Getting Rid Of Chokepoints

February 19, 2009

Tim Walker at Business Insight Zone has an article titled; Watch out for chokepoints!

If you are a SMB of just about any size larger than a handful of people, I would bet that in your IT there are probably some good ones.

A chokepoint is any point where one or more tasks, or pieces of work, are held up waiting for some deliverable.

Your technology provider or team  can be a doozy when it comes to chokepoints.


Because we like it that way! (kidding people!)

In process lingo, you are waiting for someone’s output, that becomes your input for the next task, or stage of work.

And too often we don’t truly manage the delivery of that IT output.

Does anyone check how long it takes to fix something that is broken?

Do you even know what the timeline is for obtaining some new device or functionality?

Is there anyone even responsible for finding out?

Why is there no record of who or when some request was made?

Direct vs Indirect Chokepoints

IT can be a direct chokepoint if the simplest of requests takes the damndest amount of time to get done. 

We all recognize those bottlenecks; I can’t do that until I get X… or; I asked for Y weeks ago….

But more common and more important, your technology staff or provider can also be an indirect chokepoint if time is wasted figuring out why this new change happened out of thin air. Or if something that you feel should take 2 minutes to perform takes 30. All because you have to jump through technology caused hoops to get it done.

These can be more difficult to identify.

But Look Around

Someone phones, something is written down and given to someone else, who types something in a computer somewhere, who then prints something and hands it to someone else …

You get the idea.

Or try this one;

A customer is disputing one of your invoices. And the only resolution is calling one by one everyone from sales through shipping trying to find out what, where, when and why.

PS: It Ain’t Just an IT Problem

As a SME business manager, before you beat your IT staff or provider about the head and shoulders, ask yourself if IT is part of the conversation.

Do you meet regularly to discuss issues and opportunities?

How about chokepoints?

Or are those conversations similar to a root canal, something to be avoided at all costs?

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Bottle Necks, Are Chokepoints

Bottle Necks, Are Chokepoints


Photo Credit: lapstrake


2 Responses to “Getting Rid Of Chokepoints”

  1. elliotross Says:

    Tim, Thanks for dropping by, insidious is a perfect word for it.

    Because if you told 98% of the people doing the busywork that I described above – they would not be interested – “The way we have always done it” makes considering anything else difficult.

    Which is why management is important.

    In fact, I have a personal example that I will use as a post of its own!



  2. Tim Walker Says:

    Good thoughts, Elliot. I particularly like what you say about *indirect* chokepoints. The direct ones often stand out, and even entrenched bureaucratic problems can be uprooted if most people can agree what they are. But the indirect ones are far more insidious, like a wasting disease.

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