What’s In a Kanban Standup?

First and foremost:

Focus on work items, not people.


Finishing is more important than starting.

Practical tip: start to the right/ at the end of your board, and identify impediments to finishing tasks as you go upstream on the board.

Only two questions are really necessary in the actual standup if the team’s real process is reflected on the board:

 The team will be asked if the board accurately reflects what is being worked upon. The team will be asked if there is anything that is slowing down or stopping throughput. After these two questions are answered by the team, the stand-up is over.

(Karl Scotland via @dpjoyce.)

Update: a few more reading tips.

Extracting a Personal Kanban from an Overgrown ToDo List

Last week I looked at my overgrown todo list, or rather several lists, and preparation for a demo at work was coming up, and I have a long trip to prepare for… So I simply had to create a personal kanban on the cupboard behind me:   Collaboration on the demo preparation led to tasks on the board, and I took the most important and urgent tasks from my todo lists onto the board. I used a form of priority filter, with a generic todo column to the left, then a “soon”/today column, then the usual doing and done columns. It worked really well to let tasks float up and to the right in the todo columns, kind of like bubbles. I got an immediate impression of relative urgency (more to the right) and relative importance (upwards), making it very easy to decide what the next task should be when I finished a task.

Want to Try the Pomodoro Technique with Online Tools?

The Pomodoro Technique is a timeboxing method where you can use a timer to help you focus on only one thing for a short period of time, typically 25 minutes.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Il_pomodoro.jpgYou can also do this onscreen and online.  A simple, interesting experiment is the Tomato Timer.  

For me, pomodoro works better if I keep my goal visible, too.  You could do this by using the following web-based tools:

Simple recipe:

  1. Open NowDoThis in a tab in Chrome
  2. Open Online Stopwatch or Tomato Timer in a new tab
  3. click the Frame two pages extension button
  4. set the next to-do item to focus on
  5. set the timer
  6. go!

interrupted by an email?

or rather, do you let yourself be interrupted?

then it takes time to get back to what you were doing, and then more time to get back in the flow.

The October issue of Real Simple magazine quotes a Microsoft and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study that claims it takes 17 minutes “for a worker interrupted by e-mail to get back to what she was doing.”

Unclutterer: Recovering from an email interruption