Get More Done Planning With Kanban!
This post may contain affiliate links, so if you click on them I may get a small commission. But don’t worry, I don’t promote anything I haven’t tried and 100% support!
Ya’ll! You have no idea how freaking excited I am to write this post! Why you ask??? Because we are gonna talk about kanban! One of my favorite things in the whole wide world!!! (It doesn’t take much guys, #nerdlife). Not only is kanban amazeballs for productivity and planning, but it is so simple a monkey could do it. Seriously. Even if you have zero experience with planning, let me tell you how you can get more done planning with kanban!
You’re Gonna Want a Kanban TODAY
Ok. Reason number one kanbans are the freakin’ 💣is it originated in Japan! And I happen to know firsthand that Japan is awesome! The snow hasn’t been all we could have hoped for this season, but that’s neither here nor there…
But for real….kanban, translated loosely, is Japanese for “billboard” or “signboard” and it’s a visual workflow management system.
You’re probably already familiar with it in it’s modified forms as many of our project management tools today allow you to mimic the kanban method, like Trello, Asana, Airtable, etc. [a]
But originally, the kanban method was developed in the 1940s by Toyota for its manufacturing process in response to the need for a more just in time system in order to minimize waste and optimize efficiency.
At its core, the intent of the kanban methodology is to match the amount of work in progress (WIP) to the team’s capacity.
Guys, how awesome would it be to NEVER have too many things in the queue at one time!?
Fun Fact! Since We Live in Japan…
The kanban method is evident all over Japan! The Tokyo Imperial Palace Gardens uses the kanban system to limit the flow of visitors! Each visitor receives a plastic card at the entrance which must be returned when they exit. The total number of available cards is limited to a reasonable amount so only a certain number of visitors can stroll through the palace in a given time. New visitors must wait in line until another card is available. Pretty cool, right!?
Ready to Kanban Your Little Heart Out Yet?
Of course, you are! Let’s do the damn thing!
The beauty of kanban is its simplicity. The basic building blocks of a kanban are:
Now is the time to decide how you want to set your kanban up. You can do this in a planner, on a whiteboard, with sticky notes, with software like Trello…
Just to get you started…here we have a very basic Trello set-up.
I would tooooootally walk you through how to set that up BUT…it’s so popular that it’s a standard template that Trello gives you when you set up a board, sooooo yeah. We’ll save the tutorial for something a little more complicated. And I will be doing a full Trello review and walk-through in the future.
No for real…as soon as you sign up and login it’s the first board that pops up. You can catch a full review and tutorial of Trello in a future post!
Here’s another board from another platform I am really digging right now called Airtable.
I highly recommend it if you need a more robust type system. Sure it does some simple stuff too, but this little puppy is packed full of powerful tools. So if you’re a total #projectmanagement geek like me and don’t mind a bit of a learning curve, it could be a great tool for you. Check them out HERE.
Ya’ll…I have a problem. Yes, I am using multiple platforms right now to manage my life, particularly my blog. I would like to say that it’s all in the name of research for my readers, but that would only be 75% true.
I am actually so impressed with Airtable that I am considering shelling over the minimal monthly fee to keep using it after my trial…but more on that in a later post.
Back to kanbaning!!! (I don’t think that’s a thing…now it’s a thing)
Alrighty, now that you’ve seen what it looks like, let’s talk a little bit about what all you can do with this bad boy. I’m going to walk you through my favorite kanban workflow.
Here’s a sample of what my workflow looks like, then we’ll go through the steps.
These are the workflow stages I like to use for work, but you can use any combination that works for you!
My blog workflow is very different and looks like this:
Ready for Edit
Graphics and Links
Done Except Content Upgrade
Ready for WordPress
Social Media Scheduled
Ok, let’s get to it.
Anytime you get a great idea, jot it on a sticky note and slap it on here. Because…why not!? You may never end up using it, but it’s better than scratching your head later because you think you remember having a great idea but can’t for the life of you remember what it was.
Not all of your Ideas will make it to the To-Dos column, but why not have one just in case?
I find myself thinking up random ideas all the time and I like to have a central place to store them. This way if I ever decide they can be actionable it’s easy to just slide them over to the To-Do column.
Pretty self-explanatory here but this is where everything you have to do goes.
This gives you an overall snapshot of what is in your queue to be done. The main thing here is to note which ones have external due dates as those will need to be prioritized differently than those that don’t.
Guys, this is where the magic of kanban happens. This bad boy right here is the glorious, mother of all task management, save you from doing too many things at one-time master known as “Work in Process”.
All you have to do is know and identify your limits. Assign a Doing or (WIP) limit and stick to it.
That is the secret to kanban!
You can only move tasks over to the Doing column up to your limit.
Do ya’ll understand how magical this is!?
The kanban board literally tells you what to work on!
As long as you have a good strategy for prioritizing (in other words, how you choose what gets moved over…you can find more on that here and thank me later) this system is FAIL PROOF!
People! You 👏need 👏kanban!👏
Whew…annnd we’re breathing.
Now that you’ve done #allthethings it’s time to put it to the test or run it through a review stage.
Maybe it’s a blog post that’s been written, edited, and transferred to WordPress and now needs to be tested before publishing.
Or maybe it’s a new app your software company has developed and it’s in beta testing.
When it’s in that stage, slide that pretty little card on over to this column and let it hang out here until you’re satisfied it’s good to go.
Wham bam thank you ma’am, and that’s all folks!
You ran that sucker all the way through the kanban board and that sticky notes ready for the trash can!
Or if you’re a complete and total geek like me you could get a plain white notebook and use it to store those priceless little gems as a way to remember what I’ve been doing with my life. Er, I mean as a reflection journal.
So why bother having a done column if it’s…well…done?
I mean, I never really thought about it to be honest…but I do a weekly refresh of my board.
So everything that I complete during that week gets moved to the Done column and stays on the board until the end of the week and then it gets moved to the reflection journal.
What? You thought I was kidding about that? I got proof.
So, are you convinced yet!? Whose jumpin’ on the kanbanwagon???
Come on….you know that was a little funny…
Much love and till next time,