1st Monday Webinar, October 5, 2020: Why limit work in process?


What is the purpose of limiting the number of work items in flight simultaneously? How does this affect delivery performance, product quality, and the bottom line?

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  • October 5 (San Francisco: 16:00 – 17:30, New York: 19:00 – 20:30)

Audience: Stakeholders, managers, and members of software development/delivery teams.

Software development teams want to deliver the maximum possible value to their customers and other stakeholders. To that end, teams often try to address as many work items as possible, and they may try to maximize the amount of work they take on by allocating tasks to different individuals or predefined pairs on the team.

This approach reflects a focus on maximizing resource utilization. It turns out that maximizing resource utilization has an adverse effect on throughput – the rate of delivery of value.

In this session, we’ll explore the effects on context switching, cycle time, value delivery, and product maintainability when we maximize throughput by using WIP limits to keep the work flowing smoothly through the software development and delivery process, and how to take advantage of robust ways of working collaboratively so that teams do not waste capacity in the attempt to maximize flow.

Note: This does not depend on the team’s use of any particular process model or management framework, such as Kanban, Scrum, or linear SDLC (“waterfall”). The benefits of limiting WIP apply across the board.