Stabilize the Number of Work Items in Progress

Fixing the work size means fixing the amount of work in progress. That can work on two levels: the number of tasks in process for a given project, what I’ll call kanban-in-the-small, and the number of projects in process, what I’ll call kanban-in-the-large.

Kanban is a system of seeing the work in progress and knowing when it’s time to put more work items in the queue to be worked on. Kanban literally means a signboard, as in Toyota Production System [Ohn88]. The team can see the work in progress—one feature and the work yet to do, all on one board.

For example, in all serial life-cycle projects, you have a list of features. Most iterative and incremental life-cycle projects have a similar long ...

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