Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Three Tactics to Keep Project Activities Moving

electronic personal kanban

Regardless of the Project Management system, activities sometimes sit in the queue or in-process for extended periods of time. A few keys to keeping tasks moving to accelerate accomplishment are:

  • Break up larger activities into smaller subtasks. For example: break “resolve content management system issue” into “investigate CMS issue”, “identify possible fix”, “apply fix”, “verify the problem is resolved”.
  • Make the system more visible. The advantage of whiteboard systems is they are in line of sight more than electronic systems that are multiple clicks away. What gets watched often gets improved. The down side of physical systems, is they may not be portable and visible from other locations or by other people at a distance.
  • Collaborate with or solicit help from other people with more expertise or knowledge about the subject matter. Often technical people feel they are responsible for resolving issues themselves. Don’t be an Answer-Man Super Hero.

Lean Project Management is a comprehensive methodology based on Lean principles to minimize Work in Process (WIP) while maximizing valuable project completion.

There are a variety of tools that can help facilitate a Lean Project Management process. You can use spreadsheets, databases, Personal Kanban white boards, or any of the commercial or open source software based systems. Recently I have been experimenting with flow.io because of its simplicity. Cautionary note: Lean Project Management is about much more than a tool or software product.

No Lean system or process is perfect right out of the box. It is important to start simple and jump in and start learning your way to a system that meets your needs and the needs of your stakeholders.

1 comment:

  1. Idea for point two above: Derek Huether uses the electronic kanban to hold the details of the story or activity, but uses a physical version for visibility and team communication. It is a little redundant, but there is a lot of power in the visibility Using Stories on My Personal Kanban