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    « Project Introverts - how to get out of that meeting ASAP! | Main | The Anatomy of a Collaborative Workshop »
    Thursday
    Feb072013

    Stop starting. Start finishing. 

    I'm interested: how do you control and monitor what you're doing? What you're working on? What's next on the list?

    In the office of one of my transport industry clients last week, I noticed again how all of their work areas have ... not coffee machines, but ... whiteboards. Offices have them, every other working area has them, and pod and desk areas have group whiteboards. 

    But these are different to most I've seen before. Every whiteboard is structured, labelled with columns and full of information about 'what's going on'. Many of the boards have permanent lines, permanent marker headings with erasable or movable content on Post-it notes or cards. 

    This business is proud of the visualisation they use. It helps them monitor what's on, what's coming and what's done and it is certainly a key reason why their performance is on the rise!

    While visualisation might be an obvious must-do for a business in production, logistics or project management, it can also be a lesser-known but still powerful tool for small business, entrepreneurs and businesses going through change.

    I'm loving Kanban : the visual process management approach that has its origins in Japan's just-in-time production methods. There are variations and applications of Kanban, so keep it simple for your team or business - or for the family!

    The 'three bin' system of categorising work-in-progress (WIP) and workflow is a way to stop adding more things to the 'to do' list and start completing things. 

    Try these three headings to start:

    • To Do
    • In Progress
    • Done

    And limit the numbers of tasks or work-in-progress to two or three items. The 'Stop starting. Start finishing' mantra of Lean and Kanban methods means you can't keep adding to the To Do list; you need to get some of the In Progress stuff done!

    This truly helps you and the team visualise activity, performance and outcomes, and it answers the 'what's going on' question exceptionally well. Talk people through the board. Have a stand-up meeting at the board. Point to the board. Refer to the information on the board. 

    A grand outcome I can 'see' is that collaboration, communication and buy-in is boosted, throughout what can be unsettling times of transformation and change.

    This e-news : Done. 

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