Home > Education> Workshops> Continuous Improvement Using Personal Kanban

Continuous Improvement Using Personal Kanban (2 Day Class)

A simple, effective management system for digging out of work -- and staying dug out -- to achieve higher quality, better productivity, greater job satisfaction, and peace of mind. 

Feeling buried? 

If you’re a knowledge worker – anyone who manages, analyzes, organizes, codes, crunches, designs, plans, markets, coaches, etc., etc. -- you are buried in work. 

And you’re sinking deeper daily. 

The reason is that you can’t see knowledge work. In manufacturing and some service industries, co-workers and managers can see widgets on an assembly line, customers in a queue, or patients overflowing a waiting room. Knowledge work is mostly invisible. 

The result is that your work-in-process (WIP) grows as you get or agree to do more and more projects. Before you know it, you’re overloaded. You can’t think deeply about what you’re doing, let alone find enough time for continuous improvement. Productivity slows. Mistakes and defects grow. Morale and job satisfaction decline. 

What can you do? How can you get control? 

Your growing WIP is too much to manage effectively by memory, paper planners, or to-do lists whether written or digital. And the complexity of computerized productivity programs can make them just more work to manage. There really hasn’t been a simple, effective solution – until now. And it uses the lean management concepts you probably are familiar with already. 

Jim BensonJim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry, work flow experts and authors of the Shingo Award-winning book Personal Kanban: Mapping Work, Navigating Life, have successfully applied lean management principles to knowledge work for individuals, teams, and companies. In this one-day workshop, they’ll show you a practical and proven system that makes knowledge work visible, calms disruptive variations in workloads, and converts mountain of WIP into an actionable, manageable flow of work. 

They’ve adapted Toyota’s lean management concept of kanban (Japanese for sign board) into a framework for managing knowledge work. If you’re not familiar with lean or kanban, don’t worry. You won’t have to learn any Japanese words or manufacturing terms. If you are familiar with kanban, you’ll recognize familiar fundamental features -- make work visible, track its flows, identify areas for improvement, and pull in work when you – or your team members -- have the capacity to do it. 

Workshop Benefits

  • Understand and implement a system that makes knowledge work visible and tames overloads so you get more done and actually enjoy work more.
  • Explore how limiting WIP allows you to complete what you start, leading to greater productivity and better quality.
  • Prove your value to executives by maximizing the quality and volume of your work and your team’s.
  • Learn how to schedule the right work at the right time.
  • Discover how to apply lean concepts to individual and team knowledge work.
  • Know how to take on only the work you have the capacity to do so you know what you can promise to do – and what you can justifiably say “no” to.
  • Recognize how to “pull” in new work when a job is completed.
  • Improve the way you work and make decisions.
  • Eliminate frustrating “guess-timates” about project completion in favor of accurate (and surprisingly simple) statistical methods.
  • Have more time for balance in your personal, professional, and social lives.

What You’ll Cover 

Preparing to Implement

  • Quality guru’s W. Edwards Deming's system of profound knowledge
  • Lean management
  • Systems thinking, knowledge, variation, and the psychology of work 

Kanban as a Personal Framework

  • Understanding personal workloads
  • Value-stream mapping for knowledge work
  • Work item identification
  • Task sizing
  • Work-in-process limits
  • Dynamic collaboration
  • Measuring variation
  • Single and double loop learning 

“Lean Coffee” #1: Why This Won’t Work

Lean Coffee is a quick, focused meeting in which you democratically set the agenda. You’ll talk about why kanban won’t work at your company to help Jim and Toni zero in on your challenges to address. 

Lean Project Management

  • Overwork
  • Context switching
  • Task switching
  • Effects of multitasking and repetition on knowledge workers
  • Lean metrics and systems measurement 

Lean Coffee #2: What you found useful, important, or under-explained from the first day.  

How to Implement

  • Visualizing Work
  • Applying value-stream mapping,
  • Visualizing non-conforming work
  • Visualizing multiple projects
  • Exercise: Building personal kanban boards together 

Limiting Work-in-Process

  • The concept of flow and what it means to knowledge workers
  • Activity: using the personal kanban board
  • Tracking completion times
  • Calculating the cost of delay
  • Forecasting completion times 

Lean Coffee 3: How does my work change? 

Risk Assessment, Prioritization, and Communication

  • Using complexity science to communicate true risk and prioritize work
  • Using the kanban board to tell stories
  • Exercise: Create a prioritized backlog of work based on risk assessment 

Who Will Be There

Professionals from manufacturing, service, government or healthcare industries who develop or manage the development and use of knowledge.

This program is offered at customer facilities only, as an on-site workshop. If you have any questions or want to bring this workshop to your organization, please contact us at info@lean.org or 617.871.2900.