I always start with the fact that writing things down is far more helpful for your mental health, and using the KanBan principles in your bullet journal is no different. So what is KanBan?
Explaining KanBan and how it can fit into your bullet journal
About 50 years ago Toyota began optimising its engineering processes by using a process that was similar to how supermarkets were stocking their shelves. It now really popular with agile or modern thinking teams, ranging from software all thr way through to HR.
Kanban is Japanese for “visual signal” or “card.” Toyota line-workers used a kanban (i.e., an actual card) to signal steps in their manufacturing process. The system is highly visual in nature allowed teams to communicate more easily on what work needed to be done and when. It also standardized cues and refined processes, which helped to reduce waste and maximize value.
Kanban helps you harness the power of visual information by using sticky notes in your bullet journal to create a “picture” of your work. Seeing how your work flows within your team’s process or your own process lets you not only communicate status, but also give and receive context for the work. Kanban takes information that typically would be communicated via words and turns it into something visual and easy to understand.
How can you make Kanban work for you in your bullet journal?
The work of all kanban teams revolves around a kanban board, a tool used to visualize work and optimize the flow of the work among the team. While physical boards are popular among some teams, virtual boards are a crucial feature in any agile team tool for their traceability, easier collaboration, and accessibility from multiple locations. But for this post we are focusing on how to place this into your bullet journal.
Regardless of whether a board is physical or digital, its function is to ensure the work is visualized, workflow is standardized, and all blockers and dependencies are immediately identified and resolved. A basic kanban board has a three-step workflow: To Do, In Progress, and Done. However, depending on a team’s size, structure, and objectives, the workflow can be mapped to meet the unique process of any particular team, or a particular project. What I like is that within my journal I can create a board at the beginning of my journal which can stay there as sticky notes can be popped in and out.
Can you align kanban with project management in your bullet journal?
In our post about project management and planning around your role and career or projects we covered a number of clever ways to create project boards in your journal. Here we took what we had from our KanBan in our bullet journal and blew it out to some project spreads.
What further KanBan reading can you do to learn more?
Some KanBan Bullet Journal Inspiration
If you are looking for some further reading go check out this post over at Ink By Jeng I adore the work she did on KanBan
Another excellent read is that from Minimal Plan – when it comes to amazing project management spreads they have it nailed, as well as a free Kanban downloadable.
And finally another great post (this one in German) from Ars Textura is awesome!
Finally one last fun Kanban spread from Katharina