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DELIVER MORE...without working harder!

If you're looking to learn how to deliver more without working harder, then read on! In this blog we discuss the importance of reducing Work In Progress (WIP) to achieve more with less effort.

At Add Agility, we always encourage our clients to look at ways of reducing their Work In Progress (WIP), to enable them to accelerate delivery. In practice, reducing WIP for teams, means less Stories and Bugs being worked on at any one time. In our experience, the focus this results in, has dramatic results in the the teams ability to finish off work items. This can be backed up with data, a recent agile improvement exercise we did provides a great example...

The blue line is WIP reported over a 3 month period. We were able to drive that down to about a third of its original value. As a consequence we see an increase in the Work Completed - the purple line. It's an astonishing four times as many User Stories completed and Bugs being closed! Reducing WIP is key driver of this productivity bump


WIP Tips - Stop Starting and Start Finishing!

So, how do you reduce WIP. It's not as easy as asking the teams to work on less Jira tickets! We've put together our top 3 tips to reduce WIP.

Our Top 3 WIP Reduction Tips:

WIP TIP #1 Improve Collaboration

We often find teams allocate one story per developer. If this sounds familiar, try to encourage multiple team members to collaborate, or pair on user stories. You'll get and instant drop in WIP. In addition you're likely to see better, more collaborative problem solving as well as an increase in quality. In our experience, most team members find working together on stories a more satisfying and fun way of working.

WIP TIP #2 Independent User Stories

Poor user story structure means that you can’t close down work items. Instead you end up with a complex web of stories that are dependent on each other. Everything backs up until the final story is closed. We coach Product Owners to improve the independence of their user stories, so stories are delivered with fewer dependencies. This means work is closed down quicker and teams move on to the next piece of work cleanly.

WIP TIP #3 Better Story Definition

You need to know when a Story is Done. You don’t want lots of unfinished work hanging around, so you need clarity about what it means to be able to say the story is 'finished' and can be accepted. We often work with teams to introduce Behaviour Driven Development (BDD). This transforms the Acceptance Criteria from the stories into well defined scenarios. It also provides absolute clarity on what needs to be done to finish the story off, so we can confidently build the solution and move to 'Done'.

That's our three tip giveaway! We hope you enjoyed the read and found some takeaways from it. Do leave comments, as we love to hear your feedback. If you need more guidance in this area or with any of your software delivery challenges then get in contact. We have seasoned experts ready to assist.

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