The Limiting Step

by Domenico SolazzoApr 26th, 2017

Back to the previous article about managing a company as a production line. It is important to understand an important concept called limiting step.

It is the longest step in your production flow that determine the shape of your operation.

Let’s say that you are building a website. This website includes:

⋅⋅* the visual part of the user interface logic (frontend)

⋅⋅* an API containing the business logic

⋅⋅* a graphical design

⋅⋅* a database connector for connecting to the data source.

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In this example, we will assume that the API development would be the longer step. Let’s plan the entire web application around this.

As you can see below, while developing the API we could get the graphical design in place, develop the frontend and connect our application to the database.

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Action step

Take what you are trying to build and find the limiting step. Try to plan your development time around this step.

Many things can change while developing your project. Requirements changes, engineers discover roadblocks and you will discover a new limiting step.

At the point, you can re-plan your entire web application around this new limiting step.

For example, the new limiting step is the frontend as illustrated below. At this point, we discover that the frontend code will take longer. Maybe your engineers started using a framework with some bugs, they just mess the code architecture or maybe they were lazy (it can happen )

What do you do?

The limiting step is the frontend code. So, why we wait for the frontend to be read we could implement the graphical design, connect our application to the data source and implement the API that will be used from the frontend code.

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Learning how to find and plan around this limiting step can help you to move faster.


What are you building right now and what is your limiting step?