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Why WIP Matters


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We prize our ability to multitask yet we rarely acknowledge the impact this has on our ability to get work done. Teams look to process to create efficiencies but ignore one simple tool that has the ability to transform the amount, the speed, and the quality of their work: Limiting Work In Progress. In this talk I will share my stories and experiences of the power that limiting WIP has to bring a team focus, flexibility and follow through.

Published in: Technology
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Why WIP Matters

  2. 2. Colleen Johnson • Director, Adaptive Agile Practice at ImagineX Consulting • LeanKanban Accredited Kanban Trainer & Kanban Coaching Professional • Former AgileDenver Board of Directors • Co-chair 2016 & 2017 Mile High Agile Conference • Member Agile Uprising Board of Directors • CEO & Founder of ScatterSpoke, a team space for more effective retrospectives • Mama to three amazing kiddos @scrumhive
  3. 3. Work in Progress the amount of work started that has not yet been delivered to the customer What is WIP?
  4. 4. Our capacity is limited as a individual, team, and organization we have a finite amount of output (regardless of how much caffeine we consume) Why should we limit WIP?
  5. 5. • I’m too busy! • I don’t want to say no • Everything is top priority • Unplanned work comes up • Unfinished work is abandoned • I need to be ”valuable” Why do we suck at it?
  6. 6. 7
  7. 7. To Do 2 Dev 3 Code Review 1 QA 2 Deploy 6 What is a “Pull” System?
  8. 8. To Do 2 Dev 3 Code Review 1 QA 2 Deploy 6 Signal of Capacity
  9. 9. To Do 2 Dev 3 Code Review 1 QA 2 Deploy 6 Move Work to Done
  10. 10. To Do 2 Dev 3 Code Review 1 QA 2 Deploy 6 Measure Cycle Time
  11. 11. To Do 2 Dev 3 Code Review 1 QA 2 Deploy 6 More WIP = Longer CT
  12. 12. 1) Focus 2) Flexibility 3) Follow through Why limit WIP? 4) Sustainable pace
  13. 13. • Minimizes multi-tasking/context switching • Reduces overburdening • Builds mastery • Improves quality Bring Focus
  14. 14. Limiting the capacity of the team forces you to make decisions about what is highest priority, and FOCUS on that priority WIP Manages Priority
  15. 15. To Do 2 Dev 3 Code Review 1 QA 2 Deploy 6 Minimize Multitasking
  16. 16. • Reduces the amount of code changes in flight • Creates opportunity to reprioritize • Focuses on just-in-time definition • Facilitate urgent/unplanned work Create Flexibility
  17. 17. Too much inventory creates INFLEXIBILITY, when needs change you may be stuck with inventory you are unable to sell and cannot change course. WIP Manages Inventory
  18. 18. To Do 2 Dev 3 Code Review 1 QA 2 Deploy 6 Minimize the Pain of Change
  19. 19. • Creates Visibility of Blockers • Shorter Cycle Times • Reduces the amount of regressing testing • Builds in slack time Follow Through
  20. 20. Limiting the amount of work creates pressure to complete something in order to create capacity for new work WIP Manages Capacity
  21. 21. To Do 2 Dev 3 Code Review 1 QA 2 Deploy 6 Minimize Starting More Work
  22. 22. • Reduces varied amounts of work • Eliminates stress • Create predictably • Prevents burnout Sustainable Pace
  23. 23. A consistent amount of work reduces panic, stress, and the exhaustion created by trying to catch up WIP Manages Cadence
  24. 24. To Do 2 Dev 3 Code Review 1 QA 2 Deploy 6 Minimize Heroics
  25. 25. Starting WIP is low enough to identify bottlenecks & promote a smooth flow, but is still high enough to not artificially create bottlenecks. Experiment, measure, review, refine. What is the right number?
  26. 26. Kanban Metrics • Lead Time: the duration for a work item from beginning to end, including process time and wait states. • Cycle Time: the duration for a work item to move from point A to point B. • Through Put: the count of work items processed per a specific amount of time. • Work in Progress: the total amount of work you have committed to but have not completed at any given time • Flow Efficiency: the ratio between working time and the cycle time (expressed as a percentage)
  27. 27. WIP isn’t a LIMIT it’s a GO LIGHT
  28. 28. #StopSprinting #LessPilesMorePull #MoreThanABoard #NoHeroics Because HOW you work is just as important as how MUCH you deliver.
  29. 29. THANK YOU! Stay in touch! Email me at: @scrumhive