In Kanban, what should we do with long research tasks?



  • Some development tasks are very complex and none of a development team can propose a solution. Instead we have to find a solution and, of course, nobody knows how soon the solution will be found.

    What should we do with such research tasks in Kanban? If I create a task and assign it to some developer then this task will be staying in the "In Progress" column for an indefinite period of time.



  • All work should be tracked. If you hide the things that don't conveniently work in your system, you eliminate the benefit of kanban.

    If you put a large open-ended research task into progress, it will take one spot in your WIP as you describe. This will encourage the team to break down the task, which will in turn force them to think critically about the work they are doing. Even bleeding edge research has small steps. There may be a particular option you are researching, or a variable you are attempting to eliminate. Breaking down research makes you a better researcher the same was breaking down development forces you to think critically about the code and become a better developer.


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