Pipeline Accelerator Blog

Managing your constraint – Part II – Automation

In Part I, you saw how Personal Kanban can be applied to managing your personal constraint – the 10,080 minutes you have available each and every week. This second installment will share some free web based tools so you can automate your Kanban and take it with you.

I’ve tried the free web-based versions of two tools, Kanbanery and Agile Zen.  Agile Zen is free as a single user tool, but also available for multi-user environments.  Kanbanery is free while in beta.  Both are intuitive and easy to use, but I recently moved over to Agile Zen because it has a deadline function and print out of the tasks. Kanbanery is in beta and will probably add those functions over time.

Agile Zen comes configured  with five columns – Backlog, Ready, Working, Complete,  and Archive.  Backlog and Archive are not part of the main board, so they sit at the edges and can be expanded as needed.   Here’s my suggestion for reconfiguring it. Just click on the process tab to edit the column headings.  There you can rename Backlog to Idea Bucket and add a new Backlog column on the main board. I also suggest modifying the board to delete ready and add columns for This week, Today and Recurring.  The setup looks like this:

Agile Zen Kanban

Then all you have to do is click on Add on the Zen menu bar to begin creating tasks (Agile Zen calls them stories). You name the task, select a color to match your categories (Mine are Marketing, Selling, Client Work, Writing, Infrastructure,  Learning, Household, and Personal) and then click to either drop it in the Idea Bucket or hang it on the board.  If you hang it on the board it always starts in the first column – the one I named Backlog.

To return to your board, Simply click Board , and then you can begin managing your tasks using drag and drop to move them through the process.  Here’s what mine looks like below.  You can click on it to see a bigger version:

my personal kanban

As a web application, any changes you make take effect immediately, and you can also access it anyplace you have  internet access.  Plus, you can also print out your board and take it with you wherever you go.

Next week in the final installation, I’ll share some approaches for integrating Personal Kanban with your Outlook or other calendar systems.

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