Developed more than 30 years ago by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt, the Theory of Constraints was born of the factory floor, but its principles have long since been adopted by other industry sectors, from retail to IT to DevOps. Just as it hasn’t been restricted to manufacturing, TOC hasn’t been limited to the private sector; the United States military has been leveraging critical chain project management and other TOC tools for more than a decade.
However, in recent years, TOC has begun turning up in a public sector environment not generally mentioned in discussions of efficiency or process improvement—government departments and agencies. Several U.S. states and at least one European country (Lithuania) have begun to integrate TOC with promising results. With its governor fully on board, the State of Utah has been championing the cause. Kristen Cox, Executive Director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, speaks internationally about the state’s success with TOC, and recently gave a featured keynote at the 2014 Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization (TOCICO) conference in Washington, D.C.
While industry website governing.com has called Utah “the poster child for constraints management,” the states of Texas and Hawaii have also reported significant improvements attributable to TOC implementation in various departments, and the Idaho Department of Labor has indicated an implementation is underway. For those interested in learning more, TOCICO has created a new Government portal on its website that features brief presentations on the topic.