Can I use a Kanban effectively to improve my genealogical research?

Your first question probably is….what is a Kanban?  I knew almost nothing about them but For a quick look at the limited scope I am talking about, check out the Wikipedia article in Kanban Boards. Simplistically it is a way to 1) visual your work and 2) limit the amount of work in progress. 

First, visualize your work:

I am a “stacker,” that is, I have to have things in front of me or I forget about it.  I have almost nothing in the drawers of my desk or credenza but the surface of my desk and overhead bins are full.   I also am an architect and so I have to be a visual thinker; it’s my profession!  Therefore, any way that allows me to visualize my work should be a plus–for me.  Maybe not for you.  

Second, limit your work:

The Kanban method suggests that three “projects”it’s about the maximum any one person can handle.  The concept being that too much multi-tasking is at best inefficient because of the resetting the “gears” to shift to the next task.  

So, a post-it system of tasks with a large board with “Ready,” “Doing,” and “Done” in the three vertical columns allows you to see what you have to do (ready), what you are working on (doing) and what is completed (done).  I am going to try this method with my Publications Chair work as right now I feel overwhelmed and without the knowledge to even complete the tasks. 

I’ll tell you how it works.  

The speaker who presented the concept to us (in a business setting) is writing a book and uses  it to provide discipline to his writing so many pages per day.  It’s on the board.  I am wondering if it could be used to map a research plan that you are implementing.  Would it free up our thinking to identify other means by which we could solve those research problems or brick walls? If we were writing a family history could it map the progress as we move towards completion while keeping us focused?  If we decide to turn professional could it be used to identify tasks to accomplish and map our accomplishment of wading through the state and IRS requirements to become an identified business?

Here’s a thought….could it outline the tasks to become certified as a genealogist and more importantly keep us on track to complete one report before we started another so we are not doing so much “multitasking” but are actually getting things done!  What a concept!. 

Well, this visual thinker is going to try it on the Publication tasks for SGS and then, if it works there, use it for certification.  It might get me past procrastination!

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last post: attended a Board meeting of a National group that is looking at total reorganization, severing a 25 year relationship with a university with whom they have been affiliated with and seeing the retirement of three key staff members in the next two years!  Three of us were just elected to our positions and we, in just two years time, will be the institutional memory of this group!




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