Use technology to increase--not decrease--personal effectiveness
Interested in learning more about using the online Kanban method for organizing your personal and business life?
Nashville Tech Breakfast
Kim, award-winning author and thought-leader in the IT field, has spent 14 years studying high-performing IT organizations and the positive effects of DevOps, a software development method that stresses communication, collaboration and integration. He is the author of The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win and The Visible Ops Handbook. In 2007 Kim was named to ComputerWorld’s “40 Innovative IT People Under the Age of 40” list.
Yes, my title is correct: increase your personal effectiveness. In this era of tweets, instant messages, emails, iPhones and iPads, many people suspect their personal effectiveness is decreasing. No one just works out anymore. Gym rats are commonly seen reading books or talking on their phones. Couples are seen sitting at romantic restaurants checking their email. We all now live in a multitasking world.
And multitasking has a bad reputation. Research reported in the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review and the New York Times blames multitasking for increased mistakes and loss of short-term memory. Other research states that generating “breakthrough” ideas on the job or in your personal life requires slack time or detachment from this digital noise.
Nashville based software developer LeanKit has implemented a tool that promises to improve productivity and effectiveness in personal or business life. LeanKit Kanban is an online version of the long-used Japanese Kanban (“card”) technique. The Kanban technique was originally used by Japanese automakers such as Nissan and Toyota to implement Just in Time manufacturing and improve automobile quality.
The method uses visual cards to represent each task you may have. The cards are sorted into columns, such as “ready,” “doing “and “done,” depending on where in your workflow they are located. When you create a new task, you put its card in the appropriate column, typically “ready” to start with. When you are working on the task, you move the corresponding card to the “doing” column and when it is “done” you move it to that column.
There are great benefits to visually managing your work and personal life this way. You focus on work that benefits you, your job organization and your family. Other items are kept in the background. It’s great fun to move items to the “Done” column. The Kanban approach also allows you to set limits on your work in progress. We all tend to stack up too many tasks with the consequence of not finishing the things that are really important to us. Overall, this approach will help you attain your goals faster and reduce the amount of time you spend on unrewarding tasks.
But neither the Kanban method nor a software tool like LeanKit provides a magic bullet for a more productive work life or personal life. You will have to actively manage your daily and weekly activities. You will need to decide what is important to you and your family and work environment. You will have to take the first steps, including thought and meditation, away from email and cell phones. That is not a bad thing in itself.