Big List of 20 Common Bottlenecks
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 9:15AM
Todd Hoff in Strategy

In Zen And The Art Of Scaling - A Koan And Epigram Approach, Russell Sullivan offered an interesting conjecture: there are 20 classic bottlenecks. This sounds suspiciously like the idea that there only 20 basic story plots. And depending on how you chunkify things, it may be true, but in practice we all know bottlenecks come in infinite flavors, all tasting of sour and ash.

One day Aurelien Broszniowski from Terracotta emailed me his list of bottlenecks, we cc’ed Russell in on the conversation, he gave me his list, I have a list, and here’s the resulting stone soup.

Russell said this is his “I wish I knew when I was younger" list and I think that’s an enriching way to look at it. The more experience you have, the more different types of projects you tackle, the more lessons you’ll be able add to a list like this. So when you read this list, and when you make your own, you are stepping through years of accumulated experience and more than a little frustration, but in each there is a story worth grokking.


If you have any more to add or you have suggested fixes, please jump in.

Thanks to Aurelien and Russell for all their applied brain power.

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