Archive for April, 2010

Personal Kanban

25/04/2010

A few weeks ago I attended http://skillsmatter.com/podcast/agile-scrum/john-stevenson-kanban-for-just-in-time-training by @JR0cket. He explained how he was using an online Kanban board to manage his own personal studying. Most interesting I found his done state definition; “Blogged”. The idea is that given a reasonable WIP limit, before you can start a new pet project or read a new book, you have to blog about the task you just finished. And that is exactly what I am doing now:

Using the iKan app on my iPhone, my Study Kanban board looks like this (WIP limits in brackets):

Backlog (4) -> Studying (2) -> Write blog post (2) -> Blogged / Done.

Already, this has forced me to focus on just a few topics at a time. Hopefully I will be disciplined enough to try to always write a blog post before moving anything into the Done state. As John mentioned; you force yourself to study a bit harder when you know you have to write a blog post about it later.

If I remember correctly, John had at least two Kanban boards for more or less different processes. I have gone down that road myself as well, with the following additional “Personal Economy etc.” Kanban board:

Ready (5) -> Doing (2) -> Done

I am currently reflecting on the concept of having several Kanban boards. The WIP limits are not very effective if I can get around them just by adding a new board. However, the two processes are significantly different. I am pretty sure people don’t want me to blog about my Tax returns etc. Perhaps having a shared backlog or similar could be useful.

Imagine the following scenario: I want to add a new book to my study backlog, but because it is full I have to finish another task first. If I had a shared backlog between my study and personal stuff, this could force me to prioritize and get started with some boring chores and actually get them done. I guess the only thing stopping me from trying this is my current tool set. Once again it seems a physical board could be the simplest solution. To be continued..