KANBAN I Love You

MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF

It’s been a couple of years and my KANBAN board is going strong.

What’s a KANBAN board? What’s KANBAN?  It’s the most simplified project management tool you can implement.

If you are still reading, then great. Because this missive isn’t about business. It’s a lesson in personal accountability. Getting things done!

Imagine you have a mundane task, but you can’t do it just this moment. What do you do? Do you write it down and forget about that note scribbled on the back of an envelope? Maybe you do post-it notes?

There is a way to make things easy in terms of remembering all your TO-DO items and finishing them too!

A KANBAN. What is it? The Japanese came up with this beauty after World War II. It started off in Toyota auto factories. Now, it’s used in Sushi shops. It’s everywhere in Japan.

Let’s get back to that post-it note of yours.

Find a wall, or wallboard, or anything you can create three columns with. Label each column as follows: BACKLOG, PROGRESS, COMPLETE.

Now, take your post-it note TO-DO item and stick it under the BACKLOG column. It could do the laundry, or wash the car. Whatever it is, it stays under BACKLOG until you begin it. Once you do, it goes under IN PROGRESS. Only when it’s complete do you move it over to COMPLETE.

Remember the Sushi shop reference? See, if there are only five Sushi chef’s on the line, all the new orders from wait staff must remain in the BACKLOG column. They can only put a total of five orders in the IN PROGRESS column. As the chefs complete each order, they move the ordered item from IN PROGRESS to COMPLETE.

This ensures they are not being overwhelmed and things get done orderly.

This works great for me because if I think of something, anything I want to get done around the house, it goes into the BACKLOG, and eventually… eventually it gets tackled. I’ve moved, but my KANBAN board has gone with me. Maybe you can give it a shot.

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