Ready –> Doing –> Done
Life presents us with opportunities, and so we’ve no choice but to take on concurrent projects. Unfortunately they don’t always conform to that simple Ready –> Doing –> Done value stream.
Last month I was in San Francisco giving lectures on Personal Kanban at Stanford and Keller. My host for the trip was my good friend Jessica. Jessica is a single mom. She has two jobs on opposite ends of the Bay. She is studying for her financial advisor certification. She is training for a triathlon.
Jessica has a lot to keep track of.
As a mathematician and an expert in intangible assets, it was not a big leap for Jessica to recognize: (1) she had so much on her plate that busting her WIP limit was guaranteed, and (2) making money was only one asset out of many she had to devote time to.
So on a sunny Sunday morning at a coffee shop, the simple question “Do you want to talk a little about your Personal Kanban” quickly turned into a 2.5 hour conversation. We discussed what she valued, what her goals were.
It soon became clear that Jessica is not simply goal-oriented, she’s a goal-collector. So we needed to get that under control. Goals are awesome, but when they start generating more tasks than we can handle – they need to be tamed.
We agreed she needed more than a WIP Limit – she needed a FIP limit. Future In Progress. She had the triathlon, the certification, a book she wanted to write, and more. It made sense to pick two and (no pun intended) run with them. The triathlon enforced health and working out, so we couldn’t say no to that. The certification was immediately necessary for her job and short-term. So that too was obvious. The others, went into the FIP queue.
Jessica now had a FIP limit of two.