5 Questions to Find Bottlenecks on High-Performance Teams



These are five questions I find help understand where a team is at in terms of their ability to achieve their goals effectively:

  1. We have capability do we have capacity?
  2. We have capacity do we have capability?
  3. We have capacity and capability, do we have throughput?
  4. We have capability, capacity and throughput, do we have effectiveness? (against goals and desired outcomes)
  5. We have capacity, capability, and throughput, do we have efficiency? (Now we know what to do, can we do it well.)

Evaluate Demand, Throughput and Supply

#3 is especially interesting.  

It forces you to analyze and evaluate, demand, throughput, and supply.  It raises issues around “push” vs. “pull” strategies. 

It raises issues around team structure and design.  It raises issues around how you split or combine the work, to go along with how you split or combine the team.  

Find Your Bottlenecks

It also is a great place to use TOC (Theory of Constraints) analysis to find your worst bottleneck and push the bottleneck around (it’s always somewhere, and if you know where your bottleneck is, you can decide if it’s the best place to be or what to do about it.) 

This is also a great chance to explore different methodologies, strategies and systems for execution.  For example, if you want to be more responsive to demand and “pull” things through your execution engine, then Lean practices are a great place to look.

#4 and #5 are about moving up the stack, once you have the basics in place and can run some water through your pipe.

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