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Obituary: Dr Eliyahu Goldratt

Dr Eliyahu Goldratt, the management expert who developed Critical Chain project management, has passed away.

Dr Goldratt was the author of The Goal, which has sold over 13 million copies since publication in 1984. He also wrote Critical Chain. His theories are still influential – he’s quoted in The Project Management Answer Book by Jeff Furman which only came out recently, for example.

Dr Goldratt developed the Theory of Constraints, which is a management approach predicated on the fact that no chain is stronger than its weakest link. The weakest person or part of the process can always adversely impact the outcome. The Theory of Constraints aims to find that weak link and do something about it.

The thinking behind the Theory of Constraints led to the development of Critical Chain project management. This project management approach is based on having the right resources to carry out tasks and is used as an alternative scheduling method to critical path analysis.

Apparently Dr Goldratt’s methodology has been used in 7 of the 8 largest U.S. military air depots to increase productivity by over 30%.

Dr Goldratt died on Saturday, 11 June 2011.

2 comments… add one

  • Jeff Furman 26/06/2011, 2:32 pm

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the mention, and I think your followers would enjoy
    reading Goldratt’s early book: “The Goal” which nicely dramatizes his idea as
    you talk about in your obit of finding the weak link and doing something about
    it (and exploiting it where possible, rather than eliminating it, which may sound counter-intuitive). “The Goal” is written in a unique ‘business novel’ form, and contains the kernels of his later “Theory of Constraints” and “Critical Chain Theory.” 

    • Elizabeth 26/06/2011, 3:55 pm

      Jeff, thanks for this. I haven’t read anything by Goldratt yet myself, but once I get through my current pile of project management books I will look out for them.

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