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.
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?
At the end of the year, John Hunter does a great job of facilitating an annual roundup of business and lean blogs at Curious Cat Management. The roundup is a review of blogs by other bloggers. This year I have the honor of participating in the Blog Carnival Annual Roundup.
A couple of years ago, I read the book Personal Kanban by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry. It is a great book that helped me along my personal kanban journey. From the book, Jim and Tonianne create a blog called Personal Kanban.
There is a great series of posts to help with managing your kanban boards. The topics include how to categorize your backlog to make it easier to understand what work there is left to do, but before you categorize your backlog you should clean it out. Clean out what is needed and what isn’t needed any longer. And how to clean up the done column on the board. The series has some great advice and hints to improve the use of your kanban board.
There are pointers on how to focus the work on a more important project. This post discusses using a larger post-it note for the focus project and the team members being instructed to pull work from here first.
No matter if your a novice or been using kanban boards for a very long time, Jim and Tonianne have great pointers and examples to help everyone improve upon their usage of kanban boards.