Keywords: Learning, Process, kanban, flow, personal, WIP, Personal_Agility, process improvement
With a world of constant distraction, it feels like it’s getting harder and harder to get stuff done, regardless if it’s on a personal or organizational level. At some point, we’ve been sold the lie that multitasking is great and maximum utilization is even better. If we all drank the Kool-Aid, why are we doing more and getting less done? If there were a relatively simple way for you to get more stuff done, wouldn’t you want to know what it was? If there were a way for you to measure and improve your processes over time, wouldn’t you want to know how to do that as well? When getting stuff done is a primary measure for success, we need to introduce people to concepts that are simple but can be leveraged at scale.
In this session, participants will be introduced to the principles of Lean and the application of Kanban to visualize their personal work, limit distraction and waste, and get stuff done. I’ll cover the core concepts outlined in Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry’s book, Personal Kanban, to get you started. I’ll talk about how Kanban can be applied to everyday work and why you should do it.
Through my years of struggling with ADD/ADHD and my years of management, leadership, and coaching, I have learned and applied Personal Kanban techniques in my everyday life and Lean Kanban at both government and private organizations. This is your opportunity to experience what I am like after a few cups of coffee and for you to learn a few simple strategies that you can start using before you even leave Agile 2014. This workshop can help you map your work and navigate your life.
Information for Review Team:
My first blog post about my Personal Kanban story happened in August of 2009.
Since that time, I have evangelized the use of Personal Kanban for people who had tried everything from To-Do lists to Franklin Covey Planners to GTD, with little or no success. It gives me a profound amount of joy sharing this information to people ranging from parents who struggle to get their kids to bed to CEOs trying to make sense of a portfolio backlog. This workshop will begin with me telling me story and my challenges of staying focused and getting stuff done. It will conclude with people realizing how easy it is to grasp the basic concepts behind Personal Kanban, benefit from them, and then tell others.
Each table will have 3 sheets of 25 x 30″ easel pad paper with pre-designed Kanban boards, a stack of index cards with different (effort) activities listed and predetermined values. (Writing what teams will be asked to do would spoil the surprise but I promise we’ll have some fun) I will explain to everyone how a Personal Kanban works. Each 10-minute practice session is designed to bring to light the daily struggles we may have in completing our work. After each session I will ask how the room would approach their work differently. The expectation is that more work will get done during practice session two and then even more during practice session three, based on what the attendees will learn in the previous sessions and improving their processes.
• Introduction and Overview [10 minutes]
• Core Concepts [10 minutes] [20 minutes elapsed] What is the history of Kanban? What’s the difference between Kanban and Personal Kanban, what makes up a Kanban board, how do we design a Personal Kanban board, what is WIP, what is flow?
• Practice [10 minutes] [30 minutes elapsed] Round 1 / Our first board
• Retrospective [5 minutes] [35 minutes elapsed] What worked and what didn’t?
• Practice [10 minutes] [45 minutes elapsed] Round 2 / Our second board design
• Retrospective [5 minutes] [50 minutes elapsed] What worked and what didn’t?
• Practice [10 minutes] [60 minutes elapsed] Round 3 / Our third board design
• Retrospective [5 minutes] [65 minutes elapsed] What worked and what didn’t?
• Conclusion and Questions [10 minutes] [75 minutes elapsed] What did you learn? What were you surprised by? What other questions do you have?
• I have been successfully leveraging Kanban on an organizational level since 2008 and evangelizing Personal Kanban since August 2009.
• Jim and Tonniane’s book, which provides the basis of this session, is widely available. Here is a slide deck on the basics of Personal Kanban: http://www.slideshare.net/ourfounder/personal-kanban-101
Understand key definitions and terms of Lean and Kanban
Understand how to apply Kanban to your personal and professional life
Understand how you can measure and improve your processes
I have been presenting since 2011, when I appeared at the Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference. I’ve since been a guest at the Work Management Summit in 2011, and then presented at AgileDC in 2011, and 5 Project Management Institute events, including the Project Management Symposium 2012 (Washington DC), PMI Global Congress 2012, PMI Puerto Rico Simposio Anual 2012, Project Management Symposium 2013 (Washington DC), and most recently PMI SoMD Chapter 2013.
So, what is Zombie PM? Does this sound like someone you know?
They do exactly what they are told without challenging anything
They don’t come up with original ideas
They don’t suggest ways to improve the project management processes
They don’t follow up on actions – they simply assume they will get done
They update and issue the plan in a format that most of the team can’t read or understand
They work on projects that deliver no business value
They go through the motions of being a project manager but without any critical thinking applied
To answer Elizabeth’s question, yes, I see these zombies every day.
These zombies contribute to what is defined as the Iron Law of Bureaucracy. It states, in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. One example in project management, would be PMs who work hard and look for ways to deliver value to the customer, versus PMs who work to protect any defined process (including those with no value). The Iron Law states that in ALL cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.
These zombies don’t eat brains, they eat time and resources in the name of project management! So, sooner or later, zombies will take over your project. Be afraid. Be very afraid!
As I was reading tweets over the weekend, I discovered an awesome video by Hamid Shojaee, Founder and CEO of Axosoft. It’s an 8 minute introduction video on Scrum. With background music sounding a bit like Block Rockin’ Beats by The Chemical Brothers, this video is to the point and completely awesome.
I think this type of video is necessary to show to stakeholders, who have not had an introduction to Agile or Scrum. In this ADD world we live in, I think we need to deliver some information in the same way we would deliver features in a Sprint. Go for the items of highest value and deliver them in a short period of time. Additionally, deliver the information is a way that it can stand on its own.
I remember getting 50 government people in a room with an experienced Scrum Trainer, to introduce them to Scrum. After several hours, some still didn’t grasp the basics. If they were forced to watch this video in the first 8 minutes of the training, I bet the day would have gone a lot differently.
While you’re probably aware that people with ADD/ADHD have trouble focusing on tasks that aren’t interesting to them, you may not know that there’s another side: a tendency to become absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding. This paradoxical symptom is called hyperfocus. So writes HelpGuide.org
I’ve spent my whole life with all of the symptoms but never wanted to admit actually having ADD/ADHD. Perhaps it was out of concern someone would label me and force me to take some drug that would change me. Though it doesn’t help that I drink copious amounts of black coffee, for the most part, I think I’ve fared pretty well. I think back to my childhood, remembering every report card included a comment from the teacher.
Derek has a hard time concentrating and talks too much.
Hyperfocus is actually a coping mechanism for distraction—a way of tuning out the crap and chaos. It can be so strong that I become oblivious to everything going on around me. I still think hyperfocus is an invaluable asset. How do you think I can sleep for 5 hours a night and get so much accomplished? From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep, I have a thousand ideas in my head. I scramble to keep up with them, writing them down or logging voice-notes. I still really don’t like all of the negative connotations associated with ADD/ADHD. Sure, I have a wicked temper, I’m impulsive, and I’m very forgetful. But, I don’t think the last is an issue thanks to Evernote. As for the first two, if you cross me, I will write you off and being impulsive just means I seize on opportunities. Perhaps this is why I’m doing well on my current engagement. I am asked to focus my attention on specific issues or opportunities and advise. But seriously, you think of a successful project manager or entrepreneur and you tell me they don’t have ADD/ADHD.