The evils of multi-tasking and how personal Kanban can help you


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We know for a fact that multi-tasking slows us down both physically and mentally. Agile, Lean, Scrum and Kanban limit work in progress (WIP) on a team and organisational level but what about the personal space? What practices can we use as individuals to avoid multi-tasking and achieve flow?

This session will explain the research on and theory behind why multi-tasking is bad at every level and through telling the story of Snapper, New Zealand’s primary contactless payments platform, I will show how an entire organisation organically adapted Agile practices to extend from the organisational and team level to the personal and individual space and how personal Kanban in turn has influenced our organisation-wide Agile adoption.

I will demonstrate how personal Kanban works and how my colleagues and I are using it. I will show the personal Kanban boards that have popped up everywhere around the office and how everyone at Snapper and the organisation as a whole have benefitted from their use. Come along and learn how personal Kanban can help you!

This session has been part of Agile 2012 in Dallas, Texas and Agile Australia 2013 and have been very well received.

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The evils of multi-tasking and how personal Kanban can help you

  1. 1. Sandy Mamoli @smamol The evils of multi-tasking and how personal Kanban can help you
  2. 2. 1 i Multi-tasking Exercise - part 1 A B C ... J 2 3 10 ... ii iii x ...
  3. 3. Time yourself
  4. 4. 1 i Multi-tasking Exercise - part 2 A ... B C J 2 3 10 ... ii iii x ...
  5. 5. Time yourself
  6. 6. I realised I had a problem
  7. 7. Organisational multi-tasking “ ... to maximise utilisation and deliver as many projects as possible, people are on between 3 to 5 projects at the time ...” Head of Project Management Office (PMO)
  8. 8. Buzz around the teams
  9. 9. Rules of the game
  10. 10. A 10-second Kanban recap ‣ Visualise your workflow - so you know what you’re doing ‣ Limit work in progress 
 - so you stop multi-tasking
  11. 11. Expedite?
  12. 12. Process and flow
  13. 13. Achievement not activity
  14. 14. Only the owner can add tasks
  15. 15. How big should tasks be?
  16. 16. Timeboxing
  17. 17. Effect on people
  18. 18. “No  one  ever  shouts  at  a  wall”   Jim  Benson
  19. 19. Continuous improvement
  20. 20. Better work-life balance
  21. 21. Why a physical board?
  22. 22. You can’t carry it around
  23. 23. Tactile connection
  24. 24. Spreading like a rash
  25. 25. Making boards
  26. 26. Effects on the organisation
  27. 27. Portfolio Kanban
  28. 28. Did I just make this up?
  29. 29. h:p://
  30. 30. Multi-tasking slows us down Quality Software Management: Systems Thinking, Gerald Weinberg, 1992
  31. 31. So what next?
  32. 32. @kanbanfor1 @smamol
  33. 33. @smamol If you’re interested in seeing this presentation live feel free to get in touch. I live in Wellington, New Zealand.