- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1.3.2011 edition (February 2, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1453802266
- ISBN-13: 978-1453802267
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 156 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life 1.3.2011 Edition
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From the Author
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.
Top customer reviews
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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. Then came a breath of fresh air within the pages of Personal "Kanban - Mapping Work | Navigating Life." What Tonianne and Jim have done is create the most unnecessary book ever. Because with no more than a few words, anyone can begin using Personal Kanban within a few minutes. Of course, far from an unnecessary book, this book expands on the methodology with insight into how PK evolved from Lean manufacturing principles. It proceeds to discuss the human side of why things don't get done which is the ultimate Achilles' heel for many people...certainly my Achilles' heel.
What PK has managed to do for me is bypass the normal procrastination techniques, missing organizational DNA and the inability to hold greater than two items in my head simultaneously. PK is becoming my "staging area." It is the first thing I do in the morning as I make conscious decisions about what must happen by the end of the day. It feels as natural as what all of us do when we scribble a note on a post-it and stick it to our monitor. But instead of a collage of post-its, PK takes simplicity and mashes it with effectiveness to create a disarmingly simple process.
Tonianne and Jim have done all this in a well-written book with simple examples but it is NOT an oversimplification. It is real, it is beautiful, it is doable and it is waiting for you. Pick up the book today and stay tuned for wonderful to happen.
UPDATE: One year later and I still find myself returning to PK as my method of "Mapping my work." I still investigate other methods and am forced to follow another approach at work, but find myself craving and returning to PK. I Have since reread the book 2 more times and am still picking up new information. I have recommended it to friends and coworkers. When all around me seems to spin out of control, it is so refreshing to turn around in my seat and see my personal Kanban board waiting for me. I have a "customized" whiteboard at work where I've used artist's tape to create my lanes and I bought my own colorful sticky notes, sized appropriately for my writing style. Each color represents a separate project. If I do nothing else but LIMIT MY WORK IN PROGRESS, I already begin to breathe easier. The grace of this system cannot be overstated.
As the other one-star reviews already stated, you get all you need (PK basics) in the first few chapters. There were some useful examples, but all the book chapters are much, really much too wordy. As the book progressed, I used to highlight less and less ideas in this book.
In Chapter 1 "The basics of PK" you will get all the necessary information to start with PK. Two basic rules are introduced: "Visualize your work" and "Limit your WIP". Short description of why PK is personal and what is the "value stream" (flow of work through PK) follows.
In chapter 2 "Building your first PK" you will get a short info about what you need (whiteboard, pens, stickies), next the basic value stream READY-DOING-DONE and backlog are introduced, then are described reasons to limit your WIP and the importance of reflection (retrospective). Finally, some PK boosters are introduced: PEN and TODAY columns. This is the last really useful chapter of this book (yes, it is really only chapter TWO!).
Chapter 3 titled "My time management is in league with the freeway" elaborates a little bit on WIP limits, and clarity is introduced (what you really want to achieve, preferably using PK). Next, a bucket of dirt is splashed on the "good-old" TO-DO lists. This was the point, when the book started to become really boring and effectively almost useless.
Chapter 4 titled "Nature flows" elaborates on value stream, work flow and introduces the terms of cadence (intensity of completing your work in PK) and slack (always have a little time free in your PK daily schedule). I do not find it any useful, practical or important information is missing in this chapter.
Chapter 5 titled "Components of quality life" (what a name!) begins with really horrible story of one of the book authors. I agree, the fate hit her very hard. But what will be her THE "lifesaver" during disaster recovery? Yes, you guess it! Personal Kanban! Few words have been said there about productivity, efficiency and effectivity. You can find similar information in almost any similarly targeted (time/task management) book. Nothing new here... Again.
In chapter 6 "Finding your priorities" you get a little more information on prioritization and setting the right task size (could this be defined universally?). Next, short info comparing PK to "urgent/important quadrants", Covey's matrix and GTD priciples is presented. It was neither interesting, neither useful comparison (for me at least). In the end metrics are described (much words, little practical value).
Chapter 7 called "Strive for improvement" elaborates on clarity principle, applying it to Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" pyramid. Quite an overkill for me. Next come course corrections (do not plan too early and be ready to adjust your course slightly at any time), introspective (analyze your work) and RETROSPECTIVE colums is introduced (allows analyze your work retrospectively). Not of a big use for really "personal" usage of PK, I think.
And that's it! Next comes final chapter "Endgame" where you can find one of this two takeaways: "We can't (and shouldn't) do more work than we can handle." How would that be possible? Where is the physics? Am I the only one who is missing something?
Appendix A "PK design patterns" contains one (yes, only one!) practical story of adjusting PK to someone's personal needs. But why only one single story? What a pity! Few additional approaches (sequestering/large projects/emergency response/time capsule/balanced throughput) are being described next, but I definitely expected (and really missed) much more practical examples.
Appendix B "PK and social media" contains very short website/Facebook/Twitter/blogging information and links to some of the media. You can fin find much more just by googling for "PK" yourself. Next come Acknowledgements and About... sections. That's it. Book ends...
The foreword of this book titled "The agony of crisis management" by retired CIA HR deputy suggests that the PK is THE lifesaver for today's world in chaos. It's quite bold statement, I think. About the book itself, it says: "It belongs on the bookshelves, Kindles and iPads of every student of healthy personal and professional productivity." I wish this would be true, but - unfortunately - it is not.
It's up to you, if you will buy this book or not. Should I know this in advance, I would definitely not! There is a catastrophic shortage of practical examples. After all, authors are long time PK users (they stated this in the book) and they run also consulting services. So, during their 10+ years of using PK, they have to have a LOT of useful, practical examples. Where are they?
To conclude: as some other reviewers already stated, there is only a little info in this book, that you cannot find for free anywhere else on the Internet (mainly on numerous PK-related blogs). For me this book was a complete dispappontment. I really wanted to get a more practical information of using Personal Kanban. Missed opportunity...
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This was not explained, just with few sentences ... therefore 2 stars.Read more