WIP bad

On Wednesday we established the perspicacious fact that no value is realized until your work gets shipped.

And that the more projects you start prior to shipping the work you’ve already started, the more waste you generate.

As WIP (Work-in-Progress) increases…

So does cost, timing, stress.


No, no, WIP.

wip bad
Ugh… I can smell the waste from here.

Anything labeled WIP on your metaphorical production floor should be treated like a hot potato you just microwaved for about a minute too long.

Get it moving!

Let’s turn to our golden sage Wikipedia for some guidance:

“Optimal production management aims to minimize work in process. Work in process requires storage space, represents bound capital not available for investment and carries an inherent risk of earlier expiration of shelf life of the products.”

Okay great. But how?

LeanKit offers some excellent actionable advice via WIP limits:

“The main idea behind WIP limits can be explained by this simple phrase: Stop starting, start finishing. WIP limits encourage us to finish work that’s already in process before introducing more work into the system. Because the more work teams try to juggle at once, the harder it is for them to take work to the finish line…

…WIP limits are constraints on how many work items (cards) are actively being worked on at any given time…

…They should force us to make decisions regarding the priority, time sensitivity, and cost of delay of various projects.”

And the core benefits?

  • Increased speed of delivery (a.k.a. your clients are happy and you get paid faster).
  • Decreased context switching and project handoff cost (a.k.a. less of “Hey, where the hell did the day go?” and “Hey, what was this thing you did again?”).
  • Less meetings (a.k.a. less regurgitation of why you haven’t worked on that thing that you know you should be working on but haven’t had time to get to yet but feel guilty and so have to fill the air with some theoretical blabber about how you plan on doing it).

Okay, I’m convinced.

I need me some WIP limits.

What about you?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *