First Post!

I’m going to start off with a little something I use at work to keep track of the requests my team and I are working on.

Based on the ‘Kanban’ priciples, I use one of my cubicle windows as a board with sticky notes to  easily represent what is going on with my team. Below is a snapshot of my board.

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The way I have it set up, There is color-coding for the different departments we support. Working from Right-to-Left (I only do this because of the location of the wall, i’d rather go left to right):

  • Ideas: Thoughts to use later but don’t have time at the moment. Sometimes a random thought will be of benefit to someone else.
  • To-Do: Requests that will need to be done. Typically, they’re in the To-Do until the priority moves or resources become available.
  • In Progress: What the team is working on “Right Now”. I try to group by priority/assigned/department depending on how things are moving.
  • Testing: Anything that is out of our hands and needs to be approved to be moved to production or back into the in progress queue.
  • Complete: The request is done! It’s nice to see progress with everything going on.

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How the note is laid out:

  • The upper left highlights the Department the request is for.
  • The upper right displays the request number. I use this number to reference any documentation written up as well as a secondary list of requests to the team.
  • The center boasts a short but meaningful title so I can quickly recall what it is about.
  • The bottom right is usually the initials of the person assigned to the request.

For as small as my team is and the relatively low complexity of the requests we get, I’ve found this method to work really well. It has evolved and will continue to do so as time goes on. I personally prefer it to the endless spreadsheet solutions that I’ve encountered from others around me, which brings up an interesting benefit. Since this is not the norm and highly visible, it gets people talking and in some cases inspires others to get more organized. This is nice, since it’s a part of my job to improve processes!

Just search the web for Kanban and see how it works.

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3 thoughts on “First Post!

  1. Jason Wing says:

    How is this ‘Kanban’ methodology applied in your work environment in comparison to larger Industrial Manufacturing or retail ? Would you use this ‘Kanban’ approach in VA/VE ? Is this the best practice dealing within a minimal team? My past experiences, the business has to buy into Project Charters,but you seem to have this figured out and does help visualize what is at task.

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    • I’m by no means a Kanban expert, but I think the principles can be scale-able. It seems to work really well for scenarios where projects can be broken down into individual work pieces and those pieces than are visually moving from one stage to another. Per the methodology, it also helps limit what is “In Progress” by setting limits and then adjusting by the changing priorities.

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      • Jason Wing says:

        Good use of the process, ‘Kanban’ has been used in industrial manufacturing longer than I have been alive. Birthed by Toyota as the pilot enterprise manufacturing, ‘Kanban’ is used more in an ‘MRP’ enviroment;letting buyer/planners know the point in which they reorder materials for manufacturing. There are multiple layers in which triggers ‘Kanban’, while this keeps supply available for manufacturing. Kaizen Cadence ensures schedule adherence is met per demand. This will be met knowing you will fulfill the consumer needs. If applied into an minimal PM approach will keep visablity, in larger manufacturing, the said manufacture will feel results through monthly ordering. Visablity to the business is key on either scale, Kanban is only one approach.

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