in Productivity

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:

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  1. 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. 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. 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.