Applying Lean at the Individual Level: Personal Kanban, Lean Government Week, Ottawa, 23 October 2015

Friday 23 October 2015, 08:30-16:30
Lean Government Week, Ottawa, 23 October 2015
Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario
Price: CAN$ 695 + CAN$ 90.35 (GST/HST)

Learn how to apply Lean principles to improve your own productivity so that you manage your workflow, focus on the right things, do them better – and achieving more. Participants leave the session having created their own personal Kanban board to use when they return to the office, and will get a copy of the book Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life by Jim Benson & Tonianne DeMaria Barry.

By the end of the workshop, participants will have:

  • Learned how their personal workflow can be represented using visual techniques.
  • Understood the importance of limiting their Work in Progress (WIP).
  • Become aware of the difference between pushed work and pulled work.
  • Designed their own tailor-made Kanban Board.

>>> Registration

Personal Kanban: Planet Lean interviews Jim Benson

Planet Lean has posted an excellent interview with Jim Benson, the co-author of Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, which provides an excellent short overview of the approach.

The transcript of the interview is available here:
Jim Benson, Personal Kanban – how visualizing tasks can help us make sense of a busy schedule and reduce our stress, Lean Planet, 30 April 2015.

PIP & WIP, a Personal Kanban board design


> Lisez ce billet en français

A projects & tasks Personal Kanban board design aka PIP & WIP design

One of the things I enjoy most about the Personal Kanban community is how people often share the experiments they are conducting in adapting their boards and practice to better suit their own context. Looking at other people’s boards often gives me excellent ideas to try.

A problem I have been confronted with since I started practicing Personal Kanban over three years ago, has been the question of how to deal with the articulation between projects and tasks — and it seems that I am far from being the only one.

I would like to report on an on-going experiment I have been conducting for the last six months or so, which involves working with a board design making explicit the distinction between projects and tasks.

During the fall of 2014 I used a board which followed very closely the priority filter design, based on Corey Ladas’ Scrumban. It included the following columns: Priority 3, Priority 2, Priority 1, Ready, Doing, Pen and Done. I have found that it worked extremely well and really helped improve the way in which my work was flowing. I could however not help but notice that when the time happened to break down a given project on which I wanted to concentrate on in discrete tasks to execute, I kept been placed in a situation where the number of such tasks was much higher than I expected. As a result I found using this pattern increasingly frustrating, as I needed to rearrange the whole board by moving items backwards to make things work and keep some discipline.

I have therefore tried a new board design which would make explicit what involved projects and what involved tasks.


[Please note that the writing on the sticky notes from this board has been blanked]

The left hand side part of the backlog is only concerned with the strategic level, with each project represented by a sticky note. It is very similar to a Portfolio Kanban and it uses a simple priority filter to establish priorities among projects.


The right hand section of the backlog is concerned with the tactical level and is used to track the active projects and the tasks associated with them — as well as the smaller tasks which I aim execute in the coming week.


To the left of this section, a column is used to track projects which are active, ie which have started. I call it PiP, project(s) in progress. This is what could be termed Meta-WIP, to use an expression Jim Benson once used: “projects are meta-WIP. Limiting to a few projects enables delivery. Limiting to a few tasks creates focus.” Further to the right is a much broader column, with a width which easily fits 5 stickies. The upper part is used to place tasks connected to the active project(s). The tasks placed at the same level than the sticky materializing the project they belong to in effect form something like a swimlane (ie horizontal column), although I have chosen not to materialize it on my board, as the number of tasks for a project can vary a great deal. The lower part is used to track all the small tasks which don’t belong to a projet that I may have to execute.

In the most recent iteration of this board, an additional horizontal section has been added to that part of the board, for also tracking recurring tasks.


In another post, I will reflect on what I have learned about my own work using this simple design pattern and observing what was happening.

Getting started with Personal Kanban, Ottawa, 19 June 2015

Boost your productivity! Getting started with Personal Kanban
Hub Ottawa, 19 June 2015, 09:00-12:30

Regular price : $ 195
Early bird (before 8 June 2015) : $ 165.75
Non Profit Organization‎s ; Hub Ottawa members : $ 95

We all have too much to do and too little time, feeling sometimes overwhelmed. This highly interactive and experiential 3 1/2 hour workshop will show you how to visualize your work,  limit your  work in progress and prioritize better, by using a visual board. As a  result, you will get in the flow more easily, and get the right things done. This approach will also help you feeling more in control, reducing your stress level, achieving a better  balance between your work and your personal life, finding the time to think strategically and considerably increasing the impact of your  work.


  • 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.


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.


“The class was truly excellent. I’ve been to many “time saving” classes like this but this really was the most useful. I put into place some of the learning as soon as I left the room. I intent to recommend it to my network.”

“Concrete examples which are backed by theory. A very good presentation!”

“This workshop was very interesting and I loved the way in which the model was explained. I really found a better way to organize both my work and my life. This method is brilliant and I am already less stressed out when executing my tasks. I am really looking forward to using it.”

“A great way to get organized and to clearly see the work which needs doing.”

“A tool which is simple, realistic and effective!”

“This has been a very rewarding workshop which will most certainly help to sort out my work tasks and to be more effective and accordingly reduce my stress level.”

“Today, I relearned no less than how to prioritize, how to accept that I simply cannot do everything and how to take my time in order to avoid wasting time. Thank you very much for such an inspiring day!”

“This workshop was very interesting and I loved the way in which the model was explained. I really have found a better way to organize my work and my life. This method is amazing et I am already less stressed about doing my tasks. I am really looking forward to implementing it.”

“Great instructor! Excellent strategies for becoming more effective that can be acted upon immediately. It was great & one of my top 2 in the Impact Academy.

“I loved that we could “workshop” our “things to do”. It was very helpful, realistic.”

“Easy and intuitive, but really effective visualization to manage time and priorities.”

“A lot of fog in my head has lifted in terms of organization and clarity in my work and life. Thank you! Not only have hours of hard work been saved, but a lot of grief and sleepless night.”

“Helped me identify areas of improvement in my current work process. Gave me practical steps to improve efficiency in my work.”

Any question about this workshop? Do not hesitate to contact me using the form below or phoning me on +1 (819) 639 32 11


Cancellation and requests for transfers must be submitted in writing (

When participants cancel their registration 7 working days or more before the workshop begins, the registration fees are refundable, but a 15% administrative fee will apply.

Participants who are unable to attend a workshop may send a substitute, but they must notify us of this change.

I reserve the right to cancel the workshop due to lack of participants or unforeseen circumstances.