Personal Kanban Board

Kanban is a Japanese term that means “signboard.”  It is a tool used in Lean practice to communicate upstream when inventory (product or information) is needed downstream (in the next step of the process).  Kanban is used to support just-in-time processes. 

Using the idea of a kanban, I played around with the idea of a kanban board for my personal inventory – my time.  Where will I devote my time  today, tomorrow?  In other words, what is pulling my time?  I used the PDCA Cycle as the outline for my personal kanban, as you will see in the image below.  It was a super simple project.  The “Do” is my projects today.  “Plan” is what is upcoming.  Tasks in my “Check” and “Adjust” columns will need attention down the road and will most likely flow through the PDCA cycle again.  I used stickies so they can be moved easily.  You will also notice the green star sticky – that is a hot topic I need to address!  I imagine there will be more visual controls like the green star incorporated as I continue to use this tool. 

One Comment on "Personal Kanban Board"

  • Maritza van den Heuvel
    March 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM


    The use of PDCA to map your workflow is very intriguing. What happens to something after it has been in Adjust? Does it go back to Plan since PDCA is usually a continuous cycle, right? Are you also planning to use Work In Progress limits on your phases?

    Incidentally, I’ve been using Personal Kanban actively for the last three years to manage everything from my personal workload to our family life. Once you start using it, you often find very creative ways of adding visual controls, like your green starts. 🙂

    You can read more about my Personal Kanban experiments at