One of the practices used in TameFlow Kanban is that of identifying the constraint in the work process, by looking for the work state that takes the largest average flow time. In the Kanban Method bottlenecks are typically identified by looking for queues and/or starvation. The work state in front of one that is being starved, could be a bottleneck. A work state where there are queues could also be a bottleneck. Naturally, when work state WIP limits are employed, queues are more difficult to see; but starvation is always evident.
Practitioners of the Kanban Method often employ the Five Focusing Steps of the Theory of Constraints, to handle such bottlenecks. Yet, such application might not be warranted, because those are bottlenecks in the work flow and not the constraint in the work process.
The difference between the two concepts might be subtle, but it is fundamental to understand in order to know how you can manage them. In this post we will look deeper at these different perspectives.