by Jim Benson & Tonianne DeMaria Barry
DO THE RIGHT THINGS
Machines need to be productive.
People need to be effective.
Productivity books focus on doing more, Jim and Tonianne want you to focus on doing better. Personal Kanban is about choosing the right work at the right time. Recognizing why we do the things we do. Understanding the impact of our actions. Creating value – not just product. For ourselves, our families, our friends, our co-workers. For our legacy.
Personal Kanban asks only that we visualize our work and limit our work-in-progress.
Visualizing work allows us to transform our conceptual and threatening workload into an actionable, context-sensitive flow. (We see what we are doing.)
Limiting our work-in-progress helps us complete what we start and understand the value of our choices. (We cannot do more work than we can handle – choose work wisely!)
Combined, these two simple acts encourage us to improve the way we work and the way we make choices to balance our personal, professional, and social lives. Neither a prescription nor a plan, Personal Kanban provides a light, actionable, achievable framework for understanding our work and its context. This book describes why students, parents, business leaders, major corporations, and world governments all see immediate results with Personal Kanban.
Following World War II, U.S. automakers focused on increasing productivity to meet a seemingly insatiable domestic demand. Meanwhile in Japan, faced with a decimated economy and limited resources, Toyota discovered their success hinged not on increasing productivity, but effectiveness. To this end, the nascent auto manufacturer launched a fairly radical campaign: to create a culture of continuous improvement, where the workforce had clarity of purpose and the ability to affect change. This innovative way of thinking (later called “Lean”) transformed this small island nation into a world-class producer of recognizably high quality automobiles. Toyota’s reputation for excellence rested on destroying the myths of productivity and control, replacing them with effectiveness and flow.
The secret to their success can be the secret to yours.
Personal Kanban borrows from several Lean principles and practices. With just two simple acts – visualizing work and limiting work in progress – Personal Kanban gives us clarity over our work and our goals, and the unprecedented ability to deal with distractions, manage expectations, make better decisions, and ultimately find a healthy balance between our professional, personal, and social lives.
It is a simple, elegant mechanism that helps us manage ourselves, but also lets us share our work, our goals, and our epiphanies with others. It is a visual launch pad to personal effectiveness, spontaneous collaboration, and an integrated life.
Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life discusses not only the mechanics of Personal Kanban but also how concepts like the flow of work and systems of continuous improvement are easily incorporated into how we live.
Praise for Personal Kanban:
Personal Kanban is a must read for knowledge workers and their leaders who recognize that old productivity models don’t apply to knowledge work and seek a more realistic and centered approach. The ideas are deceptively simple but in that simplicity is their strength. As soon as I finished reading it, I started drawing out the landscape of my projects and felt much the better for it.
~ Carmen Medina, Deputy of Intelligence (Retired), Central Intelligence Agency
Personal productivity systems usually fail in practice because of complexity and they don’t reflect the collaborative nature of real work. Personal Kanban provides the simplest structure that could possibly work and lets you achieve a state of flow.
~ Ross Mayfield, CEO SocialText
Personal Kanban shows you just how revolutionary the technique is, and is a must read for student to senior citizen who wants support to do fantastic work. Personal Kanban is simplistic and will become second nature; not only does it change with you and your life, it will change your life.
~ Patty Beidleman, Pre-school Teacher, Non-Profit Organizer, Caregiver and Mother