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Pomodora Relationship

I have a dirty little secret.  I have an on-again off-again love affair with the Pomodoro technique.  Though I deal with a wicked case of ADD, I seem to keep it in check, thanks in part to my Personal Kanban.  The other method I use, though I admit not as commonly, is a pomodoro timer.  When things get really bad, I break out the timer.  And ya know, things get back on track!  You’d think I would learn.

If you find yourself reading this blog, you’ll find that I’m a proponent of  using simple techniques to get things done.  If you’re looking for me to do a deep dive on policy, process, and procedure, you’re in the wrong place.

So, how do I get some of my work done?  [1] I limit my work in progress (WIP) and [2] I limit my time (timebox). When I do both, I tend to stay focused and deliver more. The pomodoro technique, like other techniques I like, is pretty darned simple.

So, let’s talk about my Piggy Pomodoro!

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, annotate the task you were working on
  4. Take a short break (I take 5 minutes)
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break (I take 10 minutes)

As part of this process, I’m moving tasks on my Kanban from Backlog to Work in Progress.  If I take a break, I move it to Blocked.  When I return, I move it back to Work in Progress.  This allows me to visualize what I’m working on and know what I was working on before my break.

Have a Kanban or Pomodoro story?  I would love to hear it.

Why do I use a Piggy, you ask?  Because tomatoes give me gas and Chickens would just be wrong.

Image:  Amazon

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of Enterprise Engagements at LeadingAgile. I'm super focused on results. But I also take the hand waving out of organizational transformations. I come from a traditional PM background but I don't give points for stuff done behind the scenes. The only thing that counts is what you get done and delivered. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon)

6 Responses to “Pomodora Relationship”

  1. December 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Dude! I do the same thing. Gotta love personal kanban systems.

    • Anonymous
      December 8, 2010 at 8:29 pm

      Yep, it really helps me focus and keep moving forward. That and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

  2. Anonymous
    December 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I’m with you on the #pomodoro. It’s insanely hard to keep up though isn’t it. It requires REAL discipline and REAL focus. A whole other level beyond this Kanban and Scrum childspaly.

    • Anonymous
      December 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

      Craig, thanks for the comment. It made me take pause for a second and think. I use the pomodoro on a personal level. I then roll it up to work within a management framework that I may (or may not) be in control of [Agile, Waterfall,…]. To each his (or her) own, I would say. When I use it, it works and it works really well. But, yes, it requires REAL discipline and REAL focus. I think it’s like any GTD approach. As long as you do it consistently, you get consistent results. Stop doing it and you get diddly. There is no autopilot.

  3. Francisco Saez
    December 9, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I’ve always worked following a sort of Pomodoro technique, though I didn’t knew it had that name. In my case, the difference is that I don’t use a timer and there’s no fixed time. I take a short break every 30-60 minutes.

    Good post, Derek.

    • Anonymous
      December 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm

      Don’t you love it when you do something that works and then find out someone has a name for it? Seriously, that happened me several years ago. I was basically doing Agile Scrum but without the names. Later, it was Kanban. Maybe I just need to read more.

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