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Can JIRA "truly" enforce WIP on a kanban board?

Tristan Boughton Mar 06, 2015

Is it possible to set a WIP limit on a kanban board in JIRA and prevent users from adding issues beyond the limit? 

4 answers

3 votes
Brendan Wovchko Nov 04, 2017 • edited

Hey Tristan!

As general guidance, you don't want to enforce WIP Limits using software.  It's better to let the behavior occur and discuss it as a team.  The Jira team got it right by using a visual indicator when WIP Limits are broken.

The reason teams break WIP Limits is because they don't understand the benefits of why they are there.  Enforcing the limits will only force work "underground" where people hide their efforts.  It's better to deal with the root social behavior.

Brendan Wovchko

Accredited Kanban Trainer


1 vote
Paul Miles Mar 06, 2015

No. The only thing that happens when the WIP is exceeded is a visual indicator appears because the column changes color. In addition, one can change workflow directly in the issue itself (not using the board) and there would be no indicator at all that the WIP is exceeded.

0 votes
Giorgio Sironi Jan 15, 2017

I can't find a way to do it, which seems to mean that "Kanban support" in JIRA is actually just a CSS change that makes the column red when there are too many tasks.

0 votes
Michael Straka Apr 08, 2017

I cant figure out a way in base to get this working but using a 3rd party add-on like ScriptRunner you could add a validation script to ensure that you dont progress a JIRA through the workflow if it will exceed a WIP limit. 

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