Dec 4 – Working to the Cake Limit!


When working in a continuous flow system, like a kanban-system, it can feel like work, work, work without any time to rest, reflect and celebrate. Well it does not have to be that way, as my great friends Marcus Hammarberg and Joakim Sundén points out in their great book “Kanban in Action”. You should especially read Chapter 10 and look for the LEGO guy 🙂

Even in a continuous flow system you should create time for rest, reflection and celebration. My favorite pattern for celebrating work well done is the Cake Limit pattern.

The Cake Limit pattern

The basic idea is that you set an exit criteria for the Done column that says that you have to celebrate the awesome stuff that has been completed by giving cake to the team. You also set limit to the amount of work you are allowed to have in the Done column. When you reach this limit of the Done column, back pressure (see under Reducing Work-In-Process)  is created in in your kanban-system that will eventually stop you from adding more work. You can release this backpressure but giving recognition to the team by celebrating with cake. Then you allowed to move the work out of the Done column. And just like with any WIP limit you can adjust  the limit to the level that is appropriate for your situation.

If you want to celebrate often -> a low cake limit, not so often -> a higher cake limit.

This is my Lean/Agile Advent Calendar. I will publish a short post on a Lean/Agile topic every day up until Christmas. I will based each days topic on what is behind the door in the LEGO® City Advent Calendar.  So be sure to check back every day!

DISCLAIMER: LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this post and blog in any way.


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