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Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  810 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
Kindle Edition, 218 pages
Published (first published January 3rd 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,813)
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Jun 27, 2012 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My wife is a life-long devotee of Franklin Planners and that has worked well for her, but I've never done well with to-do lists. Since reading this book I've started using a personal Kanban to manage my work at the office and after 3 weeks I now understand why to-do lists never worked for me. My problem is that I can think of 10 things I want to do for every 1 thing I have time to do. With a simple to-do list I soon become overwhelmed by tasks and eventually give up. The Kanban approach allows m ...more
Feb 11, 2011 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is a must have for anyone looking to become not only more productive, but also effective, and efficient. Personal Kanban Mapping Work Navigating Life will give you the knowledge needed to understand how to use personal kanban effectively, whether you are a student, professional, or in the home, no matter what your age. You will learn just how Personal Kanban will grow, flow, and evolve just as naturally as you do. This book will be a constant companion. From front cover, to footnotes, ...more
Johanna Rothman
Jun 06, 2012 Johanna Rothman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a consultant, I want the flexibility to adapt my work to take advantage of opportunities that might arise in a given week–to write an article or blog post, or to propose a project to a new client. And, while I try to plan a week’s worth work, I need the flexibility to adapt my work on the fly. I work in small chunks, finishing work. I like seeing completed work. I have a great sense of accomplishment when I see completed work.

Sure, if I have the flu or a tough vertigo attack that lasts a whil
I have been experimenting with the Personal Kanban approach for a few months now. All in all it constitutes an important improvement over my previous to-do list-driven routine. I feel I am now managing the balance between short term and longer term goals much more effectively. This book was a lucid and rousing introduction to the approach. I found the authors’ tone of voice very sympathetic: informal but not brazen, inspirational but not overblown. Some reviewers are of the opinion that the book ...more
Aug 02, 2015 Kars rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the best personal productivity book I've read since Getting Things Done. It is my new favourite. I really like the emphasis on sticking to a few simple principles and designing and continuously improving your own system around them.
Haider Al-Mosawi
Oct 15, 2015 Haider Al-Mosawi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book describes how the practice of kanban can be applied to personal projects and small teams. I would highly recommend that you look into kanban and to start experimenting with it.

Kanban is simply the visualization of your tasks, and commonly uses a whiteboard with post-it notes. A very basic structure is to divide your whiteboard into 3 columns:

Backlog | Doing | Done

(The book replaces "Backlog" with Ready, and suggests keeping a separate backlog elsewhere)

Using post-it notes, you populat
James Tharpe
This book a decent introduction to Kanban for personal use. If you need to bring order to chaos in your life, this book will help. Other books would probably help more.

The book presents an effective system (Kanban), provides enough information to get started, and presents some good ideas for evolving the system to meet your personal needs. However, the descriptions of the benefits of Kanban vastly outweigh the practical advice. The same few points about reducing "existential overhead" (a term I
Aug 23, 2012 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personal Kanban is the McGuffy Reader for anyone wanting to work effectively in the current age. If you take on the practices offered in this book, and *practice them* in your personal and professional life, you'll be taking the first step to transforming your approach doing the greatest work you're capable of.

The gems within this book are the simple practices that make the central concepts real. "Visualize your work" and "limit your work in progress" make a lot of sense, but they're worthless i
Jul 29, 2015 Rajesh rated it really liked it
Shelves: business-n-mgmt
As I progressed reading this text, I had a question gnawing away in my mind. Isn't all this common sense? Why do we need a textbook to explain these to us? But then common sense isn't that common. And as the book itself rightly suggests, we often loose sight of the bigger picture. It almost always puts things into perspective and puts us back on track. Well done Benson & Barry!
Carlos Ramos
Mar 11, 2015 Carlos Ramos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It gave some some ideas on how to use kanban in my personal life. I am a software developer, and I started the journey that led me here in "The Goal" (Goldratt), followed by "The Phoenix Project" (novel of theory of constraints applied to information technology). There, a kanban was mentioned.
"The Goal" gave me the idea of 'manage your work' and I started looking for ways to do so in my job (therefore leading to "The Phoenix Project").

With all that in my mind, I started using kanban for the job.
Apr 17, 2016 loafingcactus rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that wants to be TED talk. Each paragraph has the Meaningful Sentence where the speaker pauses while your life is transformed. The paragraphs themselves are kanban tasks that no one ever bothered to put back together into a book.

Part of the reason the task of making it into a book was never considered is that the audience is a mystery. Is the audience experienced in planning, either formally as project managers or informally as life managers? Or is the audience newbies that need t
Lee Herman
Jan 16, 2016 Lee Herman rated it liked it
Personal Kanban is a recognized productivity approach and one I'm experimenting with. I see great potential in Personal Kanban as a tool and technique but I was disappointed with the book, in spite of really wanting to like it. I felt too much time was spent extolling the virtues and benefits of the techniques and not nearly enough describing how to apply Personal Kanban to personal productivity.

As a long time GTD (Getting Things Done) adherent and practitioner, the point where the authors sugg
Jan 26, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As my career hats have increased after my children have grown (didn't see that coming by the way), finding an organizational system is increasingly more important. I'm an Omnifocus success story but find Personal Kanban, a Lean offshoot, compelling for the visual aspect. This book puts the "how" in focus. The writing style is very readable and the reader comes away with an understanding of how to use the system. While the book hasn't convinced me that Personal Kanban is a better tool than Omnifo ...more
Oct 18, 2015 David rated it liked it
A useful introduction to using kanban for personal productivity. I was already familiar with the technique, having used it for certain projects at work with the online service provided by Trello. And as far as I can tell, I'm already following Benson's approach, albeit without a three-column board: my personal to-do lists function as kanban boards and serve to visualize my work load and limit my WIP. (I don't quite understand the vitriol that Benson dumps on to-do lists.) The closing chapter off ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
An excellent introduction to the foundations of kanban and a straightforward application method that you can start using in your personal life right away (I read the whole thing in about 4 hours). This isn't a deep exploration into agile or kanban and that is exactly the point. Jim Benson (the author) gives you just enough to get started and then points the way to more resources at the end.

If you're interested in agile or kanban and don't know anything about either, this is a great introduction
Johnny Graber
Mar 29, 2015 Johnny Graber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I use Kanban for a few years and like the ideas described in Personal Kanban very much. You don’t have to make much ceremony and can get things done far better that with any other method. The Kanban board helps to visualize all the things one should do and pick the items that are the highest priority at the moment. Personal items tend to change their priority much faster than items in a project. The book explains Kanban in the context of personal items very well and with good examples everyone c ...more
Feb 21, 2014 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic introduction to Kanban and a wonderful resource on implementing Kanban on a small scale, but the Personal part of the title is a bit misleading. I found it was very good at outlining the concepts and explaining how to implement the system in order to track and visualize your personal work in a business setting.

If you're looking for a book to explain Kanban in your personal life (keeping track of the kids, cooking schedules etc) this book will certainly outline the principles
Oct 31, 2014 Naboru rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book not expecting much, but I was positively surprised.

While the visualisation techniques of tasks and such aren’t particularly new to me, it was the insight into how it could work in a company that was interesting. This book didn’t give me much as a tool to be more effective, but it showed me what is wrong with my company, and how problems and processes (and therefore people) are treated.

I only give 3 stars, though, because the author repeats himself very often, and I think the boo
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a decent read on how to apply the Kanban system to your personal workflow, especially considering that when I first heard about Kanban and went to look for books on it, all I could find came out of lean manufacturing. Most helpful in this book are the two simple rules - visualize your work and limit your work-in-progress.

The second most useful part of the book are the examples of how people have made personal Kanban work for them.

Less useful were the chapters trying to make Kanban differ
Steve Holloway
May 14, 2015 Steve Holloway rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic book!

I've read about and tried tens of personal productivity systems. I've tried hundreds of productivity apps. I've done To-Do lists, Eisenhower matrices, GTD; not one of them has worked for me for more than a month. But I've got high hopes for Personal Kanban. Its a simple, visual method, that you can tailor to work for you. Although I've not been doing it for long, the simple kinaesthetic pleasure of moving a sticky note from left to right, from doing to done, makes me want t
Torben Rasmussen
Aug 23, 2012 Torben Rasmussen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jim and Tonianne have written a great introduction to the Personal Kanban system for managing work - A dynamic, interactive map of your activities, past, present future, private and professional.

Personal Kanban might be categorised as a productivity tool, but one key tenet of the book is in fact we should strive for being effective, not merely productive.

Mirroring the Kanban Method as formulated by David Andersson, Personal Kanban is deceptively simple with only 2 rules:

* Visualise you work - Wo
Mar 15, 2015 John rated it really liked it
fresh views on productivity, tasks and work

If you want to do the right work and not just more work, you will appreciate this book. If you are familiar with the psychological work of Maslow and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and want to achieve flow/peak experiences, you will love it. Thankfully, after describing the principles of personal kanban the book includes some practical templates for deploying kanbans for different kinds of projects and activities.
Nov 13, 2011 bschmoeller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Während viele Kanban aus Produktion und Softwareentwicklung kennen, gehen Jim Bension und Tonianne DeMaria Berry auf die Anwendung im Bereich des Selbstmanagements ein. Ungefähr nach der Hälfte schrieb ich die ersten Doings auf PostIt's und probierte es gleich mal aus ;-)

Erstaunlicherweise lässt sich so auch im Alltag die Durchlaufzeit reduzieren und man hat mehr Zeit für Dinge, die sonst zu kurz kommen. Um nicht immer PostIt's zu kleben, habe ich Apps ausprobiert, die auf meinem Samsung-Tab zwa
Dec 27, 2014 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. I love the visual and tactile approach of kanban boards and truly wish they worked for my current life situation, but I find them not very implementable at this point in my life. Definitely an awesome tool to know about though. I highly suggest learning the basics of kanban so that you can use it when appropriate. Just find a better resource to learn it from. This one is 95% fluff.
Dec 12, 2015 Suhrob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you never thought/read about productivity systems, this can be a completely fine start. There is nothing wrong with this book.

For my workflow, Kanban doesn't fit optimally (or more precisely - it fits, but adds little on top of my existing systems), therefor I was bit underwhelmed.

Productivity systems are a very personal thing, so the star rating shouldn't be a discouragement.
Alex Devero
Oct 03, 2015 Alex Devero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-development
Personal Kanban is based on that original Kanban, but you can customize it to fit with any shifts in your lifestyle. Developed by Toyota to streamline production, Kanban worked extremely well, allowing Toyota to reduce production costs while maintaining a high level of quality. Other companies began to adopt the Kanban system – and many of them use it to this day.
Alex Strick van Linschoten
Mar 01, 2015 Alex Strick van Linschoten rated it really liked it
Useful and, once again, not too long. Kanban is a slightly different approach to the other dominant system in the 'productivity' world (i.e. David Allen's GTD). There seems to be a lot to recommend it, though in leaving the system flexible it can feel a bit difficult to start with. Nevertheless, this is a really good place to start if you're interested in learning more.
May 06, 2014 Hunter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: productivity
The concept of Kanban is a good one, and easily grasped. I actually have worked along these lines for years. Although written well, I found this book a little preachy, and repetitive in trying to prove why personal Kanban is the greatest productivity concept - something that can be picked up in only one of the chapters. The rest can be browsed through.
Mar 09, 2015 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking for a way to get more done, and visualize the work that I'm doing, I decided to give this a go. I dove in, following what the book recommends, and I have a wall full of post it notes to show for it. It's still to be seen if it means I get more done, but I feel hopeful, which is the most you can ask for a system this early into using it.
Better than GTD, better than Eisenhower, is kanban. I read about this in the Phoenix Project, now time to put it in play in my life. This is a nice gentle introduction to the technique and how to apply it to the messy situation of your personal life.

If you're looking for a different approach definitely give kanban a try.
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“To-do lists: the last bastion for the organizationally damned. They’re the embodiment of evil. They possess us and torment us, controlling what we do, highlighting what we haven’t. They make us feel inadequate, and dismiss our achievements as if they were waste. These insomnia-producing, check-boxing Beelzebubs have intimidated us for too long.” 1 likes
“Personal Kanban is an information radiator for your work. With it, you understand the impacts and context of your work in real-time. This is where linear to-do lists fall short. Static and devoid of context, they remind us to do a certain number of tasks, but don’t show us valuable real-time information necessary for effective decision making.” 0 likes
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