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Personal Kanban 101

I heard Jim Benson talk about Personal Kanban on the Yi-Tan conference call, and thought it was a cool idea, but didn’t really get into it – “I already have todo lists, etc., and I’m getting things done, do I need this?” But my load keeps increasing, it’s harder to sort out, and the todo list lacks depth. A week ago I finally pulled out an easel and set up a basic personal kanban with backlog, work in progress, and completed work columns. Visualizing my workflow and limiting my work in progress has already had a powerful impact. For one, I could see clearly what was in my “todo” queue that was urgent but not critical, and it was easier to separate nice-to-do volunteery things from income-producing work – priorities are much clearer.

Here’s a slideshare that explains the basics:

Comments

  1. david wilson says:

    I found out about Personal Kanban about a week ago, went out and bought a whiteboard, and started. The in-your-face immediacy of the thing makes it work for me. The 2 simple rules: plot your projects and limit your work in progress, are the key.

  2. Earl Cooley III says:

    This sounds like something halfway between a religious cult and a jumble of hand-wavy new age consultant-speak more than it does a real product, just like Total Quality Manglement turned out to be. heh.

  3. Certainly not religious or new agey – just a simple and effective way to organize your work. Definitely not a product, but a method.

  4. I’ve recently change my whiteboard to online http://kanbantool.com and I see a huge difference- I can access my board anytime and wherever I am, not only in workplace. It’s much better than “traditional” to-do lists.

  5. david wilson says:

    Kanban was started in Japan by Toyota. I guess that makes the Camry and Primus religious cult objects.

  6. Earl Cooley III says:

    I’m trying the online tool now with a sample “Pulling Hair Out” project. I have a fairly extensive beard these days, so the task is non-trivial. Pounding forehead on keyboard is an important component of my workflow. I love testing software.

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