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Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life Kindle Edition
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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.
About the Author
- Publication date : January 3, 2011
- Print length : 218 pages
- Publisher : Modus Cooperandi Press (January 3, 2011)
- ASIN : B004R1Q642
- File size : 1345 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #140,875 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Aside from the practice, the book is clear and practical, with doses of philosophy stirred in with the practicality. It's definitely worth a read, and the technique is easy to try. See if it works for you.
Why my self imposed deadlines become meaningless.
Why I used to be really productive and effective and the last few years have not.
Why I have felt so exasperatingly overwhelmed even on days when there is nothing I actually have to do.
Not just another time management system (I have plenty), but a way out of the stress and overwhelm of work that keeps coming at me. Of incomplete tasks nagging at me and keeping me awake.
This book deals with the disconnect between our brains and the modern multitasking/deadline driven world. It is well written a doable.
I loved the system, I have implemented it, I am sleeping better. My backlog of projects hasn't disappeared, but somehow making them tangible has also made them manageable...and I am actually getting to them one by one.
Both are techniques that were created for product development teams and were a response to process heavy up-front planning known as 'waterfall development'. Without having some context of working on a product development team actually implementing Agile processes, I think a lot of readers might not get as much out of the book.
The basic process of kanban is to post 'stickies' to a board in a 'Ready', 'Doing', 'Done' column.
There are 2 rules:
1) Limit the Work in Progress (ideally no more than 3 things at a time)
2) Visualize the work
Concepts like the backlog may get lost on some people, as well as references to Taichi Ohno unless you work in the world of product development.
Nonetheless the book is pretty good. In particular, I like how it emphasized the concept of flowing work, and reducing cycle time on tasks, instead of trying to do a lot of things at once. I know I'm guilty of procrastinating on items and thinking to myself that I can get a lot done by attacking multiple things at once.
Also, the book is right to point out that humans are not like a 'glass of water' that contain work. We are more like a 'machine' that processes work. So Throughput and FLOW are more important concepts than capacity. Having breaks between work is necessary because otherwise the work jams up and throughput slows down (think traffic jam on a highway - it's caused by too many cars on the road, and not enough space between the cars).
I'd give this book 5 stars, but I feel the author needs to take a step back in certain places and explain fundamental concepts more clearly. That and there is a bit (though not too much) fluff in the book. For example, unless you have something new to say on Maslow's hierarchy of human needs, it's best not mentioned in a productivity book - the pyramid is vastly overused and taken out of context - which may have been the case here.
My other mixed criticism, is that the appendix is the only place where the author really shows a few case studies of the Kanban boards in action. This is one of the most useful parts of the books, and the idea of providing a dedicated 'swim lane' or means of visualizing work on a particular project is great. The way the board juxtaposes this against the higher level every day stuff is very instructive and useful, I wish there was more of these case studies throughout the book.
Overall a good book.
I would supplement with the following:
Getting Things Done
Pomodoro Technique Illustrated
It's a lot of reading but well worth it in my opinion if you really want to develop an actionable system that manages workflow.
Unfortunately, most of the book embroiders all over that idea and makes the organization of tasks much much more complicated than that. Oh, well.
It's a readable book. It's as good as any other book about self and time management. I'd add that the decision journal is useful in tandem with this system. Just keeping track of your thinking about decisions: how they are made, whether the thinking was correct, whether the decisions were the right ones, etc. I found this in an interview with Michael Mauboussin, and I would add it to the arsenal of tools mentioned in this PK (Personal Kanban) book.
Top reviews from other countries
1. Visualise Your Work
2. Limit Your Work-In-Progress
Jim Benson founded Modus Cooperandi with Corey Ladas (Scrumban author) and David Anderson (Kanban author) where they established Kanban for software development. Jim and Corey created the personal Kanban board to visualise and manage their team’s work.
In addition to the technique's history and principles, there is guidance on building your first personal Kanban:
- Step One: Get your stuff ready
- Step Two: Establish your value stream
- Step Three: Establish your backlog
- Step Four: Establish your WIP limit
- Step Five: Begin to pull
- Step Six: Reflect
This book includes practical advice on creating and evolving personal Kanban boards and is realistic in recognising that every board is context driven and thus different.
This book could be a lot shorter and overall has been eclipsed by David Anderson’s work but is still a valuable read.
A key point that I've taken from this book is that *it's the principles that matter most*, and that there is no turn-key / silver bullet solution or design that is likely to fit all cases.
My view is that I'd rather understand the principles and develop my own Kanban board(s) for the different contexts in which I would use one.
I started reading this book wanting someone to "just show me" how to manage my numerous projects. I've come away more comfortable in the idea that over time, I can evolve a system that suits my needs.
I would not say this is the only book I need to read on the subject, but it's certainly got me off to an enthusiastic start. Of course, I am still left with many questions, but the book does point to an online community for further support and does not make unrealistic claims.
I find some of the images a little unclear at times. I'm reading from the electronic book, so I don't know how this compares with the paper format.
Dispells many myths that have become entrenched in the workplace and our lives as defacto truths.
Great book explaining a very useful practice (PK) and how to apply it.