San Francisco, California, USA
London, United Kingdom
Personal Kanban Training
Personal Kanban is a system for managing knowledge work from the individual, team, and organizational levels. The system provides a simple and effective means of visualizing work, so that all involved can obtain situational updates in real-time and better communicate their own personal efforts. The system also calms the chaos inherent in knowledge work by limiting the work-in-progress in the organization to maintainable levels.
A central tenet of Lean is that working in a more focused way allows us to complete higher quality work faster. However, individual human psychology and organizational psychology both show that we tend to take on more work than we or our teams can handle.
Personal Kanban teaches its users how to better prioritize, to select work, and to complete the work that has begun. This creates a coherent working environment that facilitates Kaizen by making work logical, choices apparent, and improvements part of the natural flow of the team.
We are very excited to be able to offer this course taught by the creators of Personal Kanban, Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, authors of "Personal Kanban - Mapping Work | Navigating Life" along with practioner Simon Bennett. Three world reknown speakers, facilitators and trainers. Over the two days these instructors will impart their wealth of knowledge and experience giving delegates an imersive experience with useful insights and actionable learnings.
Personal Kanban the book
Every course attendee will receive a copy of Jim & Tonianne's book "Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life" which 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.
Knowledge work is fraught with variation. Interruptions, unexpected emergencies, unanticipated complication all slow completion and disrupt plans. In order for an office of any type to achieve Kaizen, the people in the office must understand the nature of their work.
- What are the nature of my interruptions?
- What work can I really do on my own?
- Where are there opportunities for collaboration?
- Where am I experiencing bottlenecks?
- How can I solve those bottlenecks?
- Where does my work come from?
- Do I actually have a process?
- How many value streams am I a part of?
- Am I a bottleneck?
At the core, knowledge workers are overworked and distracted both in their individual work and in their team work. They compensate for this by making large plans and holding many status meetings. Both of these are often waste. There are ways to visualize their work and to create strategies for completion that foster a culture of continuous improvement.
Personal Kanban and the tools that accompany create a framework that enables Kaizen efforts by creating a workforce that is:
- informed about their own work;
- informed about the work of others;
- understands their personal and team capacity;
- able to communicate the nature of their work and the constraints of their capacity;
- visualize bottlenecks, constraints, and other work issues;
- elucidate those issues; and
- solve them.
Globally, thousands of companies and government agencies are using Personal Kanban to manage personal work and to facilitate their Lean journey. Direct feedback from Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services, from the University of Washington, and from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization have indicated that the low overhead nature of Personal Kanban proved to be both useful in managing work as well as creating the impetus for future Lean exploration and learning.
The Details of Personal Kanban
If Lean for knowledge work requires an understanding of the work being done and systems through which work is flowing, the practitioner needs to have an appreciation for more than simple Lean tools. We base the Personal Kanban training on W. Edward’s Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge. His system had four elements:
- Appreciation of systems
- Understanding of Knowledge
- Appreciation of Variation
- Understanding of Psychology
Personal Kanban training focuses on these four elements to give Lean both context and actionability.
Dr. Deming’s four points tell us that we are all human beings that react to unstable systems and learn from our observations to the extent that our psychology will allow us. Further, these four points interact constantly. Our personal psychology is impacted by the systems we are in. The things we learn are contingent on us understanding what changes are normal variation and what are anomalies. And so on.
While this sounds complicated (and it can be) Personal Kanban makes this actionable.
The general format of the lessons are lecture, Lean Coffee, and regroup. The format is set in 30 to 45 minute lectures with a like amount of Lean Coffee conversation. The learning theory here is that adult learners tend to work best in (rather Lean) small batches. In addition, they learn better when actively working with concepts they’ve learned.
Note that lectures become more participatory, and the list of topics covered more sparse, as the class moves along. This is due to the fact that after a few Lean Coffees, the Lectures become less instructor driven and more like a workshop. This migration is natural for the participant.
Therefore, we use the format:
Lecture: Instructor provides detailed information about the topic
Lean Coffee: Participants talk about the lecture topic in the context of their daily work. They immediately begin to incorporate the learning into their work, collaborate on implementation strategies, and discuss potential challenges to implementation. Further, the participants become used to discussing Lean both conceptually and as it would be applied - building the skills necessary later to lead other and start learning circles.
Regroup: The groups reconvene and share the results of their discussions
Day One: Understanding Knowledge Work
Lecture 1: The System of Profound Knowledge
We begin by introducing the participants to the system of profound knowledge and discussing what we mean by systems thinking, knowledge, variation, and psychology.
Lecture 2: Personal Kanban as a Personal Framework
We introduce Personal Kanban as a framework for understanding personal workloads. We will discuss using value stream mapping, work item identification, task sizing, work-in-process limits, dynamic collaboration, measuring variation, the psychology of work, and learning processes (including single and double loop learning).
Lecture 3: The Psychology of Work
We discuss in detail the impacts of overwork, context switching, task switching, multitasking and repetition on knowledge workers. We also discuss pertinent cognitive biases that impact the effectiveness of knowledge workers including fundamental attribution error, the planning fallacy, experimenters bias, reactance and distinction bias. This psychology is the underpinning for our application of Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge. It underscores that our teams are made up of people who react to the systems we create. If we build poorly designed systems we will get poor team performance.
Day Two: Managing Knowledge Work
Lecture 4: Visualizing Work
We will discuss in detail the benefits of visual systems for completion, quality, reporting, collaboration, and peace of mind. We will discuss value stream mapping, the identification of work item types, how to visualize non-conforming work, how to identify common tasks and work, and how to visualize multiple projects. We will discuss this by building a Personal Kanban board together with the participants that relates to work immediately recognizable to them.
Lecture 5: Limiting Work-in-Process
We will discuss the impacts of overwork and task switching and how to visualize those impacts in the visual system. We will discuss the Lean concept of flow and what it means to knowledge workers. We also discuss valuing completion with quality over starting tasks. These concepts will be discussed by actively using the Personal Kanban from the previous lecture.
Lecture 6: Implementing Personal Kanban
We will discuss the boards we’ve already created and the use of the Lean Coffee format to identify the next steps of implementing Personal Kanban. We will discuss what that means for individuals and what the impacts are on co-workers. We will likely revisit elements of collaboration and cognitive bias.
This workshop is preceded by the Continuous Improvemnt un-conference, Kaizen Camp on Monday 20th & Tuesday 21st May
When & Where
LASTing Benefits Pty Ltd
LASTing Benefits provides Lean, Agile & Systems Thinking consulting. Contact us for in-house training, bespoke training, executive coaching & mentoring and whole team Agile and Lean adoption consulting.