05 October 2009


I recently came across the idea of an "acquisition wind tunnel" that would allow us to test our organizations and projects, to see how streamlined and efficient they are.

I like that imagery... I think. At the same time, I wonder if some of the points of friction and resistance might not be some of the more interesting and productive parts of the project. I guess it depends on how we define friction.

It occurs to me that one person's friction is another person's traction. Similarly, one person's momentum is another person's inertia. So, in this hypothetical wind tunnel, we'd have to be specific about how we distinguish between negative friction and positive traction. And the tricky thing is, the line between friction and traction is probably pretty fuzzy (and it probably moves).

This wind tunnel concept no doubt could be implemented under a Theory of Constraints sort of framework. No doubt the Lean crowd would find that this idea resonates with them. And frankly that makes me hesitant about the whole thing.

At the same time, I do like the idea of setting up some well-defined streams of "wind" that we could point at a project, organization, etc, to assess its flight worthiness. A FIST-based wind tunnel could have real value in identifying opportunities to unleash the creative power of constraints and restraint.

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