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 School Improvement:  Constraints
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Schools are rich and complex organizations.  There is so much about them that could be improved (made easier and better). The elements of schools are interconnected in many different ways.  The implications are that

  • there is more to improve than can be addressed at any point in time
  • improving almost anything will have a flow on effect to many other things
  • improving some things will have a much greater overall benefit than other things
  • thus, there is a sense in which some things are like constraints
  • constraints are often misunderstood based on assumptions that are believed to apply equally well to factories and schools, that is,
  • constraints are commonly are assumed to be resources, skills and motivation but are usually things like knowledge and policy (see generative systems)

Goldratt has developed a continuous improvement strategy based on a comprehensive understanding of the best improvement, that is, the answer to three key questions:

  1. What to change?
  2. What to change to?
  3. How to bring about the change?  That is,
  • Identify the constraint
  • Decide how to better manage the constraint (now and in the future)
  • Make this decision your top priority
  • Improve the situation so that this is no longer the constraint
  • Identify the new constraint, and so on, continuously