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Card Size Settings and the effect on WIP

LeanKit's step-by-step guide on how to base WIP on card size and understanding the effect card size has on WIP. 

Many teams want or need a way to identify the amount of work related to a given card to better understand the estimated amount, or size, of their efforts. In LeanKit, size is an optional field in every card.

Card_Size_WIP.png

Sizing can help teams with:

  • planning
  • backlog replenishment/grooming
  • understanding how much work is in process at a given time
  • analyzing metrics such as throughput

Approaches to sizing vary by team, including a rough t-shirt size concept (e.g., 1 equals extra small, 2 equals small, etc.), a scale of 1 through 10, the Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.), or even detailed estimate for hours of effort.

Once your team agrees upon an approach to sizing and uses the card size field within the cards, work in process (WIP) limits can be based upon each card’s uniquely assigned card size.

 

Settings: Base WIP Limits on Card Size

For existing boards, click the gear icon on the top bar. Next, click Board Settings from the drop-down menu. You will be on the Board Settings tab. Check the box next to “Base WIP Limits on Card Size.”

Base_Wip_on_Card_Size.png

 

WIP Limits based on Card Size

WIP limits can be established for lanes, including sublanes and swimlanes, and for board users. To learn more about how to setup WIP limits, read here.

Once WIP limits are established and the setting to “Base WIP Limits on Card Size” is in place, the WIP limit warnings and override events will be calculated on card size rather than the number of cards.

In short, the card size field is a place for showing estimated effort to assist in planning and managing work. Applying the “Base WIP Limit on Card Size” setting provides a means to identify when the estimated effort associated with work in process is overloading the system or team.

Here’s an example of standard WIP setup. The lane WIP limit is set to 3 and is based on number of cards. When there are 2 cards (with a combined card size of 4) there is no WIP limit warning or override.

Once a third and fourth card are pulled into the lane (with the standard WIP setup), the system requires a WIP limit override and the lane, along with the WIP limit number, stays red until the WIP limit of 3 cards is once again observed.

In this example, the lane WIP limit of 3 is based upon card size. The 2 cards in the lane have a combined card size of 4, which is over the established WIP limit of 3 (and requires a WIP limit override).

This same logic is applied to board user WIP limits. If the setting to “Base WIP Limits on Card Size” is not selected, then the user WIP limit is based upon the number of cards assigned to the user. If the setting to “Base WIP Limits on Card Size” is selected, then the WIP limit warnings and overrides take the total card size assigned to the user into account.

In short, the card size field is a place for showing estimated effort to assist in planning and managing work. Applying the “Base WIP Limit on Card Size” setting provides a means to identify when the estimated effort associated with work in process is overloading the system or team. Once WIP overages are identified, the issue should be remedied to ensure the team and the flow of work don’t remain bogged down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doc ID: 1191983338

 

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