Build me an app please == Do for "TOC"what you did for "GTD"

Not sure where to put a request like this. I would love a visual planning tool from the OmniGroup and I hope other folks agree with me.

There is a great book about putting the Theory of Constraints to use: “Thinking for a Change. Putting the TOC thinking processes to Use.” by Lisa J Scheinkopf. (hard bound, expensive, and a little old by this point.)

The “5 thinking processes” originated by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt in his book the The Goal are helpful methods to breaking down complex situation into manageable plans.

I won’t go into detail, but at the highest level, they help to figure out

  1. Where am I ? What needs changing ? (Current reality Tree in TOC terms)

  2. Where do I want to go ? (Future Reality Tree in TOC terms)

  3. How do I get there ? How do I cause change ? (Transition Tree in TOC terms)

  4. Is my plan sufficient ? (Pre-Requisite Tree in TOC terms, and bridges the gap between Future Reality Tree and Transition Tree)

  5. How to imagine the Future ? (Evaporating Cloud in TOC terms, helping the paradigm shifts from Current Reality to Future Reality )

I have found these to be powerful tools to help clarify my thinking. Sadly, there are almost no tools out there to make it simple to put these processes into practice (other than drawing & editing every single diagram every step of the way.)

These TOC processes are “working” (thinking) tools and provide a methodology most naturally used in OmniGraffle, however, due its nature that these thinking processes are about driving change it is also very close linked to OmniOutliner and OmniPlan / OmniFocus.

Similar to how OmniFocus has woven in threads from the “Getting Things Done” methodology, I see an opportunity to inject support for specific practices and methodologies from “Theory of Constraints” to create a powerful tool.

Starting with OmniGraffle and mixing in some features from OmniPlan (Network Diagrams), I think many of the mechanical and foundational parts of the (my imagined new tool) are almost there.

What I envision is a OmniGraffle-esque “workspace” to visually solve the problems of how to drive change, and then being able to produce a task oriented representation in OmniPlan (or OmniFocus or OmniOutliner).

The only software that I have found in this space is Flying Logic , and its a old Java 5 app, and I would love to find an alternative, and you guys build some of the best apps around. Having a quick scan of their website you can get a taste of ToC.

If nothing else, maybe you can build a complete visual planning tool into OmniPlan, but I think you have the components to make an amazing app in this space.

Do other folks know of Theory of Constraints ? Put the ToC practices to use ? If so, how ? Are there other tools than FlyingLogic Out there ?


What about inShort that is available for iPad and Mac? I have the iPad version but haven’t actually played with it much. It is based around TOC and creates flow charts and process diagrams.

Thanks @Splinky, I’ll check it out… based on cursory glance, it makes me feel like OmniGroup could build the app I really want to use :)

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I am also looking for a tool to diagram reality trees, evaporating clouds, etc. I wonder if there is a way to accomplish it with templates and AppleScript in OmniGraffle. As I am relatively new to TOC, I’m going to play around with it and will let you know what I come up with.

Quite a big and time-consuming undertaking. Flying Logic is actively maintained, and may prove cheaper to use, in terms of opportunity costs.

I did a lot of research before paying for a subscription to Flying Logic, and man is it worth it. FL is 100% the right tool for TOC Thinking Processes. OF is a great tool for many things, and OF would work fine for a relatively static diagram like a cloud, but as soon as you try effect-cause-effect diagrams, FL is worth its weight in gold. You can also export from FL to import into OF if you want to modify it for a presentation. Can’t recommend FL enough.

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