The first test is always “What would it take to remove the need for this output in this case?”

In its purest form, the IFR for any system output is the constant zero, meaning the supersystem has successfully evolved to provide the value of the team output without any cost, harms, or problems, making the system output no longer needed as a component of the supersystem.

IFR = 0

  • Ideal Final Result (IFR) - The perfect combination of a systems configuration that all value is recognized without any cost, problems, or harms.

Now, this is not suggesting that the perfect solution to every problem is to eliminate the team of people that produce output. That is a consistent but erroneous impulsive reaction when introduced to the concept of the IFR being zero. 

Remember, TSoT is a continuous improvement framework, when an IFR reaches zero it means the system has evolved to being resource positive and that teams can be assigned new work to build on existing organization capability to add new value or create new efficiencies.

This can be a difficult concept to accept as it stretches our embracing philosophically lean and efficient to its farthest conception; understanding the need for this though is key to understanding TSoT. As systems form and evolve the ideal state of the system is improved the closer it approaches zero, meaning the closer it can provide ideal benefits at perfect efficiency with no costs, problems, or harms. 

There are many examples of roles and systems coming and going. An example could be the mail room at a small bank, where for many decades value was provided by sending out monthly bank statements; today many small banks only provide those statements online, delivering the value of a bank statement to their customers without the cost, problems, and harms of sending out paper statements. We will cover several examples later to emphasis this concept.