Personal Kanban: Viral in Higher Ed Institution (Story 1 of 3)

I have long felt that Personal Kanban is a viral condition, spreading based on observing it’s use and then experiencing it. As our development team has used a virtual version of team-based Personal Kanban for many different aspect including administrative tasks, the curriculum development process, and the faculty recruitment process, it was thrilling to see other areas adopting Personal Kanban effectively.

This post is the start of a mini-series of stories on how Personal Kanban has infiltrated the fastest growing university in Ohio. Below is the story of the Finance office and the effect that it is having on the team despite only having used it for a relatively short period of time.


Marian has been nudging me toward Kanban literally for years, but I have quietly resisted, believing my clipboard with its “to-do” list was pretty much getting done what I needed doing; however, the more I watched her manage her career, team, education, family, ad infinitum, with this too-simple-to-be-true system, I thought “It’s time to give this a go.”   I bought a white board and six different colors of sticky-pads – a different color for me and each member of my immediate team. I divided the board into the three, basic columns: To Do; Doing; Done. I then, of course, put all of our projects on the board, on the color of the person leading the specific project, in the appropriate column.   In less than a month,

  1. Team members are sharing each others’ projects,
  2. Projects are moving from Doing to Done at a rate I would never have thought possible,
  3. People are beginning to move their own projects across the board, not waiting for our weekly team meeting, and
  4. For the first time in I-don’t-know-when, my desk doesn’t have a shred of paper on it! The first iteration that is about to take place is dividing the Doing column in half, into Waiting On Others and Waiting On Me sub-columns, or some such thing.
  5. After less than a month, we’re all into this!

Additionally, the Comptroller has discovered the value of this team-based Personal Kanban, and installed a whiteboard in his office to develop his own personal board!

Contributed by Rob Hartman, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President at Ohio Christian University

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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.