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Kanban in the home

This is our Kanban board which is on our kitchen blackboard. I did a tidy of the board on the weekend as I noticed it was becoming a random list with big and small things and no clear priority on what to do next. My partner Stu and I have busy work and family lives so we tend to forget things if we aren't organised and communicating pretty constantly and this board helps us with that.

Post the tidy it's now organised into Big, Medium and Small stuff.
"Big" has a WIP limit (Work in Process), no more than 1 "Big" thing can be in progress at once and we only have  a maximum of 3 things in our "Big" backlog.

"Medium"  is things we need to buy or do, they aren't immediate and also aren't a huge priority but we find it's  good to identify and list them so if an opportunity arises (like a spare day on a weekend) we can decide to go shopping or tackle these things.

"Small" stuff is nitty gritty things we need to do or want to do straight away. They may have a deadline like booking tickets for an event, or paying for something, and we tend to re-work these items quite a lot. There isn't a  'done' column in the "small" area as we just wipe them off and chalk new ones up frequently. It's a good way for both of us to know what's a priority for the weekend so we don't spend needless time discussing and wondering what to do next.

I'm pleased to report that my sister has also taken up the Kanban board habit in her home. She uses her own system of cards and magnets, and her partner and kids participate. She isn't in the software industry and knows nothing about Lean or Agile and yet she has embraced these concepts and gets great results out of it. 

When my partner Stu readied his house for sale in 2010 we used a wall with a simple set of columns -  "backlog" "in progress" and "complete" , we placed index cards with tasks into the columns and watched with joy as  extended family members trooped up to the wall to take ownership of getting tasks done and into the "complete" column. 

There are so many great ideas for how to use 'Kanban' boards to communicate progress and priority in our busy home and work lives. Lots of great ideas can also be found here: a website dedicated to board hacks. Nice!


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