In Los Angeles, California, the traffic can get bad. One day a while back someone heard about the latest traffic jam from the traffic helicopter seeing it all from above (like on a Kanban board), and some Engineer decided to apply a highway on-ramp stop light to meter the flow of new cars into the highway. It helped reduce traffic jams.

This throttling of incoming cars also helps with work items when developing courseware. The metering device is not a stop light at the on-ramp, but a similar acting idea called a WIP limit. This limits a particular column (process station/step) to a certain number of work items (rather than cars) that can enter the Kanban board (rather than the highway) at a time.

Florida has evacuation routes for hurricanes. The road signs indicate that during evacuation, all lanes are used for out-bound traffic. This lessens the impact of traffic jams that result from everyone fleeing the hurricane at the same time and so many cars getting bottlenecked on a two lane road. This idea of adding additional resources, sometimes called swarming, to help reduce traffic jams, can also help in your learning experience development bottlenecks.

These are simple ideas. If you want more detail on how to fix bottlenecks, read The Goal, by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox and then study Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints. We apply the Theory of Constraints, and it has workable approaches for resolving bottlenecks. It applies to courseware production as well as manufacturing, the example that Goldratt uses in his book. When reading his book, you will have to interpret the production principles from manufacturing to the courseware domain.


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