Why you should limit work in progress (in kanban)

Kanban is a fabulous software development and task management principle that allows your team to be more efficient and increases productivity. Just because Kanban gets the work done faster does not mean that you should not limit work in progress. Why would you do that, you may ask? Well, the fastidious nature of the principle is all in how it is implemented. Let me explain how Kanban uses the limitation to its advantage.

The reasons why Kanban tells you to limit Work in Progress:

While there are many aspects that go into fully completing a product or service for a client, it is often overwhelming when some type of organization is not present. In Kanban tasks are loaded into a backlog and the task on top is exclusively worked on by the entire team. There are strengths in numbers, and while it may seem like a good idea to divide the number of employees into smaller groups that focus on different components of the job, it’s actually counterproductive and leads to that evil little word “micromanaging”.

Pulling all members of the work team together with a carefully laid out plan increases focus on the immediate task at hand and makes the task completion time much shorter. When limiting work in progress, it is blocked out into different workflow stages and visually presented to the team which also increases focus.

The workflow stages are usually put into columns, making a quick visual guide of the plan for the members to comprehend. Conforming to limits in the workflow means that teams don’t pull tasks into a column if doing so causes the number of items in that column to surpass the work in progress limit.

Limiting work in progress in this way keeps everyone focusing on the most important tasks and with more working hard together on that one task, completion times dramatically improve letting the next task become available more rapidly and creating a domino effect that plunges the work speed full steam ahead! So you see limitations are not always a bad thing!


Use Kanban with Pipefy!

Pipefy is an intuitive, simple to use, workflow software. We allow businesses to run all their processes in a single platform, ensuring efficiency and solid execution.

Pipefy works as an online Kanban system where tasks move laterally through the multiple phases of your process. Each of your process’ phases can have its own set of work rules, triggers and, if needed, a designated owner.

Don’t lose any more time, try Pipefy!

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Written by Isabelle Salemme, Product content manager at Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to write informative pieces teaching users to make the best of Pipefy. Besides being responsible for all product-related content, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover and a professional photographer.