I sometimes have difficulty keeping up with all the work in my queue.  I know, shocking, right?  I love, LOVE using stickies and whiteboards.  In my home office, I must have 1000s of stickies everywhere and various other visual cues that help me think and do.

However, the fact is, I am only home some of the time.  It seems less and less as of late… but that’s a topic for a different rant.  Also, I want to sometimes show other folks what I am working on so that we can work together more effectively.


I have been working more and more with Lean Kit Kanban to manage my own personal workflow.  Right now, I am just using it for SolutionsIQ work that I do.  There’s plenty of that without weaving-in the personal aspect of my life.  At some point, I might implement Class of Service to indicate personal vs. SIQ vs. other things like church related stuff and things I need to do for the kids’ sports, etc.

Take a look at my twist on the traditional Kanban board:


The Backlog is just a nebulous conglomeration of stuff that someone wants me to work on or that I might work on at some point, maybe this year, maybe not.  It’s on the distant horizon.  

3 Months is stuff that is probably happening within the next three months.  Maybe exact dates are set; maybe not.  Again, more stuff that people want me to work on but maybe not so granular.

1 Month is starting to have fairly fixed dates and times.  This is the window I use to plan travel.  I may book something that is absolutely fixed beyond a month but I definitely want to know where I am going at least a month in advance so that I can have an appropriate work/life balance.

Next Week is stuff that is set for next week.  It helps me keep it on the back burner in my brain, thinking about it in passing.  Starting to gather ideas, get into character, etc.

This Week has things that I am immediately focused on.  There may be several different items I need to work on or there may be a week-long engagement.  I am mostly looking here throughout the day.

In Progress as you might have guessed is what I am currently working on at this very moment.  I call the thing I am doing presently “Active”.  Occasionally, I might start something and then find that I can’t complete it because I am waiting for someone else.  So, I will move that to “On Hold” until I can continue on with it.

The Done column helps me see that things are put to rest.  If I work on something and make it “Done” I consider it “Completed”.  If something is “Done” because we abandoned it or it was killed, etc. I put it in “Killed”… it might rise from the dead, you never know.

Finally, the RFN row is for stuff that needs to be expedited.  (You know, it needs to be done “right freakin’ now!!”)

Once a week, I move everything in “Done” to the “Archive”.

Lean Kit has portfolio level features which I am sort of looking at.  You can identify a template based on a custom board.  So, I could share my fabulous board with colleagues.  

We could also identify a larger pipeline which has bigger initiatives and ties to items on our individual boards.  Doing so would allow Sales and our COO to track things at more of an overall portfolio level.  I am not sure I would want to push that because I don’t want anyone to dictate the usage of this tool.  I also don’t want to go down the path of “measuring performance” or any of that nonsense.

One feature I do find completely AWESOME is Lean Kit’s iPhone app.  It works very well, IMHO.  I am able to manipulate my board nicely from my iPhone and can also create and edit cards, etc.

All in all, I think it’s a great solution for managing your personal workflow or as I say “Surfing the Agile pipeline, brah!”


Which is totally righteous, of course…