A Lean Journey: Kanban for Personal Management

Kanban for Personal Management

About a month ago I came across a great concept called the Personal Kanban that I wanted to share.  Taiichi Ohno created the first kanban to communicate with workers how much work needed to get done and how much got done.  Kanban is a Japanese term meaning “sign” or “signboard”.  A kanban does three main things:

1. Shows us the work we have in progress
2. Shows us all the work we haven’t gotten to yet
3. Shows us how efficiently we work

Personal Kanban is a personal productivity tool based on these principles to create a simple way to visualize and control your work. There are only two real rules with Personal Kanban:

1. Visualize your work 
2. Limit your work-in-progress

I think pretty much anyone can use this method for controlling your workflow. I follow this method, and have done it both in physical notes on the wall and also using www.tasksee.com to do it. Either way, it is simple to understand what all you have on the table but also how much progress you are making. It generally forces you to break things down into bite-sized pieces.

Our top 10 posts of 2009 – Venture Hacks

I really wanted to be a cool cat and make a list of the most popular outgoing links for 2009 —a top 10 list of other people’s posts. But it wasn’t meant to be — we don’t have the Javascript installed to track those clicks.

And so, we present our 10 most popular posts of 2009:

  1. How IMVU learned its way to $10M a year. A talk by Eric Ries.
  2. What is the minimum viable product? An interview with Eric Ries.
  3. The Startup MBA. Links to the best startup blogs.
  4. My visit to American Apparel. How American Apparel gets lean.
  5. How to pick a co-founder. Also see the accompanying interview.
  6. Sell it before you build it. Fliggo’s minimum viable product in action.
  7. We don’t pay you to work here. A review of the book Hidden Value — you can find it in our bookstore.
  8. Customer Development: How to develop your customers like you develop your product. Videos and slides from Steve Blank, king of customer development.
  9. It’s very easy to underprice your product. A short talk by Steve Blank.
  10. How to bring a product to market. A very rare interview with Sean Ellis.

Use this list to catch up on great posts you missed.

When we started Venture Hacks in 2007, we were all about hacking term sheets. In 2008, we continued to write about raising money and expanded to general startup advice — for example, see our posts on job offers. Looking at the top 10 list above, 2009 was clearly the year of customer development. It was also the year of monetization, as we created more free and paid products — here’s a list of them.

What’s coming in 2010? Wait and see…

This is a very good list of posts, mostly linked to Lean Customer Development and similar. My favorite is the Startup MBA link, as that has a list of many good blogs.

We’re not Japanese and we don’t build cars | Agile Zone

In 1979 a group
of western dignitaries visited Japan to learn more about the manufacturing
models that had been applied to great success. Konosuke Matsushita, the
president of Matsushita Corporation (Panasonic, Legend, Technics etc.), opened
his talk with the famous statement….

“We are going to
win and the industrial west is going to lose: there’s nothing much you can do
about it, because the reasons for your failure are within yourselves. Your
firms are built on the Taylor model; even worse, so are your heads. For you,
the essence of management is getting the ideas out of the heads of the bosses
and into the hands of labour. We are beyond the Taylor model.”.

“It’s not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” – Deming

This is a good article that summarizes Lean and IT and how it fits into a business as a whole. Now, I post up a lot of stuff that is Lean Customer Development, which should not be confused with pure Lean, but more of an application of it.

Richard Durnall is the writer of this article, he has an excellent (perhaps not so active) blog about this area http://www.richarddurnall.com/ if you are interested in learning more.