Clustered pipeline model

Clustered pipeline model

This clustered pipeline development model is based on drum-buffer-rope and the theory of constraints. The theory is concerned with eliminating bottlenecks to increase efficiency based on the following five focusing steps:

  1. Identify the constraint - In this case development and testing time.
  2. Exploit the constraint – Ensure resources are consistently working on releases.
  3. Subordinate everything else – The whole system is designed to focus on this point.
  4. Elevate the constraint – Development efficiency is elevated as the key.
  5. Go back to step 1

As such, all requirements are documented in an inventory and are forwarded to the development teams (the drum):

The drum represents the bottleneck of the process (developers). The process is designed to ensure that the drum has work and that anything the drum has processed does not get wasted.


The buffer protects the developers by regulating the workload. This workload is managed by the Project Manager and is measured in task duration. Prioritization is based on the time an order is placed in the inventory and the criticality of the order.

The rope is the work release mechanism for the A-Z process. A low workload or the overloading of the inventory slows down the entire system and requires reallocation of resources to ensure the rope is constant and not too tight or slack.


By ensuring that development and testing staff are always utilized, without overloading the resources, helps ensure a consistent pace of output. This allows economies of scale and continual productivity increases as knowledge is built within the team. This system is ideal for the maintenance of a cluster of Software Applications from the Nearshore location.