Initiation to Personal Kanban workshop, Ottawa, 9 May 2014

I shall be facilitating an Initiation to Personal Kanban workshop at HUB Ottawa on 9 May 2014 from 09:00 to 12:30. To register, please click here:

Eventbrite - Initiation to Personal Kanban workshop


Initiation to Personal Kanban workshop, Ottawa, 9 May 2014

The purpose of this 3 1/2 hour workshop is to initiate you to the fundamentals of Personal Kanban. This simple yet very powerful lean management pattern will allow you to visualize your workflow and limit your work in progress in order to become more effective.


BACKGROUND

The problem

  • You are feeling overwhelmed
  • You are finding that you are disorganized or not as organized as you could perhaps be.
  • You are often procrastinating.
  • You have the feeling that you are going round in circle or are hitting a wall.
  • You are thinking that you are still far from reaching your optimum level of performance.
  • You lack focus and you have difficulties in concentrating on what is really crucial.

The solution

Personal Kanban is a Lean management pattern which helps individuals and small teams to :

  • (1) visualize their workflow to actually understand their work and
  • (2) limit their work in progress.

Elegant in its simplicity, yet extremely powerful, Personal Kanban is an evolutionary system, which adapts to your changing work content and allows you to run visible experiments in continuous improvement (kaizen)


 WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

The 2 rules of Personal Kanban — Visualizing work & Limiting work in progress (WIP) — and how they can be implemented.

Why Personal Kanban works: the Underlying principles of psychology and Lean thinking.

How Personal Kanban can be used as a tool to allow for a continuous improvement in your work, relationships with colleagues and clients, job satisfaction and stress level.


LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of the workshop you will:

Have learned how your personal workflow can be represented using visual techniques

Have understood the importance of limiting your Work in Progress (WIP)

Have become aware of the difference between pushed work and pulled work.

Have designed your own tailor-made Kanban Board

To register, please click here:

Eventbrite - Initiation to Personal Kanban workshop


Dr Pascal Venier is a Personal Productivity consultant based in Gatineau & Ottawa. Pascal helps knowledge workers become more effective by optimizing their workflow in particular by using visual tools as well as Agile and Lean thinking. Pascal is currently completing the French translation of Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry’s, Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, a book which has been awarded the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, the highest honor in Lean in 2013.

Personal Kanban® is a registered trademark of Modus Cooperandi, inc. To find more about Personal Kanban, read Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry’s Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life (Seattle: Modus Operandi, 2011) and visit their blog Personal Kanban | visualize. learn. improve.

Hub Ottawa’s IMPACT ACADEMY

I am delighted to be able to announce that I shall be joining the team of instructors for the spring 2014 offering of Hub Ottawa’s IMPACT ACADEMY: a 5 workshop series designed to help you be an effective entrepreneur.

“This is an action-oriented program that offers targeted skills development for impact-driven entrepreneurs, nonprofits exploring social enterprise, as well as professionals interested in learning practical tools for change. We operate at 12-week cohort cycles at The HUB during which 50 participants per year receive practitioner-led workshops, cutting-edge tools, peer reviews, best-in-class coaching, and connections to a purpose-driven community.”

Registration is now opened! Enroll now!

2014_Spring_ImpactAcademyPoster_Email_fwr

Personal Productivity Workshop

I am delighted to announce a new personal productivity workshop offering. It is available in both a half-day and full day format.

PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY: GAIN CONTROL & GET IN THE FLOW

Workshop format: 3 hours

Maximum number of participants: 15

A workshop on how to become not only more productive but also more effective by setting up your own personal workflow system, drawing on state-of-the art techniques in the field of personal productivity (Getting Things Done, Personal Kanban, Inbox Zero, Timeboxing, etc.). This fun, interactive and experiential workshop is facilitated using active learning techniques.

BACKGROUND

The Problem

  • You are feeling overwhelmed?
  • You are finding that you are disorganized, or not as organized as you could perhaps be?
  • You are often procrastinating?
  • You have the feeling that you are going around in circle, or are hitting a wall?
  • You are thinking that you are still far from reaching your optimum level of performance?
  • You lack focus and you have difficulties concentrating on what is really crucial?

The Solution

Setting up a robust workflow system will allow you to tame the information overload and stay in control.
Visualizing your work and limiting your work in progress (the basic principles of Personal Kanban) will enable you to become more productive.
By helping you understand how you work, these steps will furthermore enable you to focus on the right things to become more effective.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

This workshop is divided into three modules:

Module 1 – Gaining control

The first module shows you how to set up a comprehensive workflow system that will allow you to stay in control. STEP 1 will involve setting up an integrated collection system to tame the proverbial information overload. STEP 2 will involve sorting and filtering what you have collected using a triage system. STEP 3 will involve organizing the information by setting up a pertinent reference system to file documents, and manage project, tasks and timelines.

Module 2 – Becoming more productive

This module focuses on how you can significantly increase your productivity by starting with what you currently do. Starting with the basic principle that only what can be seen can be managed, you will learn how to visualize your work. This module also shows you how to limit the work in progress at any given time in order to really get in the flow.

Module 3 – Becoming more effective

Understanding how you work is the key to becoming more effective. Visualizing your work over a period of time will allow you to get involved in a continuous improvement process and to experiment with incremental change. This module will support this process by showing you how to set up regular retrospectives that will allow you to reflect not only on what has been accomplished during the week, but also to think strategically about the organization of the week to come. This will involve gaining perspective on your work by learning to better define your priorities and your objectives, and aligning the tasks accordingly.

The Facilitator

Pascal Venier PhD is a recognized personal productivity expert based in Gatineau (Quebec) and Ottawa (Ontario), but available both nationally and internationally. Pascal helps knowledge workers become more effective by optimizing their workflow, in particular by using visual tools and Agile and Lean thinking. He is currently completing the official French translation of Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry’s Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, a book that won the 2013 Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, the highest honor in Lean.

Contact

pascal.venier@gmail.com
Tel.: +1 (819) 639 3211

Disclaimers

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. Pascal Venier is not affiliated with, or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

Personal Kanban® is a registered trademark of Modus Cooperandi, inc.

Increase Your Impact Per Hour, HUB Masterclass, Ottawa, 5 March 2014

I have co-designed and will co-facilitate with Jessica Lax, a HUB Masterclass on Increase Your Impact Per Hour, which will take place at Hub Ottawa on 5 March 2014 from 09:00 to 10:30. To register, please click here

Hub Masterclass logo

INCREASE YOUR IMPACT PER HOUR

Struggling with a never ending to do list?
Inbox exploding?
Ineffective meetings swallowing your day?

Stop stretching yourself thin by always trying to do more.
Get the tools to start doing the RIGHT work at the RIGHT time,
ruthlessly.

In the social sector we scrutinize every dollar we spend and find amazingly creative ways to cut our costs. But when it comes to our time – a resource that is just as scarce – that scrutiny often falls short. This course will help you get the most impact per hour and give you the tools you need to get in control of how you spend your time.

In this class you’ll learn how to deal with the most common time vacuums and come away with tools to :

  • tame your inbox,
  • increase the return on the time you invest in meetings,
  • visualize your workflow so you can maximize your finite attention,
  • and connect with an accountability group so you’ll stick to it!

To help you learn which approaches are really increasing your productivity, you’ll also receive instructions to set up a time tracker one week before the class. You’ll then capture before and after data on how you spend your time to determine which productivity tools are helping you make the most of your most valuable resource.

Get the tools to reclaim your email, your meetings, your attention, and most importantly, your impact!

Who will get the most value from this class?

This class is targeted to professionals in any field who are open to new ways to optimise their work flow. Some familiarity with technology will be asset for time tracking purposes.

Who will be leading the class?

To ensure that each class provides a learning experience that supercharges your impact, classes are co-designed and co-facilitated by a topic expert and the HUB Masterclass Curator, Jessica Lax. For this class, we are excited to bring on Pascal Venier as the topic expert. See the bios below for more info.

Topic Expert: Pascal Venier

Pascal helps knowledge workers become more effective by optimizing their workflow and implementing Agile and Lean thinking. A personal student of productivity for more than 20 years, Pascal made the transition to becoming a coach in personal effectiveness once he saw the impact productivity training can have on someone’s long term success. Pascal is currently completing the French translation of Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, a book which has been awarded the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. When Pascal isn’t seeking out new ways to get more out of our hours, he can be found sharing his passion for personal effectiveness on his blog and on twitter @pascalvenier.

Masterclass Curator: Jessica Lax

Jessica’s goal is to maximize the impact of the social sector by changing the way the sector learns. She’s been drawn to this work since 2002 when she co-founded her first organization, The Otesha Project, wishing that something like HUB Masterclass existed. She combines her experience as a curriculum designer, facilitator, professional public speaker, playwright and actor, consultant and coach for nonprofits, and a social entrepreneurship MBA at Oxford, to design and curate HUB Masterclass.

How will a HUB Masterclass help me ‘do good better’?

Studies report that the average person only retains about 5% of the material presented in a lecture. To really up your game that's simply not good enough.

Your time and money are scarce resources and when you invest them in HUB Masterclass you are getting a lot more than a lecture. Every class combines the best of instructional design and insanely useful content to ensure that you not only retain the information, but walk away knowing how to apply it to change the way you work.

You’ll be challenged to clarify your goals, glean real life insights from your peers, start applying what you learn right in class, and walk away with concrete tools to immediately put into action. After the class you’ll be given access to an online bulletin board where the instructor and your peers can share resources for a deep dive into the class content and share examples of how you are applying what you’ve learned to your work.

HUB Masterclass offers professional development that works. Stop learning on the fly and let HUB Masterclass help you ‘do good better’.

What does being a ‘class backer’ mean?

HUB Masterclass is designed to be both responsive and lean. The ten pilot classes were voted on by the community and only those that get 20 ‘backers’ or registrations three weeks before the class date will go into production. If we don’t get enough backers all registrations will be refunded.

So if you want to take this class, spread the word, encourage your peers to jump on board, and be sure to register before the deadline!

Click here to check out the full HUB Masterclass offering, and be sure to sign up to be notified when a new class opens for registration.

HUB Masterclass is the newest set of learning experiences offered by HUB Ottawa

Register now!

Hub Masterclass, professional development that works

HUB Ottawa, my co-working space, has recently launched a very exciting experiment with a new professional development program. The Hub Masterclass, an initiative launched and curated by Jessica Lax, is both original and innovative in its conception and has the ambitious objective of changing the way in which professionals learn.

Hub Masterclass logo

A first noteworthy feature is that potential topics are identified and selected as the result of a crowdsourcing process. It is then the matter for a Subject Matter Expert and the Hub Masterclass curator Jessica Lax to develop a proposal which is in turn offered for the backing of both the co-working community and outside participants; this involved making a firm commitment to take a given class by registering and paying a fee. Only classes which have a sufficient backing are then further developed.

Much emphasis is placed on making fit people’s needs and realities. To that end each class will follow a common instructional design pattern and the idea is to maximise the impact to ensure that learners will get results. The focus is on “training” rather than “telling” and helping participants build their professional network. Each class, offering focussed training will be jointly facilitated by a topic expert and the Masterclass curator. It will be short and to the point, lasting 90 minutes and offered first thing in the morning or just before the end of the day.

HUB Masterclass is primarily aimed at “helping the social sector to ‘do good better’”. Most of the classes in the program are nevertheless extremely pertinent to most knowledge workers, whether they are freelancers or members of a sizable organization, as you can judge from the list of the top 10 courses, which have been crowdsourced and for which backing is now invited: Online marketing, The Art of Storytelling, Managing People 101, Write an Irresistible Trilium Grant, Online Course Design, Social Media Bootcamp, Google Apps for Nonprofits, Increase Your Impact per Hour, Love Your Numbers, Motivation & Influence. Each such high impact class offers great value for money and each class “backers” will pay a reduced rate when they pre-register at least 3 weeks before a class ($35 for HUB members and $40 for non-members), but there will be five spots left for late registrations ($45 for HUB members and $50 for non-members).

Hub Masterclass logo 2

Register now!

I am very excited to be part of this exciting venture as I have been invited to be the topic expert for the session on Increasing Your Impact per Hour, on which more is to come in my next blog post.

Presentation on Personal Kanban at Agile Québec, 22 January 2014

agile_quebec_logo

I shall give a presentation on Personal Kanban in French at the Annual General Meeting of the d’Agile Québec on 22 January 2014 at the local 2320-2330, Pavillon Kruger, Université Laval in Quebec City, Quebec.

INTRODUCTION AU KANBAN PERSONNEL

Le problème

  • Vous sentez que vous êtes débordé(e)
  • Vous trouvez que vous êtes désorganisé(e)
  • Vous remettez souvent les choses à plus tard
  • Vous avez l’impression de tourner en rond et de vous heurter à un mur
  • Vous pensez que vous êtes loin d’atteindre votre niveau de performance optimum
  • Vous manquez de focus et avez du mal à vous concentrer sur ce qui est véritablement essentiel

Cela vous rappelle quelque chose?

La solution

Le Kanban personnel est un pattern de gestion Lean qui aide les personnes et les petites équipes :

  1. à visualiser leurs flux de travail et à mieux comprendre la nature de celui-ci et
  2. à limiter leur travail à finir (TAF)

Élégant dans sa simplicité, mais pourtant extrêmement puissant, c’est un système évolutif, qui s’adapte au contexte changeant de votre travail. Le Kanban personnel permet un meilleur alignement entre votre flux de travail et vos objectifs. Il permet également de mener des expériences de façon visuelle des expérimentations en amélioration continue (Kaizen).

Ce que vous apprendrez

  • Les 2 règles du Kanban personnel – visualiser le travail et limiter le travail à finir – et comment elles peuvent être mise en oeuvre.
  • Comment construire un premier Kanban personnel qui vous permettra de gérer vos tâches et surtout de commencer une réflexion sur votre travail.
  • Comment le Kanban personnel peut-être utilisé comme un outil pour permettre une démarche d’amélioration continue dans votre travail, améliorer vos relations de travail avec vos collègues et vos clients, mais aussi votre satisfaction au travail et diminuer votre niveau de stress.

> To register


Personal Kanban® is a registered trademark of Modus Cooperandi, inc. To find more about Personal Kanban, read Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry’s Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life (Seattle: Modus Operandi, 2011) and visit their blog Personal Kanban | visualize. learn. improve.

Instill an Agile Virus in your Organization: Empower your Team, Change your Life, Gatineau-Ottawa Agile Tour 2013

I have the great pleasure to announce that I shall take part in the Gatineau-Ottawa Agile Tour 2013 conference which will take place at the Maison du Citoyen in Gatineau (Québec). I shall deliver in French a workshop on Instill an Agile Virus in your Organization: Empower your Team, Change your Life, based on a formula developped with my friend Gerry Kirk.

Injecter un virus agile dans votre organisation : Changez votre vie, responsabilisez votre équipe

Ce que vous y apprendrez

  • Comment créer un système Kanban personnel de base, et être en mesure d’expliquer aux autres comment faire de même.
  • Comment utiliser un Kanban personnel de différentes manières, autant au niveau personnel qu’au niveau de votre équipe.
  • Comprendre l’utilité de visualiser le travail axé sur les connaissances, incluant des justifications provenant des sciences du cerveau.
  • Connaître et comprendre les 3 principales raisons pour lesquelles on devrait terminer une tâche sans la laisser en suspend, et 3 manières d’y arriver.
  • Comment utiliser des Kanban personnels pour diriger, mesurer et évaluer des améliorations au niveau personnel ou de l’équipe.

Description de la session:

Vous avez besoin de convaincre un gestionnaire clef d’adopter une approche agile? Vous aimeriez que votre équipe collabore mieux? Vous aspirez à un meilleur équilibre travail/vie personnelle? Si oui, essayez le Kanban personnel, une méthode qui a gagné le prix Shingo pour l’excellence opérationnelle. C’est la manière la plus simple et rapide de faire l’expérience des méthodes agiles “Lean”, et de les utiliser pour responsabiliser une petite équipe ou des individus, que ça soit au travail ou à la maison. Procurez un soulagement instantané à votre patron débordé. Commencez par implanter le système pour vous-même et rapidement, des curieux vous demanderont de les aider à en créer un pour eux. Et hop! Vous venez d’injecter un virus agile dans votre organisation. Vous avez aussi découvert une manière pour vous et votre équipe d’être plus efficaces, d’améliorer votre communication, et de trouver le temps pour les choses qui comptent le plus. Dans cette session, vous apprendrez à créer un système Kanban personnel à travers une série d’exercices participatifs. À la sortie, vous comprendrez la psychologie derrière la visualisation du travail et la réduction du travail en cours. Vous serez inspiré et motivé à agir et à avoir un impact au travail et à la maison

Merging GTD and Personal Kanban

Version française

I recently had the honour to be interview by Rafal Moryson who is a leading personal productivity expert in Ireland and runs the outstanding Creating Personal Flow blog. I really enjoyed the experience, especially as Rafal’s questions were extremely well crafted and gave me a great opportunity to reflect on my practice both as a practionner and as a trainer and coach. Here is the text of the interview published today on his blog: “Merging GTD and Kanban“.


Today I’m delighted to present you an interview with Pascal Venier where we talk about merging two productivity methodologies Getthing Things Done by David Allen and Kanban.

Personally it was a great fun to arrange this interview and think of the questions. I’m hopping to do more often.

Now let me pass you you Pascal.

Can you please provide a short bio (if you like)?

I am a performance coach and trainer in personal productivity, based in Ottawa-Gatineau, in the capital region of Canada. A Frenchman, I was for over twenty years a university professor in Britain, where I have taught at the Liverpool Hope University, the University of Manchester and the University of Salford. Over the last 15 years, or so, I have become increasingly interested in personal productivity. Last year, I fulfilled an ambition of mine which was to start my own practice, offering executive coaching and training workshops in personal productivity. Whilst I am based in Canada, my services are available internationally : I am a frequent visitor to both Britain and France and my coaching services are available online on Skype. I am currently in the process of completing the French translation of Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry’s Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life.

How long have you been practicing GTD and/or other productivity methods?

I have been practicing GTD for nearly 9 years now. I discovered David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress Free Productivity, during the summer of 2004. It was a real revelation for me. Unlike the traditional time management methods I had tried before, this flow-based method not only allowed me to gain — or should I rather say regain — control of my workflows and place my work commitments in perspective. All importantly it gave me the ability to be remarkably flexible and adapt much better to ever changing circumstances.

What is the method that you use the most?

I am currently combining Getting Things Done with Personal Kanban. They both articulate remarkably well, as they are similarly flow-based. I like to speak as my Kanban board as the “front-end” of my GTD system. The GTD workflow process helps me have everything under control. The Six-level horizons of focus allows me to gain perspective on what I do — something which is far from obvious — and Personal Kanban actually helps you not only get things done, but to actually to get the right things done.

What elements of Personal Kanban appealed to you?

Perhaps Personal Kanban’s extreme simplicity. It only involves 2 rules: visualise your work and limit your work-in-progress. As someone who is extremely visual — I am also an avide mind-mapper — the way in which tasks and projects are represented in a visual manner with post-it appeal to me. I also like the way in which the number of tasks you are focussing on at any given time should be be limited as it really helps me with the execution face of my workflows. Personal Kanban does really help you having that all important conversation with yourself, or your team, about your work, in a timely fashion.

How did Personal Kanban improve your productivity?

It has really helped me being more selective about what I was doing, prioritize better, no longer feeling overwhelmed by huge GTD type task lists. One crucial dimension with Personal Kanban is that you actually explicitly visualise the tasks you have accomplished. Being able to see what you have achieved at the end of the week when you conduct your weekly review/retrospective is something extremely valorising. It makes a big difference psychologically.

Did Personal Kanban improve focus and making progress on the selected set of projects/actions?

Personal Kanban has really helped me to improve my focus. Having a WIP limit — a work in progress limit, in other words limiting the number of things you do at the same time — has helped me a lot in that respect. When you have a WIP limit, you must finish a given task before you can pull another one. “Stop starting, start finishing” is a buzz word in the Kanban community. You cannot complete more work than you can actually process. It is as simple as that. As Jim Benson, Joanne Ho and Maritza van den Heuvel put it in Beyond Agile, Tales of Continuous Improvement : a person who is overloaded cannot provide full attention to the task at hand.”

What was the impact on your workflow?

It is very clear that my work is flowing much better now. At the same time, using Personal Kanban, is really helping me getting in the flow.

Were there any challenges in implementing the Personal Kanban approach?

Not really because it is very simple.

I started implementing Personal Kanban, in a very progressive manner. To start with I carried on using a GTD software, the excellent Nozbe, and simply introduce a WIP limit, something which was very easy, as it was just a matter a limiting the number of actions which would starred. This worked remarkably well. It convinced me to take things further and to also introduce the visualization dimension of Personal Kanban in my GTD implementation and started using the Trello Kanban software.

I was for a time rather reluctant to use a physical board with post-it, but since most of the Kanban practitioners were so enthusiastic about using stickies – something which really struck me when I went to a meeting of the WIP Society in Manchester – that I decided to give it a try. I was extremely surprised to see that going low tech in such a way worked well. I love the kinesthetic dimension of moving the post-its on the board.

Do you see any areas where the Kanban could handle things better? Are there any elements that you would improve in the Kanban flow?

Well, it is very much a matter for you to conduct little experiments to find out what works best in your personal context. Personal Kanban is based on Lean thinking, which places the emphasis on Kaizen, ie continuous improvement. Think of your Personal Kanban as a tool which is allowing you to conduct little experiments which allow to improve incrementally. There is no such thing as a perfect Personal Kanban design and there are no two boards which are the same. Your own board will be evolving as your work is evolving.

Does it handle all tasks well or are there some that don’t fit into Kanban?

As ever, personal productivity is a matter of common sense. Using a Kanban works extremely well in my experience, however when you have big batches of repetitive tasks it would be an overkill to create a post-it, or a card on an digital Kaban board, for each of them.

This is very much the case about emails. Indeed there are very important emails to be drafted very carefully and skillfully and as such perhaps do deserve the creation of a card on your Personal Kanban board. However for most emails, it is far more expedient to just process them as a batch and to have a time during the day when you process your email.

Personal Kanban makes a clear distinction between pushed work and pulled work. This is between the work which is push towards you and the work you choose to pull and execute. Developing an awareness of this is in my view really important, when dealing with emails. Email is the perfect illustration of pushed work and it is vital to remain in control of what you choose to do. It is all too common for people to lose sight of the big picture and spend too much time processing emails, instead of focussing on their core mission.

When processing your in-box, using a system of tags or folders based on what columns of a Personal Kanban board would be can be very helpful. For instance, a way of processing emails I have sometimes been recommending involved using the following categories: Priority 3, Priority 2, Priority 1, Ready, Today, Doing (with a limit of WIP). It can help a lot to establish priorities and replace you in the driving seat, especially if you have a chronic tendency to yield to pushed work at the detriment of more impactful work which it is important for you to pull and execute, because it helps you deliver on your core objectives.

Do you use any specific tools to suport Personal Kanban in day to day activities? In your experience, does electronic or paper work better to manage the Kanban boards?

My favourite formula is to simply used post-it on a wall! If geeky software developpers have gone low tech and rely on post-it for their complicated software developments projects, it can just work fine for the rest of us!

However, since my job as an executive coach and trainer is to be able to advise clients on the whole range of tools available to them, I have been using extensively experimenting with online tools. My favourite is currently LeanKit, which I have been using for the last 4 weeks for my implementation.

Do you use Personal Kanban on the go? How do you handle that aspect?

Indeed, I also use Personal Kanban on the go. What works best for me, when I am using a paper implementation, is to use a signature book, what we call in France a “trieur-parapheur” — to keep my post-it.

When it comes to electronic implementations, LeanKit, makes it easy to access your boards, since it has both an iPhone and an iPad application.

Could you give us an example of your daily routine involving Kanban?

Yes, this starts with a daily stand up to review the board and update it. This involve pulling a few cards into the Doing column, that is the work-in-progress. It also involve quickly reviewing the board and making the necessary adjustments. It will then be a matter of getting started and work on each of the items in the Doing column with a view to executing them first. Each item which has been completed will then be moved in the done column. The idea is for the board to be always in front of you, so you can refer to it, when you need and update it on an on-going basis. New tasks you can think about during the day can be placed on the board immediately.

When do you review your board, how much time do you spend on setting it up etc?

Setting up your first Personal Kanban board is very simple. In its simplest form it would could involve only three columns: Backlog (ie To do), Doing and Done. This would provide you with a simple tool which would help you understand your work. It will then be a matter of adapting your board to your context.

Personal Kanban does not provide you with an already made solution, but allows you to progressively develop, through trials and errors, a design which is suited to your needs. Furthermore, as and and when your context will be shifting, you will be easily adapt your design to reflect your changing work reality.

Reviewing your board, is very much an on-going process. Think of your board as the dashboard for your workflow, which you keep updating in real time. There are time when you feel the need to pause and reflect more carefully about where you stand and your Kanban will provide all the information you need to make informed decisions about your work.

It is common to review it at the beginning and the end of the day and to conduct a retrospective, a more thorough examination of where your stand and what you have achieved. There are no prescription about how often however, that can be at a weekly interval like the GTD weekly review, or whenever you feel the need, especially when your work context is shifting. Flexibility is the key word with Personal Kanban.

What would be your the number of projects/actions on you board?

Whatever is pertinent to your specific context.

Using a Kanban board imposes a number of constraints, as the number of projects and tasks you can place on a board is necessarily limited. Oh no! … now wait! So is the number of projects and tasks you can actually execute.

Just like you can have a work-in-progress limit and set a limit to the number of tasks you undertake, it can make a lot of sense to limit the number of on-going projects, in other words having a project-in-progress limit.

I think this notion is very helpful, for it really addresses one of the problems people seem to be struggling the most with when implementing GTD. It is true that part of the GTD process involves drawing a list of all the projects and next actions one need to execute within a period of 12 months. This is all to often wrongly understood as prescribing to consider all the projects in question as active projects. Much to the contrary, a well tuned GTD system, involves limiting the number of projects which can be conducted at the same time. GTD makes a clear distinction between on the one hand active projects and next actions, and what belongs to the someday-maybe list.

When you use a list system, especially in an electronic format, it can be very tempting to multiply the number of projects with all the next actions they involve. This can have a very negative effect, as you very easily feel overwhelmed in front of such a huge list of projects and all the next actions which go with them.

The limitation inherent to the board and the number of stickies you can fit on it, really forces you to concentrate the mind and distinguish between what should have your attention now and what should not. Its limitation is in a sense of strength for it leaves you no choice but to take a reality check.

How much your GTD practice has evolved since you started using Kanban?

What has surprised me most about implementing GTD with Personal Kanban is how eminently compatible the two really are. I have the feeling that this way of doing has really helped me to that my practice to the next level, by paradoxically adhering more closely to the principles of GTD. It has really forced me to think again about the fundamentals. The beauty of Personal Kanban is that its visual dimension really allows you to really have a dialogue with your work.

Where can people find you on-line?

I am very active on Twitter, where I am @pascalvenier and my website is http://www.pascalvenier.com/

On Personal Kanban, I would particularly recommend two blogs : Personal Kanban – Visualize, Learn, Improve blog, run by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry and The Personal Kanban Gallery, a collection of boards curated by Gerry Kirk.

Organizing your life and work with Personal Kanban, Hub Ottawa, 22 August 2013

Organizing your life and work with Personal Kanban, Brown bag lunch, Hub Ottawa, 22 August 2013

12:00-13:00 Free to Hub members, $10 to guests

An hour presentation on how Personal Kanban, a simple lean pattern, using a white board and stickies, can help you become extremely effective by visualizing your workflows, limiting your work in progress, and reflecting on your workflows.

The problem

  • You are feeling overwhelmed
  • You are finding that you are disorganised or not as organized as you could perhaps be.
  • You are often procrastinating.
  • You have the feeling that you are going round in circle or are hiting a wall.
  • You are thinking that you are still far from reaching your optimum level of performance.
  • You lack focus and you have difficulties in concentrating on what is really crucial.

Does this sound familiar?

The solution

Personal Kanban is a Lean management pattern which helps individuals and small teams to :

(1) visualise their workflow to actually understand their work and
(2) limit their work in progress.

Elegant in its simplicity, yet extremely powerful, it is an evolutionary system, which adapts to your changing work context. Personal Kanban enables a better alignment between your  workflow and your goals. It also allows you to run visible experiments in continuous improvement (Kaizen).

What you will learn

The 2 rules of Personal Kanban — Visualizing work & Limiting work in progress (WIP) — and how they can be implemented.

How to build a first Personal Kanban board which will help you manage your tasks and most importantly start reflect on your work.

How Personal Kanban can be used as a tool to allow for a continuous improvement in your work, relationships with colleagues and clients, job satisfaction and stress level.

To find more about Personal Kanban:

Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life (Seattle: Modus Operandi, 2011)

Personal Kanban website and blog. http://www.personalkanban.com

 

Pascal Venier PhD is a trainer and coach in personal effectiveness based in Ottawa.He is currently completing the French translation of Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry’s, Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life. He can be found online at www.pascalvenier.com and is @pascalvenier on Twitter.

Where?

Hub Ottawa
71 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 5N2
Tel. (613) 680 – 3506


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