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Why Limit WIP 3 & 4: More Slack, Less Complexity

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Our summary and key takeaways

In the 3rd post in the series, Tonianne and Jim make an analogy between the way a car engine (belts) require some looseness in order to work right, and the way people's way of working is similar. We do need brakes and some amount of slack in order to be efficient.

Why limit your WIP?

Why slack?

To be able to actually focus on what we do, to get a chance to deal with some unplanned events, to pause from time to time, in order to stay mentally fresh (and healthy!). What we need to remember is that our mental resources, such as memory and thinking - processing ability are indeed limited.

Why limits?

This is why we can all benefit from using WIP limits - by not multi-tasking, we are enabling ourselves to focus on what we do do, as well as to gain some time for doing the things, that were unplanned. By this we are able to sustain a more relaxed - therefore productive - mindset and get more done in result.

Brain rest

There is also a good point about giving the brain time to think things through, to retain information (not possible when working constantly and non-stop) and to thereby stay more productive in the future.

Overwhelmed with complexity

In the 4th post of the series, there is a very interesting remark on how having countless (and growing) distractions does not help our ability to focus: the number of distractions grows, as the number of distraction sources increases. Hence, complexity of a process limits our ability to respond to it, since the possible number of solutions themselves can be overwhelming.

Reduce complexity with the WIP limits

The outcome of applying WIP limits is an elimination of a large number of these distractions, gained by filtering the data that we take in, process and produce. The difference we achieve is choosing what to focus on and how well, rather than giving little focus to many things at once.

Read our article on WIP limits »