Home > Helpful Resources > 3 core practices of Kanban. Actively managing work items in a workflow.

3 core practices of Kanban. Actively managing work items in a workflow.

Actively Managing Your Workflow in a Kanban Strategy


Once you have defined and visualized your workflow, the next critical step in a Kanban strategy is to actively manage the work within your workflow. This means being proactive and engaged with the process, ensuring that the flow of work remains smooth and efficient.

The Importance of Active Management

Active management is essential because it prevents you from being a passive observer of your workflow. It’s not enough to simply visualize your work; you need to take action to optimize the process. Here’s how to effectively manage your workflow:

  1. Monitor Work in Progress (WIP):
  • Adjust the amount of work in progress to ensure optimal flow.
  • If there are too many tasks in a particular area, reduce the WIP to prevent bottlenecks.
  • Conversely, if there are idle resources, increase the WIP to keep everyone productive.
  1. Prevent Piling Up of Work:
  • Keep an eye on your Kanban board to identify areas where work is piling up.
  • Actively address these bottlenecks to prevent delays and maintain a steady flow.

Identifying and Addressing Issues

Active management involves regularly reviewing your workflow and addressing any issues that arise:

  • Aging Work Items:
  • Identify items that have been active for an unusually long time.
  • Investigate why these items are stuck and take steps to move them towards completion.
  • Blocked Items:
  • Clearly indicate blocked items on your board.
  • Develop strategies to unblock these items and get them moving through the system again.
  • Clogged Workflow:
  • Treat your workflow like a pipe that can get clogged.
  • Actively work to remove any blockages to ensure a smooth flow of work.

Taking Action

Here are some specific actions you can take to actively manage your workflow:

  • Review and Adjust:
  • Regularly review your Kanban board and adjust WIP limits as necessary.
  • Ensure that tasks are moving smoothly through each stage of the workflow.
  • Resolve Blockages:
  • Develop a process for quickly addressing and resolving blocked items.
  • This might involve cross-functional collaboration or additional resources to clear the blockage.
  • Optimize Flow:
  • Continuously look for ways to optimize the flow of work.
  • Use metrics and data from your Kanban board to make informed decisions about process improvements.


Active management is a core practice in Kanban that ensures your workflow remains efficient and effective. By regularly reviewing your workflow, addressing bottlenecks, and optimizing the flow of work, you can maximize the value delivered to your customers.

If you are struggling to implement a Kanban strategy, we can help or connect you with someone who can. Click on the link below to get in touch and start optimizing your workflow today.

We dont have any dates for public classes right now. sign-up to be the first to know, or contact us for discounts or private training.