Kanban is a method for developing software products and processes with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery while not overloading the software developers. In this approach, the process, from definition of a task to its delivery to the customer, is displayed for participants to see and developers pull work from a queue. Kanban for software development has been formulated by David J. Anderson. The application of kanban to personal work originated with Jim Benson after he became exposed to related concepts through his associations with David Anderson, Corey Ladas and Don Reinertsen. (Wikipedia)
The spreadsheet is split into three separated logical column: BACKLOG, DOING and DONE. In kanban these columns are called lanes. Each lane contain items or tasks that move from the left to the right. The BACKLOG lane is dedicated to items that are ready to be processed, DOING items are things that you are currently working on, DONE items are completed tasks. A deep explanation about Personal Kanban, visualization and work in progress limiting is outside the scope of this post and I strongly suggest you to refer to personalkanban.com web site or the book: Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life by Jim Benson.
Let’s see how to use this spreadsheet, first of all make a copy of the Personal Kanban Spreadsheet.
As you can see a new menu called “Personal Kanban” has been added to the spreadsheet. By using this menu you can access all the features available for the Personal Kanban system:
Let’s start by clicking the menu item called “Add backlog item” to insert our first item in the BACKLOG lane:
As you can see an item is composed by a Title and Description, for now just fill the form with the following values and click the “Save” button:
A new item in the BACKLOG lane will be created for you automatically:
Now repeat these steps to create other 3 items as shown in the following screenshot:
To operate on items you have to select a cell belonging to the item, it doesn’t matter if you select the title cell or description cell. For this example select the cell containing the title “Second Task”. Now open the menu “Personal Kanban” and select “Move item forward”.
As you can see the “Second Task” item is effectively moved to the DOING lane and all the items into the BACKLOG lane are automatically moved to fill the gaps derived from the move operation.
Select again the cell containing the “Second Task” title and execute again the “Move item forward” operation:
The system has automatically changed the background color of the “Second Task” item to green to indicate that the item has been completed successfully. We want now to simulate something different, an item could have an issue and can’t be executed, this is said that the task as an “impediment”. Select the cell containing the “Third Task” title and execute a “Move item forward” operation:
Select again the cell containing the “Third Task” title and open the “Personal Kanban” menu.
Now select the menu item called “Set impediment on item”.
As you can see the background color of the item became red to indicate that an impediment happened on the task.
From the “Personal Kanban” menu item you can access at more operation available in the spreadsheet. You can find the Personal Kanban Spreadsheet here remember to make a copy of it.