WIP (or Work In Progress) is a flow metric that tells us how many work items are in progress at any given time in any process - that is items that have started but not yet finished. Once you know how to measure WIP, you will want to start analyzing the data.
There are three charts in ActionableAgile that provide insights into current and past WIP levels.
WIP Run Chart
The WIP Run Chart is a line chart that shows the number of items in progress per day across time.
With this ability to clearly see how WIP levels change over time, you can get early signals of changes in Cycle Time and Throughput - for better or worse! This allows you to have better conversations about the impact of WIP on your process.
Learn more about the WIP Run Chart in our product documentation.
Aging Work in Progress Chart
Another chart where WIP can be seen is the Aging Work in Progress chart. The primary purpose of this chart is to analyze another flow metric, Work Item Age, but you can also calculate WIP for the day being viewed.
While you can click on a dot in the WIP Run Chart to see which items were in progress on a given day, this chart allows you to see more details about the WIP from any given day in greater detail. From here you can see what workflow status each work item is in as well as the age of each work item. On this chart you can use Aging Replay control to see this information about WIP for any day reflected in your data.
Learn more about the Aging Work In Progress Chart in our product documentation.
Cumulative Flow Diagram
The final chart that provides insight into WIP within ActionableAgile is the Cumulative Flow Diagram. This chart provides a visualization of the interplay between WIP, Cycle Time, and Throughput.
The height of the color bands in the CFD show you an actual count of items in each workflow stage on any given day. You can use the chart’s WIP Tooltips control to show WIP by stage, or collectively as a system, as your cursor moves through the timeline.
By looking at the thickness of the color band(s) over time, you can see how WIP changes and the correlating change in Approximate Average Cycle Time and Average Throughput. You may even be able to help determine good WIP limits by looking how much WIP you had when Throughput and Cycle Time were ideal.
Learn more about the Cumulative Flow Diagram in our product documentation.
There are many ways to learn about the WIP in your process with ActionableAgile. So, here are our suggestions:
Use the WIP Run Chart for seeing how your WIP changes over time.
Use the Aging Work in Progress Chart to learn more about the WIP from any given day.
Use the Cumulative Flow Diagram to see how WIP interacts with other flow metrics and decide on any adjustments you might need to make in your WIP levels.