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Lean Six Sigma.

Lean Six Sigma.

Lean Six Sigma.

TP Application Paper 1 Write a comprehensive paper on the application of the TP tools to a selected problem, system, or situation using either the “snowflake” or the “three-cloud” method as described in the text. The paper should include both the CRT and the EC applied to a real situation, process, or problem. In the narrative of the paper, describe the problem, situation, or system, how it was selected, the logic used or applied, the procedure, and the CRT outputs along with the generic cloud or core conflict. Select a real problem, situation, process, or issue to apply the TP tools. Explain the rationale for its selection. Use either the snowflake or three-cloud method as described in Chapter 25 on the text. Walk the reader through the steps used using narrative, figures, and tables (as needed). Use APA formatting for the entire document. Make sure the tables and figures are formatted per APA. Include the one or more Current Reality Trees (CRTs) to describe the current situation. Include one or more Evaporating Clouds to describe the generic or core conflict. Include the use of Negative Branch Reservation (NBR) as needed. Evaluate the results using the Categories of Legitimate Reservation (CLRs). Provide a summary of the process and an interpretation the results or expected benefits.

The primary goals of this assignment:

1. Does the paper demonstrate that you have a fundamental knowledge of TOC and the Thinking Process tools? 2. Does the paper achieve its intended purpose to apply the theory to a real experiential case?

this is the link to the book. (kindle)


At the completion of this section, students will be able to:

· Analyze and evaluate the Thinking Process tools

· Apply the Thinking Process tools to a selected problem, system, or situation

· Describe the elements and purpose of the Strategy and Tactics (S&T) Tree

· Understand the logic of the Categories of Legitimate Reservation (CLRs) and the use of Negative Branch Reservation (NBR) in the solution of problems

· Identify the Layers of Resistance and the TOC approach to creating buy-in

· Create a sense of ownership in the workforce for proposing solutions to ongoing problems

Overview/Topic Introduction/”Lecture”

TOC Thinking Processes (TP)

Chapter 25 is in some ways the heart of TOC thinking in that the application of action to the correct leverage points of a system requires a systematic approach to problems and a methodology for implementing agreed-upon changes. From Womack and Jones (2003) to Senge (1999) authors have promoted various strategies for solving problems and creating change in organizations. Goldratt (1992) proposed a set of thinking process tools to help organizations and individuals foster the development of ongoing improvement. These tools provoke answers to the questions, “what to change?,” “what to change to?,” and “how to cause the change?” Goldratt’s tools provide a roadmap for people developing change strategies in the organization, including the application of the Theory of Constraints (TOC).

The thinking tools are appealing because they use both logic and intuition while being highly adaptable. However, learning to use the tools appropriately takes time and effort. Application of the thinking tools is in some ways an antecedent to the application of TOC and ongoing improvement. The thinking tools are a mechanism for creating the capacity necessary to begin many types of change activities such as those suggested by Womack and Jones (2003), Senge (1999), Covey (1990), Wheatley (2001), and others.

The problem is that organizations need a standard set of tools for describing, communicating, learning, changing, and improving the way they do business. Changes to processes, policies, and behaviors drive most improvements. Many organizations today suffer from the disease of erroneous assumption. Managers make bad decisions based on these assumptions. Changing markets, perpetual crisis, incomplete information, and system noise convince many managers that decisions based on intuition and gut-instinct are just as good as any fact-based data. Managers need a common language for decision making. They need a set of decision tools for cooperative solutions based on collaborative communication. The thinking process tools are a solution to this problem. The thinking tools provide a method for establishing a common base of knowledge and better business practice. While they are not the only means available, they provide sound approaches for capturing, evaluating, and testing commonly accepted assumptions while stimulating creative solutions. The TP consists of five application tools as shown in Table 1.

Table 1

The Five Thinking Process Application Tools

Application Tool


Current Reality Tree

Maps existing conditions. Identifies core problems and common causes.

Evaporating Cloud

Identifies the assumptions that perpetuate systemic conflicts and core problems. Develops potential solutions in the form of injections.

Future Reality Tree

Using injections, this tool identifies the resulting effects or consequences.

Prerequisite Tree

Helps determine the necessary conditions, sequences, and intermediate objectives required to implement the proposed solutions.

Transition Tree

Defines the specific actions required to implement solutions that result in lasting change.

While Goldratt originally taught the tools in the sequence listed above, subsequent authors have suggested using specific tools to address specific problems, regardless of the order, or combining the tools to answer the particular question raised.

The thinking tools have no “hardware” component; they consist of “software” only. Thus, the uncertainty reduction process for deciding the relative advantages and disadvantages of the tools is difficult for potential adopters. The thinking tools are also highly associated with TOC, which gives new users the impression that they belong to a TOC technology cluster (i.e., one must embrace the TOC philosophy in order to use them). Other possible perceptions held by potential adopters include a low degree of relative advantage over other analysis tools (and the lack of computer software to use them), high complexity, and low observability. On the positive side, the tools appear to be compatible with a majority of user’s needs, values, and experiences. In addition, potential adopters can use the tools successfully on an experimental basis (i.e., trialability).

Contrarily, there are those who might not see the value of the tools and even claim that their problem solving is hampered by such a process. This is where homework and preparation comes in. The change agent knows and anticipates many of the reasons for non-adoption by preparing for these arguments using the tools themselves. A change agent can show cynics how the tools work through actual use during discussion. Why do non-adopters think the tools are not valuable? An Evaporating Cloud or Current Reality Tree would work well for this. What obstacles exist that prevent non-adopters from using the tools? The change agent can overcome concerns by developing branches of legitimate reservation and placing them on a Prerequisite Tree. An advantage of this approach is that it immediately develops the skills desired and exposes potential adopters to the logic used.

The strength of the thinking process is that Goldratt designed them to create an environment for ongoing change. They provide a common ground for creating understanding, resolving conflict, addressing concerns, and implementing sound decisions. If an organization decides to use the tools as the mechanism for creating change, there will be plenty of work for many people throughout the firm. The most exciting thing about the tools is that once introduced and part of the mainstream, the potential for learning development is unlimited. The institution becomes, as Senge suggested, a true “learning organization.”

As with all other innovations, the change agent should be alert for possible abuses and negative consequences. Groups and individuals should never use the tools for unethical practices or the establishment of policies that excessively benefit one group at the expense of another. The intent of these tools is to develop sound information to make intelligent decisions for the greater good of both the organization and community. The tools will work as intended only through rigorous application and conscientious practice. Organization leadership must be willing to demand accountability for their results.

Layers of Resistance

Although Eli Goldratt was a physicist, he had a great appreciation for the human condition as the Theory of Constraints takes into account both customer and employee satisfaction. In order for employees to grow and stay satisfied with their work, they must have the opportunity to share their ideas and gain approval for identifying, solving, and implementing solutions to ongoing problems. In order to bring about change, particularly TOC as many of its tenets are counter-intuitive, a focus on the problem rather than individuals is required. In addition, the change should result in a win for all collaborators.

“The Layers of Resistance to change originate from the TOC basic questions of change. (1) What to Change? (2) What to Change to? and (3) How to Cause the Change” (Goldratt-Ashlag, 2010, p, 572). Each of these questions must be addressed before buy-in to the change can occur and most importantly indicate the order in which the change effort should be accomplished. Analogous to the peeling of the onion, the layers of resistance must be peeled away in a logical and planned manner. Chapter 20 provides a template for dealing with each layer and the strategies for achieving a win-win solution. Depending on the size and scope of the problem, the layers that need to be addressed may range from three to nine. In addition, the use the TP tools presented in Chapter 23 are applicable for use in developing the criteria and information needed to propose, agree, and implement solutions to problems and create lasting change.

References: Covey, S. R. (1990). The seven habits of highly effective people. New York: Free Press.

Goldratt, E. M. (1992) The goal: a process of ongoing improvement. Great Barrington, MA: North River Press.

Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Roth, R., & Smith, B. (1999). The dance of change: the challenges of sustaining momentum in learning organizations. New York: Doubleday

Wheatley, M. J. (2001). Leadership and the new science: Discovering order in a chaotic world (Revised and Expanded 2nd Ed.). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Womack, J. P., & Jones, D. T. (2003). Lean thinking: banish waste and create wealth in your corporation. New York: Free Press.


Chapter 25 Scheinkopf, L. J. (2010). Thinking processes including S&T trees. In J. F. Cox, & J. G. Schleier (Eds.), Theory of constraints handbook (pp. 729-786). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Chapter 20 Goldratt-Ashlag, E. (2010). Layers of resistance—The buy-in process according to TOC. In In J. F. Cox, & J. G. Schleier (Eds.), Theory of constraints handbook (pp. 571-585). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Web Sites

Goldratt, E. M. (1996). My saga to improve production. Goldratt Marketing Group.

Grinnell, J. R. (2007). Project leadership model. Grinnell Leadership and Organizational Development.

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