What happened to the Kanban?

Well, some of it worked and some of it didn’t!  Isn’t that the way it always is?

Back on 5 October 2012 I posted a blog about using a Kanban for visualizing work.  I was specifically thinking of the publication of the SGS Bulletin as being a daunting task with multiple steps of which I was basically unfamiliar.  I had some help, but I was on my own to figure it out.  (The previous publications chair was helpful to orient me but was not available to answer immediate questions.)

I am basically a graphical thinker and so when I was introduced to a Kanban it seemed like  a good way to organize such a project for me.  If you are not a graphical thinker, it might not work for you.  A Kanban is a post-it system for dividing up your work/tasks into categories of “to do,” “doing,” and “done.”  Pretty simple.  The goal is to get things written down so you don’t forget; to see all the tasks so you can properly prioritize and then to only be working on 3 items at a time (we don’t multitask as well as we think we do!) and then have the satisfaction of moving the task into the “done” file.

At the time, I decided that I didn’t know enough about the SGS Bulletin to even make a list of tasks; I proceeded to accomplish the publication by being very linear in my thinking.  That methodology works as long as one has allocated enough time to do the task. Since I had allocated enough time, I was successful in getting the publication published with a good quality.

So,….I decided to try it at my “day job.”  My day job is characterized by 5-10+ small and large projects/tasks being randomly thrown at me every day.  The problem is making sure I do not forget any of them and to make sure I accomplish each on time.  Each task has multiple steps often involving gathering input from another person or persons.  Some have very short time lines and others are longer.  Some need information from people who are not as accessible as my needs might demand.  Perfect for a Kanban!

So, here is what my Kanban looks like at work as of the end of Friday (Sorry it is not the best picture…it was a sunny day in Seattle! 🙂 ).  You can see I have just put the post-its on a translucent window in my office.  And on Monday morning I need to re-prioritize and put two more items in the “doing” category.

work Kanban

So you might try this to organize my certification progress/process or my supplemental education process or even my ProGen class assignments.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last post:  Gone back to my ProGen Basecamp website and commented on the other class member’s submissions that I hadn’t yet commented on. And, pet the cat!


One comment on “What happened to the Kanban?

  1. Mary says:

    First, not everyone has a flannel quilt to cuddle beneath. Secondly, the Kanban method might be quite useful in my quilt world…I will give it a try…thanks for the pictures!

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