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Incomplete Constraints

As we continue to explore the constraint paradigm, it can also be essential to apply some heuristics to good constraint design. An Incomplete Constraint can be somewhat troublesome when applied to a human system. Take, for instance, an organization that wishes to use rigor in its cost management processes.

Given the constraint: Do not exceed your budget.

This constraint is incomplete, and it does not provide enough information for the human system to adapt to it.

Exercise: Complete the Constraint statement in a way that would make it enable. Alternatively, provide accompanying heuristics to help independent learning.


Constraint statement: Do not exceed your budget.

Providing data and direction: We have defined targets for each department in spreadsheet X; please refer to your name on the first tab.

Providing strategy and starting points: We have also provided each department with cost-saving exercises they can perform with their respective disciplines as jumping-off points.

Providing motivation and transparency: If we fail to meet our budget targets, we will have to reduce spending in other areas. An example may be that we stop working with vendor X, which would prevent us from doing Y.