agile > chapter 2 launch and planning > 18 limitation of WIP

Limitation of Work in Progress

Work in progress (WIP) is used to refer to the set of tasks which have been started by the work team but have not yet been completed. There are some possible issues with having too much WIP:

The importance of WIP limits

Because of the risk involved with having too much WIP, in Kanban we use WIP limits for each column (phase) of the board. Where there are bottlenecks, we will clearly see the flow of cards across slowing down and even stopping. Such a task management system forces us to complete few tasks at a time and focus on doing them well rather than trying to deliver tens or hundreds of features without completing them.


Make WIP limits based on the size of your team and the difficulty of tasks. There is hard-and-fast rule when it comes to figuring out WIP limits. If your Kanban board becomes too noisy and looks like a traffic jam then it's likely because your team is doing too much at any one time.