“Like Traffic, work does not fit. Work flows.”
3) Whether another urgent and important task is out there waiting to blindside you?
Personal Kanban might help you avoid that moment of staring into the void. Personal Kanban, written by Jim Benson and Torianne DeMaria Barry, does an excellent job of introducing you to the mechanics of Kanban and how to implement it. But that’s not why I recommend it.
I recommend the book because of three ideas it introduces that will help you become more effective:
First, Context should always inform your actions.
Personal Kanban basically tells you what you already know: that if you need to rush home because your child is sick or you have a firedrill request from a customer – your time and the list of Prioritized To Dos will be upset – if not completely set aside. Personal Kanban explains how using Kanban will help you see this priority change and force you to make a conscious decision on what is more important and what will not get done on this day. Context always impacts the flow of your work. ‘What’s going on in their lives’ or your team’s context is the reason you add contingency in your team’s estimates – isn’t it time you considered it in how you plan your day?
Secondly, Work unseen is Work uncontrolled.
Aside from the To Dos on your current list, unexpected actions and issues pop up on team meetings or status calls that require your attention. Do you add those to your To Do list or do you just “fit them into” your multi-tasking? At the end of the day, do you recognize or even remember these smaller tasks that ate up time and attention? My bet is that you don’t – and that’s why capturing everything in your backlog is so important. You can’t track what doesn’t enter your conscious awareness. You can’t track it, can’t measure your effectiveness and likely can’t remember that you finished it if you’re spinning from one task to another.
And finally, Bottlenecks need to be visible.
With these and other tips to improve the flow of your work, Personal Kanban is worth reading. It’s a book that hands the reader the building blocks to put together a Kanban that works for *her* life, and at the same time, encouraging her to change the structure and the tools as she sees fit.
At the end of your day – you should know what you finished and be able to assess how effective you were. No more staring into the void.
Have you read any good books on Kanban lately? If not, try reading Personal Kanban. Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.