Blog post seven in Jim Benson’s Personal Kanban Series.
In the previous posts we looked at the Time Capsule workaround to having a backlog cluttered with small tasks of varying importance. This throughput approach might help mitigate the need to use that approach.
Kanban tends to have swim lanes – or lanes through which value flows. In your personal kanban, it is possible to have a WIP that takes into account varying sizes of tasks?
Let’s say you set a WIP of 5 items: two of these can be large tasks, while three are small.
In the throughput approach, the small items are placed daily, and addressed first. The larger items can be handled throughout the day, and will remain on the board as long as it takes to remove them.
The goal here is to make sure that at least a minimum amount of small tasks are done regularly, to help avoid the pain of a marathon Time Capsule day.
When I’ve done this, I’ve tried to take into account that there will be “flares” – tasks that arise and are completed during the course of a day that don’t make it onto the board. Say your lawyer calls and asks you to track down an email and send it to her. That takes you maybe 15 minutes, but it never makes it onto the board.
This is why I don’t move completed tasks off a throughput board until the end of the day. If you keep moving them and placing new tasks up there, you really haven’t limited your WIP. You aren’t maximizing for throughput in the number of cards you are moving with the throughput approach, as much as you are maximizing your productivity.
With this approach, you will get a number of small tasks done but also devote time to the larger tasks and, hopefully, have the bandwidth to deal with flares.
Stay tuned for: The Subproject Approach to Personal Kanban in Detail...