Daniel Von Fange

Life, Code, and Cool Stuff

Theory of Constraints

I am reading the excellent book Death March (Amazon). I just came across the diagram of the theory of constraints. ( Identify the systems constraints > Find a way to exploit the system’s constraints > Subordinate all other activities to the exploitation of the system’s constraints. )

Wow. That exactly describes the building phase of most Real Time Strategy games. I remember my first game of Total Annihilation. My friend who was introducing me too the game was my ally. I had managed to build about four tanks and a ship, so I sent my ship over to find the enemy. As soon as my ship neared the enemy continent, they sky became dark. My friend flew something like eighty advanced aircraft right over my ship and turned the enemy into rubble in less than a minute. He knew what the constraints were, and was exploiting them. I had no clue what the constraints were.

It’s amazing how naturally we find out what is the primary thing holding us back in a game, and yet don’t think of applying the same search and exploit procedure to life and business.