“When do I get tickets out of my DONE column?”
People often allow their DONE column to get so full of work that it becomes useless – a huge pile of completed work. There are so many tickets in there, you no longer know what happened.
If we’d like to encourage ourselves to empty the board weekly and get some interesting information at the same time, we can create a DONE column that tracks what we do daily. On Fridays or Monday morning, we review and empty our DONE. Now we have set up a system … last week is over and we’d need to clear space for the new week.
We can take a look at the week, clearly see what we did, see what days were satisfying and what were not, and get an idea of what days were interrupted. We can do a “retrospective” on the work and evaluate where we’d like to improve what we’re doing. We can also plan for the upcoming week.
We can also see how much work we tend to do. This is very powerful. Looking over the board above, we see that we reliably complete about three or four tickets a day. This helps us set our expectations for what we can promise others. We know that a promise, any promise, that we make takes up about a third of our capacity for that day.
Understanding that promises have a cost greatly helps us limit our Work-in-Process (WIP). We can see our daily output and limit what we are working on accordingly. It’s hard to say no to work. We tend to like what we do and the people we work with. Understanding how much we actually complete helps us say “No” to too much work.
“I’d love to help you, but I’m working on these other tasks right now. Can I help later after I finish a few of them?”
Your throughput (the number of tickets you do) may be 6, 8, 12, or more tickets a day – so don’t get hung up on the number in this example. The goal here is to find out what your number is, so you can choose work more effectively and not overload or over-promise.
When you over-promise, you under-deliver.
So, take a look at what you’re doing each day, review at the end of the week, and set realistic expectations for yourself and others.
This is the second post in the Personal Kanban Tips Series. You can read the previous post – Done Column: How Does Your Work Make You Feel here.