March – Closing Doors and Opening Windows

Personal Kanban Calendar Lesson #3

I have officially given up on posting the retrospectives from my 2015 kanban goal calendar board experiment punctually every month.  I mean, it’s July, and I’m only getting around to polishing up and publishing the March retrospective. What’s up with that?

What’s up, is that I’ve decided that it’s more important for me to use the goal calendar, than to write about it. I’m sorry if that’s disappointing, but I found that putting undue pressure on myself to blog every month was adding to my stress levels. I’m much happier this way. 🙂

And yes, you should read the original post before going further. Better yet, make sure to read January and February, too. If you don’t, this post may leave you feeling utterly confused.  You’ve been warned!

What did I set out to do in March? (Sprint 3)

  • As a result of losing my job I switched into high gear, activated my network and started engaging with new role possibilities.  I also worked my last few weeks, winding down my team and supporting them as well as I could in this period.
  • At the same time, I wrapped up the last tasks of “Project Find High School” and arranged a birthday party for the younger sibling. Because, you know, life goes on.
  • All in all, I completed 11 cards and left 3 incomplete. Unfortunately, I can’t say how many I had to start with at the beginning of the month. That is of course something I have to change going forward.

What did not work in March?

  • Not knowing how many cards I set out to complete has become a problem for me. I dramatically reduced the cards I took on in February, but the assessment of “less” was done visually only. I may in fact be fooling myself, especially if the size of tasks vary dramatically.
  • I’m also not limiting my WIP. Without a WIP limit, my goal calendar is technically just an (overfull?) to-do list, not a kanban board. It’s time to fix that.

What worked in March?

  • Having an organized mechanism to fall back on was a great support this month. Doing such a rapid, unexpected about-face was hard. The visual calendar was a very effective way to keep my new career priorities front and centre, without becoming overwhelmed.
  • I’ve had to move a few personal projects that I had looked forward to doing this year. The good news is that they may be out of (immediate) sight, but they’re not out of mind. They’re just living somewhere on the board down towards June and July.

What have I changed?

  • In January, I created a similar goal calendar board for work goals. I deleted that board, since those goals are no longer relevant.  My Life Goals board is now my single focus.
  • I’ve set up a mechanism to record my WIP at the start of April, along with a WIP limit. I’ll write more about that next month – with pictures!

My most powerful insight this month

I can’t really recall one. It was a busy month, and getting through it as best as I can was top of mind. But my April post will not disappoint in this regard, I promise.

Next Month – Taking Stock of Q1 2015

With March behind me, the first quarter of the year is over. It’s time to look back and see how my overall goals for 2015 are tracking.

I think I may also change the format of the next post. Instead of focusing on standard sprint questions and board mechanics, I intend to consider a few other things – such as whether this way of planning my year is really better than what I’ve done before. And if so, how?

There’s also the little matter of the Trello board becoming a bit unwieldy, after just three months …


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