- @weekstweets: RT @RealGeneKim: #Tocot Cox: “When I drop an apple, why does it fall? One answer: “gravity”; better answer: “you let it go” (b/c that is wi…