Best way to handle tasks "on hold" for far too long

We work with a Kanban flow and we are currently using the status "On Hold" for those tasks that cannot progressed because we are waiting for the input or a response or another action from outside our team. However, sometimes these tasks are left on hold for a very long time and therefore impacting our cycle-time and lead-time, etc,. Although, investigating the root of the problem is the best solution, is there any best practice to handle this situation? For example setting a date on which the tickets will be then closed with incomplete resolution?


2 answers

Put in an SLA for "On-Hold" items with dependencies with a 3rd party. Something like "automatically close it for 2 weeks".

I would look at how your business defines the behaviour rather than looking for how others manage this case. 
If the business supports a close after a set period then this is certainly an acceptable approach to take. This time period may be varied according to priority for example. 

Or is it that what your business supports is the suspension of time for those items that are awaiting a response? So that they do not impact your cycle-time/lead-time?

If the suspension of time is acceptable then one approach is to adjust your Kanban board filter to exclude those items in the On Hold status that have not been updated for a particular length of time. Then when an update is made directly to an issue it will be brought back on to the Kanban board. Personally I would have some view either a dashboard or another Agile board to manage the items in the On Hold list and keep it actively managed. Otherwise you will just end up with a large number of unloved items in there.

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