I have a small question of understanding regarding Kanban, because I am currently unsure how to properly map the work to be done. In the last time I have read some blog articles and books about Kanban and how to make work visible. The basic concept and the motives behind it I have understood so far. But I am still missing something to be able to use the whole thing really productively, because I am still very unsure at one point whether I am right here. I am interested in the key phrases Work in Progress (WIP) and Batch Size.
Currently I work in IT support and IT operations, where a Kanban workflow can be implemented without any problems. Due to the two main activities, the work is of course not bound to one workflow, but can or should be represented by several workflows. E.g. we receive several tickets per day about error messages or support requests, which can be mapped very easily in a Kanban workflow. Here, the tasks are usually very easy to describe and can also be completed in a few steps so that the customer has direct added value.
The problem is more in the IT operations area. Here we are also involved in project work, e.g. when new software is introduced, which among other things requires new servers, database etc.
How would I create a Kanban card in this case? If I would create a card, which carries e.g. the title "implementation system XY", then I have this on the board for a relatively long time, since there are different subtasks, which contribute step by step to the result. I.e. this card would load my WIP limit for a very long time, although there can be many waiting times. Waiting for feedback from the supplier, waiting for feedback from the customer, etc. For example, if I write an email which is supposed to clarify various things, then yes I am first forcibly waiting for a response and cannot currently proceed with processing the card.
So what would be the best way to approach this?
Of course, I could create a card for each individual step, which, for example, represents a clarification with the customer. The next card then maps the setup of the server or database, etc. This would of course allow me to work through all the steps one by one and never exceed my WIP limit.
What bothers me about this is that the individual cards don't add any value to the end customer initially, even if they end up in the "Done" column. Sure, this would make the lead time very short, but the customer doesn't get anything out of it since there is no presentable result. Only when the project is completely finished is there a value for the customer. Or do I see this wrong? Maybe it helps to have a "Done Done" column where all subtasks are placed as soon as they are really done?
On the other hand, if I only work with larger work steps, each of which produces added value for the customer at the end, then I feel each time the WIP limit is full so quickly that no further work should be done. Should I have a column where cards are waiting for feedback to be processed further afterwards? To me, it then feels like the cards are constantly moving back and forth between the Doing and Feedback columns.
I just don't know how to put in a proper and low WIP limit if I have to constantly wait for feedback from externals, etc. I just couldn't find anything here yet on how to really model it. Would be great if I could get some inspiration here. How do you implement something like this?