Taking control of WIP

Too much work can grind teams and companies to a halt. And, when everyone is overworked you can quickly feel the effect of too much work. Things start moving more slowly which increases frustration across the board. Unfortunately, in today’s modern workplace it’s often hard to see how much work is being tackled at any point of time. It’s even harder to see how much demand for more work exists. The first step to taking control of WIP (work-in-process) is to learn how to see it. It’s a very lean concept. There are three major types of waste in lean – Muda, Mura and Muri. Muda is an activity that is wasteful – maybe it’s unproductive, low value or poorly executed. Mura is an unevenness of work – it’s the peak and troughs that we face that can have a drastic impact on the flow. Muri is roughly translated as unreasonableness – an overburdening or absurd request. I’m sure we can all relate to the different forms of waste.


How might you make your current workload and commitments visible to your colleagues and to those that require your services? Can you categorise or identify any of the wastes described above? How might you deal with them?

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