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Psychology of Kanban

In Lean Project Management or Lean Startups or Agile, it's important that everyone knows what is going on, how they fit into that picture, who is doing what, and how much work people can handle. If there is uncertainty in the group, it reflects in the project and morale. If people are overloaded quality and human relationships suffer immediately. Jim Benson, author of Personal Kanban, will discuss how visualizing work and limiting work-in-progress work, not just as process, but psychologically. How do high performing teams form? How is focus generated and maintained? Why do teams work better when they have the information the need and the ability to act? Updated specifically for the Bay Area audience, Jim Benson brings his popular talk to SF Agile.

For more information, see my comment below.


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Session Leader Name(s): Jim Benson

Stage: Accepted

Feedback Score

22 votes

Idea Details

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Similar Ideas [ 3 ]


  1. Status Changed from Active to Accepted
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  1. Comment
    Carlton Nettleton
    ( Moderator )

    I give this a 4 out of 10 (10 being perfect)

    I like that you are talking about psychology and people stuff - we don't have enough of that discussion in our community.

    What would have made this perfect is knowing how long this session will be, what is the format of the session, how it will breakdown over the time allotted and how you plan to engage the participants in the their learning. In addition, I need to know more about how often this talk has been given and where.

  2. Comment

    Did people tick this just because it said "Kanban" and you want to know more? I like Personal Kanban and am in no monogamy with any Agile practice but find this a bit light on the detail too.

    Would like to see at least a "each attendee will get to practice building their own Personal Kanban board..." or something a bit more tangible.

    Or is this just an open discussion about a solution to being overloaded and finding a way to visualize that so you avoid the avoidable psychological impacts of stress etc? Would love to know more about how the session will run.

  3. Comment

    I'd like to learn more about Personal Kanban & you would be the one to learn from :)

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      Gerry Kirk

      Hey David, Jim and I plan to hold a workshop on Personal Kanban, either as part of the conference or adjacent to it. We'll keep you informed. :)

  4. Comment
    Sameer Bendre
    ( Moderator )

    Topic is close to heart because, we have been practicing PK since I got in touch with Jim online.

    Also, have LOT of questions on items we tried and failed, especially with Mgmt.

    I would still want to know few more details that @Carlton requested: Format, time and overall possibilities of what can be done next.

    Glad to see Gerry will be there and I'm bringing the book for autograph. :)

  5. Comment
    Jim Benson ( Idea Submitter )


    I'm not sure how to respond. I guess it will be about 60 minutes long. (Are there variable session lengths?)

    I've given variants of this talk 3 times before, I think. This year I will include a lot more about cognitive bias than in the past because we just released the "Why Plans Fail" eBook about cognitive bias and business planning.

    I'm not sure what formats there are. My talks are usually set up where I have a kanban at the front of the room with dozens of potential topics and I pull from that list while conversing with the audience. My talks are meant to be very conversational, but the idea density is very high - so I tend to talk a lot.

    Overall, the use of Personal Kanban and kanban has deep psychological and sociological impacts. Teams tend to have greater clarity of the purpose and composition of their work, they naturally collaborate more, they have a clearer grasp of the real time it takes to complete tasks or build things, etc.

    All of these combine to rapidly transform teams and projects.

    Kanban's influences on inter, intra, and extra-team communication is likewise deep. The additional clarity of the visualization causes unnecessary conversations not to happen and highlights conversations of real value.

    The kanban backlog of potential topics usually covers about 3 days of potential conversations, so perhaps my initial description here was seen as light because I was describing the talk and not giving a synopsis of it. Again, that's because each of these talks has been unique - tailored to and by the audience.

    This structure is intentional. I aim to demonstrate in my talks that the creation of a product - any product - is much better handled by a collaborative process than by simply reciting a plan.

    I look forward to seeing you all in San Francisco.

  6. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    I'd vote for this, sounds like it gets to the heart of what makes a team able to succeed.

  7. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    hi Jim

    there are 30, 60 and 90 min slots. If this is mostly a talk (versus a workshop style), then I might suggest no more than 60 minutes.



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