LeanKit work-in-process (WIP) limits help constrain how much work can be applied to specific stages in your process (i.e., to lanes) or to individuals (i.e., to users). A key component of Kanban, WIP limits are designed to help prevent bottlenecks that hinder the continuous flow of work in a system. LeanKit’s easy WIP limit setup — and visual indicators that identify when limits have been met or exceeded — can help you pave the way to limiting your WIP.
How to Assign WIP Limits to a Stage in Your Process
To set WIP limits for a lane, go to the Settings icon and click on Board Layout Editor.
The circled areas below indicate the fields where you can set limits on lanes and sublanes.
Set your desired limits and click Save. You can easily come back and adjust these settings at any time.
When you reach your WIP limit, the lane background changes and the WIP limit number in the right hand corner of the lane appears in red.
Pulling a new card into a lane that is already at the WIP limit triggers a warning and a dialog box.
To exceed the WIP limit for this lane, enter a reason in the dialog box and click Accept. The lane will now appear red, and the reason will be stored in the card’s history for reference. This action provides the flexibility for explicitly allowed exceptions and alerts the rest of the team.
How to Assign WIP Limits to an Individual
To assign WIP limits to an individual, go to the Settings icon on the top of your board, click Board Settings in the drop-down menu and then click User Access. Next, click the Edit icon next to the user who needs a WIP limit.
From here, you can easily set and modify individual WIP limits.
LeanKit warns you when an individual’s limit is being exceeded as you assign a new card to them. Similar to a lane WIP limit override, the same type of dialog box appears for you to provide an explanation, which will be saved to the card upon clicking Accept.
By setting WIP limits in LeanKit, you can easily identify bottlenecks and impediments to your flow so you can improve your personal, team and organizational effectiveness. Give WIP limits a try and add a new dimension to your work.
For more information on WIP limit theory and application, check out: