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The Thinking Processes Part 11

The Thinking Processes Part 11

By Bob Sproull

Your Assignment

Remember in my last posting I gave all of you an assignment to create a Future Reality Tree (FRT) from the list of desirable effects (DEs).  So how did you do? 


Brief Review

Before I show you my FRT, let’s review the basics of constructing your own FRT.  The first step is to make a list of undesirable effects (UDEs) and core problems you might have identified in your Current Reality Tree (CRT).  For reference, the figure below is our original CRT.  The list we came up with was as follows:


Undesirable Effects and Core Problems from CRT

  • Performance metric efficiency is used
  • There is no Quality System in place
  • Excessive amounts of WIP inventory
  • Extended product cycle times cause later customer deliveries
  • Throughput rates are too low causing later deliveries
  • Repetitive defects are causing excessive repairs & OE
  • Excessive repairs drive up operating expenses & delay shipments
  • Excessive rework causes higher operating expenses
  • Operating expenses are too high


Dettmer [1] suggests building your FRT by using Post-it Notes, you can use a software such as Visio or Power Point as well.  The next step was to transform the UDE’s from the CRT into statements of the desired effects you’re trying to achieve.  The following are the UDEs transformed into desirable effects (DEs):


Undesirable Effects

Desirable Effects

Performance metric efficiency used at all steps Efficiency used only at constraint
No quality system in place Quality system in place an functioning
Excessive amounts of WIP inventory Minimal WIP inventory
Extended product cycle times Short product cycle time
Throughput rates are too low Throughput rates are high
Repetitive defects Very few defects are seen
Excessive repairs Very few repairs are required
Excessive rework Very little rework required
Operating expenses are too high OE are at optimum levels


When transforming UDE’s into DE’s, it’s very important that your wording expresses the desired effect as something truly positive and not neutral in nature.  In other words, when someone reads your DE’s, the DE’s should come across immediately as being truly good.  The other thing I explained was that when you are wording the DE’s, make sure they are stated in the present tense as though they were already in place.  The next step being to arrange the desired effects, you have selected to use horizontally across the top of your paper or white board.  And finally, when constructing the FRT you will need to add other ideas (i.e. injections) in order to be able to realize the final desired effect.



Based upon the desirable effects we listed above, the figure below is my Future Reality Tree.  There are quite a few steps left to do as recommended by Dettmer [1], but for our purposes this is how to construct an FRT.  For example, we did not look for negative branches and did not build in any positive reinforcing loops, but the essence of the FRT construction has been demonstrated.  One thing I did not mention in the earlier posts is the purpose of the elliptical objects within both the CRT and the FRT.  These objects are the logical “and” statements, meaning that when two or more arrows pass through the ellipse, then all of the entities must be in place to achieve the upper level entity.

Future Reality Tree (click to enlarge)

Next time

In my next posting we’ll introduce the final two TP Tools, the Prerequisite Tree and the Transition Tree.  As always, if you have any questions or comments about any of my posts, leave me a message and I will respond. 

Until next time.

Bob Sproull


[1] The Logical Thinking Process – H. William Dettmer, Quality Press, 2007

Bob Sproull

About the author

Bob Sproull has helped businesses across the manufacturing spectrum improve their operations for more than 40 years.

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