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Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life + A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Improve Your Personal Performance + Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453802266
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453802267
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Personal Kanban is all about understanding and effectiveness. People are so busy they can't see past their daily to-dos. They let options slide by while working on tasks of little value. At any given time, we want to know what we are doing, be able to communicate that to others, and see what our true options are. Other personal and team management systems are top-heavy, requiring significant work to update and maintain. Personal Kanban runs in the background, always providing you with information and not adding additional work or pain.

From the Inside Flap

  • Carmen Medina: Director of Intelligence (Retired) Central Intelligence Agency: Personal Kanban is a must read for knowledge workers and their leaders who recognize that old productivity models don't apply to knowledge work and seek a more realistic and centered approach. The ideas are deceptively simple but in that simplicity is their strength. As soon as I finished reading it, I started drawing out the landscape of my projects and felt much the better for it.
  • Ross Mayfield: CEO of SocialText: Personal productivity systems usually fail in practice because of complexity and they don't reflect the collaborative nature of real work. Personal Kanban provides the simplest structure that could possibly work and lets you achieve a state of flow.
  • Jerry Michalski: guide, Relationship Economy eXpedition: Trying to get more effective? Why use Rube Goldberg systems of tabulated notebooks and special-purpose inserts? Instead, consider a system that flows like a stream and focuses your attention, both on the task at hand and on making your process more effective. That's what Personal Kanban is, and it may just fit your thinking and doing style.  

More About the Author

My career path has taken me through government agencies, Fortune 10 corporations, and start-ups. Through them all my passion remained consistent - applying new technologies to work groups - in each case asking how they can be leveraged to collaborate and cooperate more effectively. I love ideas, creation, and building opportunities. I love working with teams who are passionate about the future. I love pushing boundaries. I love inclusion. My goal with all technologies is to increase beneficial contact between people and reduce the bureaucratic noise which so often tends to increase costs and destroy creativity.

Customer Reviews

Book is a bit blog form, a bit too much unstructured.
Jim Nordlander
As someone who has used this system, Jim and Tonianne have done a great job in this well written book explaining a novel productivity system.
Timothy F McMahon
The theory behind limiting WIP suggests that by doing fewer tasks at one time, you'll be able to increase your throughput.
Adam Yuret

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Dan Leone on April 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have seen it all. From the primitive todo to the philistine Covey to digital GTD to the nothing-there ZTD, I am confident saying that there is nothing I have wasted more of my time on than studying how not to waste more of my time. I have active accounts with AppoloHQ, Nirvana, Producteev, HiTask, RTM, TeamLab, PlanBox and a gazillion other task management websites. I approach each of these methodologies and implementations with a cynical eye. I do not inherently trust any "system" and quickly pshaw them right out of the box. But I hang on. I hang on to the hope that as my brain begins to drop more information than it picks up, I will eventually find something that will work.

The prerequisites are simple:

1. No part of this process should take more than 10 minutes to implement
2. It needs to be visual
3. It needs to be visible!
4. I should never be in a position where I say "If only I had an internet connection" or "If only I had my laptop" or "If only my Circa Rhodia pad come unlined."
5. At the "end of the day," I need to be able to report on and measure my performance. We are all accountable for what we produce. My goals are directly tied to what I can accomplish.
6. It's got to FEEL good. Metrics aside, if it is ugly, cumbersome or "kludgy," it will never be a tool for me. I seek beauty through simplicity.
7. It can't be binary. Use it or not, there has to be room for a transition.
8. It should not be mutually exclusive to any other system. If I want to implement Next Actions or Covey's big rocks/little rocks, or a universal capture tool (ie Evernote), then nothing should stop me from doing that.

Perhaps those prerequisites were not so simple after all as it seems that no one was able to meet those criteria.
Read more ›
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Flavius Stef on August 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book in a nutshell: create a backlog of your work, add a kanban board (columns: "backlog", "ready", "in progress", "done"), limit your work in progress to a number you determine by trial and error and retrospect periodically to understand what factors influence you to be effective/ineffective for a certain type of task. Adapt.

I think the process suggested (previously defined by David Anderson in his Kanban book; previously developed by Toyota for manufacturing) is valuable, and has made me give up my to-do lists. On the other hand, I don't think you need a whole book to explain it, a simple (if longer) blog post would be sufficient.

The idea I found most valuable was to strive for effectiveness rather than productivity. That is: try to get things done instead of trying to keep yourself busy.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By joe bradley on August 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I should point out that this is a review of the book, NOT about the ideas contained herein. Lest you think this is unfair, there are
other books that touch on kanban that do it in a handful of paragraphs rather than hundreds of pages. I have no idea how many pages this book has - I gave up after the first hundred.

Unfortunately, you could derive the same benefit by glancing through summaries people have written about the ideas contained in the book.

Now you may say: "But you could say that about any personal productivity book!" Yes, you could, but you would derive more benefit reading some books. I read Steven Covey's "7 Habits" book (or whatever it was called) and I got a lot out of it even after hear someone else describe the points to me. And I read "Getting Things Done" after reading blog posts about them. And both cases, reading the entire book was very enlightening, as they described in great detail the problems that arise when you try to apply method in real life - things that knock you off track, things you can do to get started, very specific guidance for common cases, etc.

This book doesn't do that. It spends it's entire time SELLING the method. A point is made early in the chapter, and then the guy spends the entire time talking about how %#%@% great it is, and how some buddy of his used it to make his life better, etc. It's as if you bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner, and instead of it coming with the 1-sheet illustration showing how to do it, it instead came with instructions embedded in piecemeal inside a 30 minute infomercial selling you on the !%@% vaccuum cleaner you just %&$#&%$# bought!!! Feh.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By William Tubb on March 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came to Personal Kanban as a dedicated 30+ year Daytimer user. I've done the Time Management seminars, I've managed my personal and professional life for 40+ years, and quite frankly I thought "Meh, I'm curious and I'll give it a read."

I was not prepared for the changes this book and it's methodology would make in my Tax Practice/Life. I did not realize how incorporating Personal Kanban into my daily life could smooth the flow and reduce the stress of tax season.

Who knew visualizing your backlog and work-in-process on simple little sticky notes would help you to understand when to work, what to work on, and chop the guilt allowing you to spend time on something other than work. By reducing and identifying my work-in-process I've actually worked faster and removed stress from my life.

My wife and I leave on a vacation in 16 days and I'm sure I would have cancelled or postponed it without Personal Kanban. "Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life" is leading me successfully through my tax season with all clients happy (or as happy as they can be with a tax return) and the satisfaction of knowing I've completed every task on time!

Kudos to Jim and Tonianne for a job well done, and a wonderful book.
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