- Updated 24, Sept, 2013
When I was working as a full time employee, my days were both busy and highly structured. I used the regular array of task/time management tools, anchored by Microsoft Outlook email and calendars, (Outlook and Exchange were “standard issue” where I worked). For our projects we used Scrum, and Atlassian Jira, especially “Jira Agile” and the RapidBoards. I use Things for my To-Do lists (Which I still think is a great tool, BTW). While my colleagues thought I was highly organized and productive, I generally felt overwhelmed and stressed, drowning in the “busy-ness” of meetings and to-do lists, and that I could have been getting a lot more value for my time spent. I’m sure you know the feeling.
Now that I’m on my own, my time is much less structured… A lot of my time goes into professional and business development and networking. I’m naturally inquisitive, and I love to learn. If I am not careful, the notes, ideas, and half-read books, pile up. In KanBan terms I let my Work In Progress (WIP) get way too high.
So I decided to “practice what I preach”, and adopt Personal KanBan. While I have many years experience with Scrum and various forms of incremental and iterative development, my experience with KanBan is very limited, so its also an opportunity to learn.
I got a copy of the Personal KanBan Book by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry. Its an excellent introduction to KanBan and Personal KanBan. Its a fast, fun read, very engaging, with clear explanations of why so much of our traditional thinking about time, task, and project management for any kind of knowledge work is deeply flawed.
Then I set up my initial Personal KanBan Board. I share a small home office with my wife, who flatly refused to have a big white-board cluttering up the space, so I went with KanBan Flow, an one-line Board. Its working great for me… So far it has all the features I need. I’m using the free version, but I plan to upgrade to the $5/month premium version, just to support them. I think the most popular tool is Trello. I’ve tried Trello and like it a lot. The free version has more features than KanbanFlow, and Trello is stronger on the social/multi-person side. However there are some features in KanbanFlow, like full coloring of the cards, that I prefer over Trello. But the two products are quite similar, and you should try both before you make a decision. KanBan Tool also looks good, and has a free version, but I have not tried it.
Read on for more details….