Exceeding the Goal

Adventures in Strategy, Information Technology, Computer Software, Technical Services, and Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints

Exceeding the GoalAdventures in Strategy, Information Technology, Computer Software, Technical Services, and Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints

John Arthur Ricketts

This is the printed version. For the eBook version click here.



A manager’s instinct is to strive to control everything. That’s not just ineffective, it’s a practical impossibility. So, where should managers commit finite resources to achieve their enterprise’s mission?  Eli Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints (“TOC”), introduced in The Goal, is a great place to start, but a terrible place to stop, as most readers can’t put that knowledge to use.


Constraints hold organizations in check. Without them, productivity would be easy, and companies could grow without bounds. But in most enterprises, survival and growth are perpetual struggles.


This book is intended to bring a broader understanding of strategy and information to the TOC community while introducing TOC principles to the strategy and information communities. Exceeding the Goal is the book’s title because reaching a goal may be sufficient for operations, but it’s insufficient for strategy when global competition is intense.  Exceeding the goal is the path to extraordinary results.


The author uses his own experiences in manufacturing, research, consulting, software, and strategy as the basis for the book. The “adventures” that are chronicled are true stories about real-life situations—some successful, and others not. Valuable lessons can be learned from both, with the failures serving as invaluable cautionary tales.



This book closes the gaps between:

  • Enterprise Strategy and Technical Strategy
  • The Information field and the organization it supports
  • Reading about TOC and actually implementing it.

Dr. Ricketts is a distinguished engineer and Constraint Management practitioner. His career spans manufacturing, academia, and the information field. John's job roles include professor of Information Systems, research manager in Information Technology, consulting partner in Business & Technical Services, chief technology officer in Computer Software, and venture capitalist in Corporate Strategy.


John is the author of Reaching the Goal: How Managers Improve a Services Business Using Goldratt's Theory of Constraints. His work has also appeared in MIS Quarterly, Journal of Software Maintenance, Informatica, Computer Programming Management, Service Systems Implementation, and the Theory of Constraints Handbook. 



Part 1: Overview

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Executive Priorities
  • 3. Strategy
  • 4. Information Technology, Computer Software, and Technical Services
  • 5. Constraint Management

Part 2: Technology

  • 6. Hardware
  • 7. Software
  • 8. Data
  • 9. Knowledge
  • 10. Networks
  • 11. Architecture
  • 12. Skills
  • 13. Methodology
  • 14. Projects
  • 15. Processes
  • 16. Portfolio
  • 17. Services

Part 3: Synergy

  • 18. Constraint Management Redux
  • 19. Strategy Redux
  • 20. Conclusion
  • Epilogue

Part 4: Appendices

  • A. Strategy Principles
  • B. Information Principles
  • C. Constraint Principles
  • D. Strategic Decisions