Reduce risk by limiting work in progress

By Rebecca Jones in Agile Other on January 20, 2015

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Limiting working in progress (WIP) shortens the lead time for features. It reduces context switching and batch size, greatly improving productivity.

Limiting WIP also helps the team and individual team members achieve higher quality by concentrating resource and attention.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

Teams and organisations often find themselves ‘thrashing’ – working very hard on a large number of items or projects without making progress.

It is impossible for us to determine the quality of work that is very nearly finished rather than completely finished. And failure to limite WIP typically results in an increase in defect rates.

Teams face integration problems as they work to incorporate many pieces of work at one time. It is difficult to determine how a new piece of functionality will interact with the product when there are many other pieces of work partially completed.

The time it takes for work to progress from start to finish is longer than the organisation or market can bear, making it harder for the organisation to capitalise on innovation and effort.

 

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