SwiftKanban Knowledge Base

Defining Work-in-Progress (WIP) Limit

A Work-In-Progress (WIP) limit is the limit set of the number of cards that can be worked on at any one time, in any column. This allows people to focus on what’s important and not switch too much between tasks (which creates waste). WIP limits can be set by clicking on the ‘Modify Process’ link on the Kanban board.

You can define the WIP limit at the following 2 levels:

User Level 

For every user, you can set a WIP limit by using the User WIP configuration and apply that limitation across all boards for that user.

Note: During WIP calculation for the user, cards in the done lane are excluded from the WIP count.

Lane Level

You can set WIP limit for a lane or column based on card count or estimate points. You can define WIP limit for either All or In Progress lanes on your board. Moreover, you can define both maximum and minimum WIP limit of a lane or column.
For Example, you can define User WIP for Card Count in In-Progress lanes based on which you can set the maximum number of cards that can be assigned to a user in In-Progress lanes.

Enabling WIP Limit Feature

While defining the WIP limit for a user, you can further define the limit for individual users and for individual active boards. Irrespective of whether you choose user-level WIP or board-level WIP, you need to begin by enabling the WIP feature.

To enable the WIP feature, first select the relevant Admin Policy.

To access the Admin Policies, click the More options  icon > Admin Settings. On the Admin Settings pageclick the Admin Policies tile. The policies are displayed.

Enable the User WIP limit Settings feature by selecting the Unit of Measurement (UoM) for tracking the User WIP limit.

You can configure the User WIP limit based on the:

3. Select the lane, where the selected User WIP is applicable(the changes are saved automatically).

Defining WIP for Each User At Admin Level

To define WIP for each user, perform the following steps on the People page.

To access the People page, from the control panel, click the More Options icon > People menu. The People page is displayed.

On the People page, under the WIP Value column, double-click the desired username and enter the WIP limit for the respective user.

The WIP Status column indicates whether the WIP is Active or Inactive for the respective user. Under this column, double-click the desired username to alter the WIP status as per requirement.

Click the filter icon on the side toolbar to search for a specific user based on these different columns. 

Defining User WIP for Each Board

You can also define a user WIP limit for every active board. To set a board-specific WIP limit, from the Board name, go to the Team Member page. On this page, you can define the WIP value for each board member.

WIP Limit Violation Notification

Once WIP Limit is defined for users, open the desired board.


Click User WIP () on the Side toolbar to see WIP details of each user assigned to the current board.

A pop-up appears that displays the total number of cards assigned to each user across all active boards along with his WIP limit. You can sort the user WIP list on any of the following attributes:

You can further sort this in either ascending or descending order by selecting the ASC or DESC option.

Following is the color code for notification of User WIP violation:

Pop-up displays the details of only those users for who WIP is defined in the current active board.

Click Personal Kanban View to see the lane-wise breakup of assigned cards, and click any cell in the table to get a further drill-down data on the card’s current lane and its title.

Note: The personal Kanban view will show the WIP limit of active Boards only.  To know more about what the active and closed Boards are, see this Help page.

If creating a card violates the user WIP, a warning message is displayed. For instance, in the following example, user WIP for the board has been set to 1. Creating another card gives the following notification on top of the Kanban board.

Defining Column/Lane WIP Limit

Tips: We have an exciting in-app Learning Enabler, called Challenges that would help you learn and apply the WIP interactively. Please navigate to Help & Support > Challenges from the top level menu and try out the Challenges.

You can define minimum as well as maximum WIP limit of cards in card count or estimate points for a particular column of an active Board. To set the limit:

Note: (If you set the limit as -1 then there is no limit set for that particular column)

Enter the Minimum as well as Maximum WIP limit, and click Submit. After you start adding the card in that particular column, you will get to see the WIP status as Current WIP/ Minimum WIP – Maximum WIP.

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