Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script

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)

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 1

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:

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 2

 

 

Let’s start by clicking the menu item called “Add backlog item” to insert our first item in the BACKLOG lane:

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 3

 

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:

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 4

 

A new item in the BACKLOG lane will be created for you automatically:

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 5

Now repeat these steps to create other 3 items as shown in the following screenshot:

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 7

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”.

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 8

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.

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 9

Select again the cell containing the “Second Task” title and execute again the “Move item forward” operation:

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 11

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:

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 12

Select again the cell containing the “Third Task” title and open the “Personal Kanban” menu.

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 13

Now select the menu item called “Set impediment on item”.

Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script 14

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.

Happy scripting!

 

Consultant, Lean Thinker, Agilist, Technology Lover. Dream: Being worth a TED talk. Project Manager in a wide variety of business applications. Particularly interested in innovation projects, as well as close interaction with costumers.

Taggato con: , , , ,
Pubblicato in Google Apps Script, Spreadsheet
7 commenti su “Personal Kanban with Google Spreadsheet and Google Apps Script
  1. Jim Benson says:

    Love this post.

    The first kanban project we did with a client was in 2005 / 2006 and used a Groove 2.0 spreadsheet much like this. The beauty with it was that the client had real-time access to what we were doing and what we were waiting on. Now, of course, there’s a bunch of on-line tools – but back then no one else had tried it yet.

    Have you tried to use this on an Android phone yet?

    • Thanks Jim!
      Actually the native Android Drive app doesn’t support Spreadsheet custom menu. The only way to make it work is to install the Dolphin browser app and access drive.google.com setting as user agent: “Desktop”. Not the easiest way possible but working. Waiting for Google to offer an official solution to this :)

  2. Mike Stirrat says:

    Trello is by far my favorite Kanban tool. The Android apps (I use it on a phone and a tablet) for Trello are amazingly well done. Really well done. http://www.trello.com

  3. Alan Dayley says:

    A very nice contribution to the world, Marcello! Thank you for sharing.

    Trello is a nice tool, no doubt. I’m trying this out as a basic way to handle some of my work. And I need to use it so I can point others to it as an option.

  4. Is there a way for this to work as an Excel Spreadsheet? I downloaded it but the special menu is gone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>