Kanban’s Fo Everyone!
At Turing, the pace moves so quickly that I wish I had the luxury of more time or could even be granted a do-over. That is unfortunately not the case for many aspects of life, let alone a fast-paced code school. So what are the options for dealing with a fast-paced environment? I have found myself thinking about this topic more and more as time goes on, and I believe I have found an answer. The solution is not as easy as pausing time in the way that so many books and movies have made it seem. Instead, the solution deals with managing all of the assignments, errands, and tasks life provides as soon as possible.
I do not mean that all of these tasks should be completed right away, just simply managed. A simple way to accomplish all tasks would be to adopt the Kanban Board, a workflow cycle utilized by both manufacturing and software companies.
The Kanban Board was originally used by Toyota during manufacturing in the 1940s. In Japanese, Kanban means “visual signal.” The meaning is the foundational property that has kept the Kanban Board a useful resource for so long. It was used to visually pass messages relating to progress down an assembly line by Toyota. Now, it can be used in group assignments or implemented by a single individual as I plan to do.
The Kanban Board may sound like a huge piece of beautiful wood, but it can really be anything from a poster, whiteboard, or even some tape on the refrigerator door. But every board must have three vertical columns with the titles “to-do,” “in-progress,” and “done.” Once the layout is complete, one would simply need to write all of their tasks out onto separate note cards or sticky notes. Next, one would look through all of the newly created notes and categories and put them into a desired order, possibly with the most time consuming to least or by the timeline that they need to be completed. At this point, there is only one step left in order to finish implementing this cycle: apply the first two or three cards to the in-progress column, then the following two or three cards to the to-do column. Once these cards are in place, put the remaining cards out of sight until it is time to rotate the positions on the board.
That last step may seem odd at first, but the reasoning behind it is to ensure that when one is using the Kanban Cycle, they can remain motivated and not slip into an unfavorable mindset. It will also allow one to put all of their focus into the select tasks within the “in-progress” column without losing valuable time planning out tasks time and time again like I have done.
Another key step to follow within the cycle deals with letting the “done” column accumulate. Not to the extent that it becomes an issue of course, but it is an important step because it provides a simple visualization of all of the progress gained by the implementation of the Kanban Board. Leaving the “done” column alone will certainly give one the positive reinforcement needed to keep their to-do list managed and current. The implementation of this cycle may take some trial and error in order to know for sure what amount of tasks one would feel comfortable working on and seeing inside the “to-do” column. Once I have completed this phase, I hope that the feeling of needing more time or a second attempt will be less and less frequent because I’ll be utilizing all of my time in such a powerful way.