My bin and vistula river October 2019, Kraków Podgórze, Vistula river and Theory-of-constraints-compliant bare metal bin.

I’ve visited ToC practitioners roadshow 2019 organized by ToC+ Institute earlier this month in 5 cities in Poland. I wanted to share my experience after touring Kraków and Warsaw editions. Those who were absent can start regretting the decision not to go.


Key takeaways:

  • It’s real, Goldratt was right: applying Theory of constraints puts your business on a new level of performance.
  • People are resistant to change, be ready for hard work.

Pawel Schmidt opening Mr Paweł Schmidt, who knew Mr Goldratt in person, is opening an event in Warsaw.

“It’s only in the books” argument killed

This is the biggest value of this event. Usually when you discuss ToC with somebody the first argument and resistance to change is an excuse similar to the following:

Awesome book! However, it’s only a theory - an ideal world presented in the book. Reality is different.

This argument gets killed after visiting the roadshow. You can listen to all the presentations, you can ask questions, probe the speakers both publicly or in person.

It’s real. First-hand accounts. The world presented in Goldratt’s books gets incarnated in all case studies presented. The patterns and mechanics of Theory of constraints are very visible and clear. I mean here e.g. “subordinate everything to the constraint” rule - see list of cases below to see what it does mean in practice.

Interview Recording a video with the point expressed above.

Broad range of real-world examples

It was extremely helpful to see a very broad scope of ToC applications. I’ve listened to 6 case studies and all presented by top managers or business owners. Most of the stories come from recent months including cases where year ago an implementer knew nothing about ToC.

In each case speakers were forced to work themselves in the very work centre being a constraint in his organization. Imagine a thin company director working a full shift on an exhausting machine in a big factory :) Perfect example of the “subordinate everything” step of ToC.

Insights and stories

Speakers were asked interesting questions, revealing many, sometimes shocking, insights about the process of applying Theory of constraints:

  • salesman -> blue-collar - company owner convincing top salesman to become a manual worker and to work in the constraint - awesome case!
  • vandalism and threats - colleagues destroyed one employee’s locker as a threat and “advice” not to cooperate with company management.
  • engineer as taxi driver - temporarily moving an educated engineer, employed as factory technologist, to become a taxi driver for a salesmen on hundreds-kilometers-long distances
  • heroics - brave act of doing best to protect sales and throughput, learning to do complex welding overnight by a company owner or to go to a repairing service at 4 a.m. in the morning.
  • state-owned hospital - public hospitals don’t have a good reputation in Poland. An extraordinary case where employees worked miracles by behaving as genuine businessmen, drastically eliminated waste and queues - a typical problem in Poland’s health care system
  • conquering sales - making the company to be actual owner of the sales process - instead of the salesman who can exit a company together with “his” clients. Building a highly effective sales system using ToC techniques
  • mafia offer - introducing operational advantage that enabled creating an offer that buyers simply cannot refuse
  • do I look like a salesman? - building sales process on top of unqualified people among whom there is no typical salesman

To name a few!

Mr Narcis Giralt presentation Mr Narcis Giralt presenting in Warsaw.

Case studies list

Company What they do Speaker ToC application
Celuterm Construction services Grzegorz Fleger sales, operation
HitIt Selling 21st-century commodity: computers Marcin Wyrwas sales, operations
Budmater Sales of complex construction elements Dariusz Urbaś sales
Alda Stainless steel bins factory Wojciech Maziarz sales, manufacturing
Huta Ostrowiec Forge, manufacturing Narcis Giralt manufacturing
Burn Treatment Centre
(“Siemianowicka Oparzeniówka”)
Hospital Przemysław Strzelec public sector

Mr Przemyslaw Strzelec Mr Przemysław Strzelec presenting in Kraków.


I also had a unique chance to participate in a “Change and leadership” workshop run by Joanna Drucka - Podbereska from ToC+ Institute.

It was a decent portion of new knowledge, very interesting discussions with the trainer and participants followed by a lot of inspirations and self-reflection. It opened my eyes on a few topics related to driving change.


The event was a very rare experience to get networked with new people interested in the topic. It gathered a lot of people being familiar with ToC. Almost everyone I spoke with has read The Goal book already.

Networking was very well supported by:

  • city-centre location of the venue, both Kraków and Warsaw
  • a proper infrastructure of networking space, lunch downstairs, free coffee, tea, snacks, etc

Industries the people I spoke with came from: injection moulding, plastics manufacturing, publishing, logistics, consulting, printing, banking, housing development and software development.

What was the only problem for me is that the event was in polish only. This was problematic as, working in an international company, it limits the number of colleagues I could engage to go to the event. On the other hand I do understand this, as it’s difficult to find speakers and preparing a speech is very time consuming - especially in a foreign language.

Despite the issue above, The Roadshow was an unquestionably very beneficial networking event.

Networking area Krakow Inside networking area in Kraków edition.


There were a lot of funny situations during the event. Both in the networking area and on the stage. My favourite was a business card draw. One of the awards was real bare metal indoor bin! It is special as it was produced in the factory managed by Wojciech Maziarz who successfully applied ToC in sales.

In Kraków edition, the man collecting gifts confused gadgets and took a normal bin from the corridor - together with garbage inside! It has happened as all the bins in the hotel was from the very same factory! It was discovered quite late - when the gift was being handed to the winner :)

Probability works so next day in Warsaw the bin award was given…

Bin award Bare metal that I’ve won in business card draw :)

…to me! Brand new in this case. Proud of myself! Not a small one and I had to take it back to Kraków by train.

Selfie with Joanna Drucka - Podbereska and one of the last attendees leaving the event Selfie with Joanna Drucka - Podbereska and one of the last attendees leaving the event :)


Congratulations to Paweł Schmidt, Joanna Katarzyna Drucka-Podbereska and Jacek Branas for organizing the roadshow! Great event providing plenty of value!

You should check out those people and their ToC+ Institute.

Thanks to all speakers for giving great motivational and inspirational speeches! For testimonials proving that Mr Goldratt was completely right!

Stay in touch

Developers! ToC is the primary building block of DevOps movement. If you want to work in an environment that employs ToC and other DevOps principles in daily work contact me via LinkedIn or apply via Tagvenue’s careers site!

If you are an IT professional interested in ToC and want to talk/meet, to exchange experience, in Kraków or Warsaw, then contact me on LinkedIn. I am applying this know-how into my daily work.

I am currently working an a blog post series and a conference speech (see CodeteCON and PHPCon) dedicated to software developers. It explains ToC using kebab restaurant as an example. :)


2019-10-22 - grammar and spelling fixed