Personal Kanban

Personal Kanban

I’ve been doing personal Kanban at my current assignment for the last two/three months. A colleague had previously told me he was using it at home, and I wanted to see if I could benefit from it at work. Now, I didn’t actually look up the ‘correct’ way to do this, but instead opted to start with my current conception of the method. There was a leftover piece of cardboard laying around, so I took that and drew two lines on it for the ‘todo’, ‘doing’ and ‘done’ phases. On the bottom of the board, between the doing and done phase, I put my own ‘definitions of done’ to remind me of what it should mean to complete a task. The criteria I chose initially were

  • Reviewed (by myself),
  • Unit tested,
  • Javadoc written,
  • SoapUI/Selenium tests created and run,
  • Maven build and tests run,
  • Code committed,
  • Time spent reported into the time reporting software.

You can take a look at the picture below for the setup. Nothing revolutionary of courseā€¦ I chose a WIP-limit of two and that’s been quite sufficient so far.

Personal Kanban Board

My experiences thus far are that I have become a little bit more structured and focused; I’m more aware of my current work load; I’m a little bit better at keeping track of tasks (the smaller ones that can easily be forgotten); and I’ve got an easier time filling out the time report for each day. Of course, the benefits of the method have not revolutionized my work day, but with the minimal effort involved I’d say the experiment is a success.

I’ve learned some lessons: that the company supplied post-it notes keep falling off the board, so I should look into buying some top quality ones. I also found that I sometimes put up a task on the board of too large scope, and that I failed to complete it quickly enough. That meant it clogged up the doing lane, while I had to expedite other urgent matters. I should have broken the task down into smaller ones, clearly!

As an experiment, trying out personal Kanban is something I can recommend. You should see the mentioned benefits quite quickly, and if you’re new to Kanban, you should get to familiarize yourself with the concepts. If you want to know more about this please visit Jim Benson’s Personal Kanban site!

3 thoughts on “Personal Kanban

  1. I do something similar but I use Trello ( instead of the piece of cardboard. There is also a Trello app for Android that is very convenient to use during for instance a status meeting to just check up on what’s in the backlog.

  2. I’ve come across Trello, but not really used it to any greater length. Also, Cecilia Svensson recommended which seems fully capable of doing a good job too :). Though I have to say I prefer the “wall” version in many cases, because not only is it separated from my digital world (where it could disappear behind layers of open windows on my two screens), but I hope it may inspire people around me to try it out or learn more about Agile methods in general.

  3. Pingback: Just Read: Personal Kanban | Not Purely Technical

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