My Continuous Improvement: Personal Kanban – 5th Revision a Success!

In the past, I have posted several times about my experiments with kanban boards for my personal work.  Below are the links to past posts.

The last post shows my failed experiment using Trello.  I kept hearing other people say how much they liked Trello and how it well it worked for them.  It has been about a year since I last tried Trello, so I thought I would give it another shot.

First, I reflected on why Trello didn’t work the first time so I wouldn’t make the same mistakes.  There were two things that caused me quit using Trello.  The first was how I separated my work.  I had a board for each project.  I had three projects so that would put my total WIP at 6 (max of 2 for each project).  I had a hard time prioritizing my work and I was flipping between boards constantly.

The second thing I couldn’t work out was a way to include my weekly blog posts.  I got tired of writing the exact same kanban card every week (“Write Blog Post”).

If Trello was going to work for me, I had to be able to deal with these two situations.

In the end, I realized I was making it too complicated.  One board and using the labels would work for me.

New Trello Kanban Board

New Trello Kanban Board – Click image to enlarge

I create five columns to organize my work.

  • Posts to Be Written: This is a list of blog posts with the idea for the post written on each card.  I can move this over to my Doing column when I am ready to write.  It is a visual reminder to mix in my blog posts with my other work.
  • Queue: A list of work to be done.  The color labels in the top left-hand corner signify the type of work or the project.
  • Doing: This is what I am currently working on with a WIP limit of 2
  • Pen: This is a kanban card that is blocked from moving because I am waiting on work or information from someone else.  I put a WIP limit of 3 on this and it seems to work for me.
  • Done: When the work is complete the kanban card goes in this column.  I archive the cards at the beginning of every week.

It’s not fancy, but it is effective.  I now have access to my board at anytime, either on my computer, phone or tablet.  So, if I remember something I can add it right away.

Are you using personal kanban?  If so, how do you have yours set up?

Posted on December 15, 2014, in My Continuous Improvement, Tools and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Perfect New Years resolution. I am going to set one up in Trello and see how it works.


  2. A very interest series of posts. I always find fascinating to see how people are going about experimenting with Personal Kanban. When I started using Personal Kanban, I initially used Trello, but found it had its limitation. I have conducted a number of experiments and found that two things worked remarkably well: one is simply to use a wall and post-its, the other is to use another software which is LeanKit. My current implementation consists in using LeanKit and priority filters. The design of my board is as follows, from left to right: A. Projects, with four columns (Priority 3, Priority 2, Priority 1, Ready), B. Tasks with four columns ((Priority 3, Priority 2, Priority 1, Ready), C. Doing, D. Pen and E. done. I have recently started making a distinction between projects and tasks, and the idea is to try to limit the number of active projects to two, which are slit in tasks in the tasks section, were smaller tasks which pop up and to which I am committed to are also listed.
    You should perhaps give LeanKit a try.

  1. Pingback: Create Inspiration | Beyond Lean

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