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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Applying Kanban both inside and outside work
I work in a software development environment where we use both Scrum and Kanban at different times. Outside work, I've made do with an electronic diary/to-do list, managed using an application that I developed that does various useful things, including keeping the diary/to-do data on my PC synchronised with mobile devices, so that myself and my wife have access to our...
Published 19 months ago by J. S. Hardman

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overlong for the content, feels quite repetitive, odd style. Useful, but not great.
I wouldn't say it's a waste of money, but it is definitely expensive for what it is. The key points are made quite early - there are only two of them! - and the rest of the book seems to approach the same stuff from multiple different angles with the useful bits drowning in about 60% excess verbiage as far as I can see. The basic idea is great - hence the 3 stars; the...
Published 12 months ago by Paul Taylor


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Applying Kanban both inside and outside work, 2 Sept. 2013
By 
J. S. Hardman "Consultant software developer ... (Near London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Personal Kanban: Mapping Work / Navigating Life (Paperback)
I work in a software development environment where we use both Scrum and Kanban at different times. Outside work, I've made do with an electronic diary/to-do list, managed using an application that I developed that does various useful things, including keeping the diary/to-do data on my PC synchronised with mobile devices, so that myself and my wife have access to our shared diary from our smart-phones etc. Having used Kanban at work, and having already read one book about Kanban (by Henrik Kniberg), I thought I'd read "Personal Kanban: Mapping Work, Navigating Life" to see if it offered any good ideas about how to organise my outside-work stuff even better than it already was.

"Personal Kanban" is an easy read, stretched over 194 pages (including index etc). I say stretched, as there are very wide margins on every page, and the text feels padded. A number of books that I have read about Lean/Agile techniques have been to-the-point, with no padding, and hence very short. I quite like that, and certainly found myself for the first third of this book wondering where the really useful content would be. If you are new to Kanban and Lean techniques in general, you may find the first bit more useful than I did as it is building up understanding of why techniques are useful as opposed to how to use them.

The latter part of this book felt much more useful, bringing together the Kanban idea of Work-in-Progress limits, the Time Management Matrix (which has been stuck to my whiteboard as a reminder for a few years already), metrics (possibly more useful in a work environment), Maslow's hierarchy of needs (anybody who has studied even introductory management will have seen that before), Subjective Well-Being, the Agile "retrospective" etc. The book does not prescribe one system for organising yourself based on all of those ideas, but shows some cases, and gives the reader things to experiment with. For me, the key thing I have taken away from this book is the difference between push and pull. That has been the big problem with the diary management software that I wrote a couple of years ago - it resulted in a lot of work being pushed into my queue for today, rather than me pulling things into today. I'll definitely be making a change to that functionality based on ideas from this book, limiting how many work items are automatically pushed into today. I think that will make managing the diary that myself and my wife use much more satisfying. I've also put together a project board in Excel, based on material from this book, to help visualise the work-in-progress and future work for my team at work.

So, possibly not the first Kanban book that I would recommend people to read, but definitely one that adds useful ideas to how people might use Kanban. So, even if you have read Kniberg's book, you might want to still read this one. Even with the feeling of padding, I still read it in one day, which has been a day well spent, both for personal and work use.

Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overlong for the content, feels quite repetitive, odd style. Useful, but not great., 31 Mar. 2014
By 
Paul Taylor (West of England, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Personal Kanban: Mapping Work / Navigating Life (Paperback)
I wouldn't say it's a waste of money, but it is definitely expensive for what it is. The key points are made quite early - there are only two of them! - and the rest of the book seems to approach the same stuff from multiple different angles with the useful bits drowning in about 60% excess verbiage as far as I can see. The basic idea is great - hence the 3 stars; the implementation here isn't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to Kanban, 20 Dec. 2013
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Looking at Kanban from a personal point of view is I feel a great way to start - rather than having to make it too strict or fit into existing workplace processes.

You can just try it, start to use it, adapt it, changing things round and the only person it will affect is you - if you have the discipline it the effect will be for the better!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whiteboard Ordered!, 20 May 2013
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I was using some ideas from Kanban already, but this book really explains the concept of Personal Kanban and the reasons it works. This isn't a "how to", it is a deep dive into the whys, which lets you create your own version of the "how". On top of all that, I have found the metaphors in this book really useful when explaining stuff back at work, where is where my use of Kanban originates!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy read and good info, 15 Aug. 2013
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A good simple introduction to Kanban and getting out from under lengthy unmanageable to do lists. Very helpful, good examples and I am trying to put it into practice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As great start to thinking in the right way, 9 Aug. 2013
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Everybody should take time to read this one. Product delivery would then be harmonized and waterfall would die it's longstanding death.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Making sense of life's clutter, 25 Mar. 2015
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This book has two key messages, which are disclosed pretty much from the beginning. At first read this book can seem flimsy after that early disclosure, but really bears a thorough re-reading with the challenge put forward to really examine all of those tasks that bury you on a daily basis, and put them in the context of what you are aiming at in life.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best combined book on psychology and software development, 24 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Personal Kanban: Mapping Work / Navigating Life (Paperback)
"I simply want people to make conscious, informed decisions about the actions they take" is an example of the ethos behind the whole of Personal Kanban.

I first made a Kanban board over 3 years ago in order to make visible to my team mates and project manager, the other work I was doing in addition to stories (the project was run using Scrum). At that point that is all a Kanban board was, a way to show how busy I was, other than that I didn't get why it was meant to be so different to a Scrum wall. Personal Kanban explained to me why this visibility was important to me, over and above protecting me from the expectations of my project manager, something I was aware of, yet didn't understand.

This book would be worth it just for the insights into visualisation to aid decision making, yet it goes further than that. Before reading Personal Kanban I hadn't thought about mapping what I value or my goals to the visualisation of my everyday work. The idea that I could see how often and well I am giving feedback (from my perspective), right there on the same board that shows the work I am doing was a revelation for me.

And if that wasn't enough, I learnt about how cognitive load, stress and bias effect our ability to make good decisions, which lead to us being less effective by doing the wrong things, or the right things at the wrong time or badly.

This book applies to your whole life, not to a single part of it, it isn't exclusively a software development book, yet I heartily recommend it to anyone who does that kind of work. Don't be put off by the title, the ideas presented can be used just as effectively within a team as they can personally. It is a quick read and well worth your time if your interested in using your time more effectively, learning more about the psychology of how we get things done and make decisions or just want some lovely stories of how people figured out how to deal with the craziness of modern life.

Small disclaimer: I met Jim and Tonianne before reading the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars some great ideas to help sort EVERYTHING out!, 29 Jun. 2014
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Easy style of writing that gets great ideas across simply. Only thing left is for me to DO IT! David
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5.0 out of 5 stars sensible suggestions in an easy-to-read format, 7 Jan. 2014
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Some books are a slog; not this. Simple, sensible, and easy to get through you can start making changes straight away.
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Personal Kanban: Mapping Work / Navigating Life
Personal Kanban: Mapping Work / Navigating Life by Tonianne DeMaria Barry (Paperback - 2 Feb. 2011)
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