What is WIP? – Learn how to calculate it and use it in a company

The calculation of the WIP or work in process represents one of the most useful procedures in the management of projects and companies, since it allows us to know if the employees comply with the activities or if there are many accumulated tasks. So, in this article, it is explained what is WIP how it is calculated and the methods that can be used to bring about greater efficiency within an organization. In the same way, the types of tasks that are measured with this mathematical operation are mentioned, in addition to talking about the workflow and productivity.

What is the WIP in Kanban and how to use it?

Work in progress (Work In Process or WIP) is a term used in project management and production management in companies. It refers to the amount of work that is in the process of being carried out or in progress at a given moment. The WIP can be used to measure the efficiency and productivity of a production process. It is also valid to use it in order to identify bottlenecks and optimize the workflow.

In the context of Kanban (business methodology originating in Japan), WIP refers to the maximum amount of work which may be in process at some point. That is, it is the number of tasks or duties that can be in progress at the same time. The goal of limiting WIP is to reduce cycle time and improve process efficiency. Thus, by limiting the number of pending items in process, waiting time is reduced and delivery speed is increased.

What is the WIP in Scrum and how to use it?

In the case of Scrum, which is another method of managing a business with software, the WIP refers to the number of work items that are currently under processing in a sprint. In this way, the WIP aims to reduce the WIP in order to ensure that the team can complete all tasks. Therefore, when WIP limits are set, the team focuses on completing one task before moving on to the next.

How to calculate the work in process or WIP in the different departments of a company?

The calculation of the WIP in different departments of a company tends to vary depending on the process and the industry in which said accumulation of tasks is going to be calculated. However, it is usually calculated by adding the total of the number of jobs or tasks in progress and what is not yet completed.

The WIP Calculation Formula

Taking into consideration the requirements requested by the calculation, it is possible to find the total amount of work in process. In this sense, the most complicated thing is to determine the real number of tasks in execution and those that are in the queue. The formula to calculate WIP is:

WIP = Works in process + Jobs in queue

What is the workflow of a company?

When talking about the workflow of a company, reference is made to the processes and procedures that are used in order to complete a task or project. Thus, the flow of duties can vary by industry and process, but often involves a series of steps that must be completed in a specific order to achieve the desired result.

There are several tracking tools that can be used to identify, calculate, and monitor work in process (WIP). These tools can also guarantee that the established limitation is being respected. These are some of the most common resources used in large companies.

  • Kanban boards: are a popular visual tool originating from Japan used for the purpose of monitoring work progress and WIP. These Kanban boards have columns that represent different stages of the process, where and cards move from one column to another as tasks are completed. Kanban boards can be physical or digital, so they are an effective way to monitor WIP and ensure that the established limitation is respected.
  • Project Management Software: such as Trello, Asana and Jira that help track and set limits on the WIP. These programs have tools with which it is feasible to track the progress of tasks and projects.
  • Control charts: lThe control charts are resources from the statistics that are used to carry out an observation of the performance and behavior of the workers in each procedure. These control charts can help identify bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement.
  • Spreadsheets: among which is Excel, are other resources that use mathematics in which the WIP can be monitored and give the company the security that the employees respect the established limitation. The spreadsheets also track the progress of each task, as well as set work-in-process limits.
  • The graphics from Gantt: a visual tool used to track the progress or delay of a project. Gantt charts have the ability to monitor WIP, so they can ensure that the set limitation is being respected.

On the Internet, more programs or applications appear every day with which it is valid to execute the follow-up or monitoring work of the WIP. Kanban boards, project management software, control charts, spreadsheets, and Gantt charts are some of the most popular tools on the market due to their features. Another advantage is that they do not require the expenditure of many resources.

How to improve productivity and efficiency in the workflow using the WIP?

WIP can be used to improve productivity and efficiency in an organization’s workflow. It must be remembered that, by limiting the WIP, the cycle time decreases, as well as the delivery speed. It can also help identify the famous bottlenecks in the process, which are the times when workers get stuck. It also allows you to optimize the workflow to improve efficiency.

WIP is an effective technique to improve task flow and productivity of a company, where the implementation of the WIP limitation can vary according to the company and the type of process. However, some general strategies must be considered when working with this methodology.

  1. Identify the current WIP: which implies measuring how much work is currently in progress and how these tasks are being carried out. Once the current WIP is known, a WIP goal can be set to reduce the amount of work in process.
  2. Set a WIP goal: This is the maximum number of jobs or tasks that can be in process at the same time. This goal must be realistic and based on the capacity of the team.
  3. Communicate WIP limitation: which must be Communicate it to the entire team and to the departments involved in the process.
  4. Create a tracking system: with which to monitor the WIP and verify that the established goal is respected. This may involve implementing tracking tools and creating regular reports to monitor progress.
  5. Identify and solve bottlenecks: through the limitation of the WIP, because by knowing where people get stuck, it is possible to determine the path to follow to solve them and thus improve the efficiency of the process.
  6. Continue adjusting the WIP limitation: well this it is not a one-time, permanent solution. It is important to continue to adjust the constraint as the process is improved or new opportunities to increase productivity and efficiency are identified.

Therefore, the implementation of the WIP limitation in a company requires a clear understanding of the WIP current, as well as effective communication to the entire team. It is recommended that you set a realistic WIP target and create a tracking system to monitor progress, as well as adjust the WIP cap as needed.

What kind of tasks or processes can be measured with the WIP?

The WIP can be used to measure any type of task, whether it is the review of how it is progressing or the process in progress, as long as it involves work in progress, so that no finished work enters. This may include duties that are being worked on, such as product manufacturingor service processes, such as customer service.

The WIP is also used to measure progress on software or product development projects. Thus, work in process (WIP) is an important measure in project management and production management in companies. Where the amount of work that is in the process of being carried out or in progress at a given moment is measured. It can also be used to measure the efficiency and productivity of a production process. The WIP is used to measure any type of task or process that involves work in progress, and can be used to improve productivity and efficiency in the workflow of a company.

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