A book that deals with complex problem solving must be of benefit to consultants & practitioners of business process modelling and simulation. H. William Dettmer’s The Logical Thing Process: a Systems Approach to Complex Problem Solving is a rewrite of his 1997 work Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints.
This book provides the consultant a series of problem solving concepts (Means, Method & Motivation) that originated with Aristotle. He provides the “Categories of Legitimate Reservation” that are that foundation of the logical processes.
He provides six different thinking tools that help provide the answers to the consultant’s questions; What is the desired standard? What to change? What to change to? How to cause the change?
His approach includes entities such as; goals, critical success factors, necessary conditions, undesirable effects and root causes. All these concepts would be familiar to anyone working in the area of business process management or Six Sigma. What he does that is powerful is to show how they can be linked logically to provide business solutions.
Often the user of a BPM tool will be presented with the choice of developing, for example; a strategy model, a goal model, an issues model or a problem model to describe a business. Often this information is taken from various sources of business documentation. It is often unclear how this information can be linked.
This Logical Thinking Process provides a more logical & rigorous methodology that can support the business side of business enterprise modelling.
Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints is also discussed in this book. His Five Focusing Steps are a prescriptive method of identifying system constraints. This technique can be applied specifically in a Simulation model (for example, Provision) to identify and eliminate a system’s constraint.
Other writers are suggesting that significant benefits can be gained from using Theory of Constraint techniques with process improvement methodologies. See “Integrating six sigma and the theory of constraints for continuous improvement; a case study” by Ike Ehie & Chewn Sheu (Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management 2005).