Some words on how to use Multikanban, the simple app to manage multiple personal projects.
So let’s just understand kanban as a to do list. A collection of tasks. At first, you’ll just have a kanban full of tasks like “learn photography”, “do my personal blog” or “clean my room”. At some point though, you will see that some tasks are huge, and when you finally grow the courage to tackle them, you’ll want to divide them into several other tasks. It’s the time for “learn photography” to become a new kanban.
You create a new kanban called “Photography”, and start creating all the tasks related to photography you can come up with, from simple ideas to obvious things. All these ideas and tasks are created in the “Backlog”, which is basically a pool of tasks, many of which you will do and many of which you will never do. “Read about what camera to buy”, “Ask Jake about what camera should I buy”, “Buy a camera”, “get a flickr account”, “read about landscape photography”, “timelapse of Barcelona”, “underwater photography”, and a long etcetera.
When the backlog already has some of the tasks I want to do and I feel I have divided them enough I then use it as follows:
At the beginning of every week I move the tasks I feel I will be able to do to the “To Do” column. With time you will learn to estimate better the amount of work you can get done (considering we have a life :D) but the idea is to define the most prioritary tasks out of random ideas that make no sense yet. I normally prioritize the tasks in the “To Do” column too. The first task is the one is should get rid of first and so on.
Every day, move to “Doing” what you feel you can accomplish during that day. If you feel very productive, you can also just grab tasks one by one, the idea is basically that it gets obvious what you are doing and what you are not doing. We suck at doing more than one thing at the same time, so let’s just do what we are good at, tasks one by one.
When you are done, just move them to the “Done” column. By the end of the week you’ll see what you’ve accomplished, and trust me, feels good.
The week is over and you feel good, well, time to move all the tasks from “Done” to “Archive” and depending on what is left in “To Do” (empty? Good job!) decide what to take from the Backlog to tackle next.
In “Archive” you’ll always be able to track all the work you’ve done since the project started.
You may have seen there is an “On Hold” column too. It is for those tasks that you are doing but you can’t proceed for whoever reason, you are waiting for someone else to send you some info, you need to go pick something on a specific date, etcetera… It’s to take noise out of what you are actually “Doing”.
In every column tasks can be sorted by date. This is pretty cool to learn which tasks have been wandering over for too long, its not always about what we feel like doing but also about what we must do.
There are many ways to use multikanban. Here, I explain the initially created examples that show different uses:
To do list: You can use kanban as a general to do list. The tasks don’t even need to have much to do with each other, it is just what you need to get done. Instead of marking them as done you just drag them to the done column, you can even use it as an agenda for events that are to happen long in the future.
A project: Something like the explained above “learn photography” or “create personal blog” are projects that involve several tasks, creating a kanban for each project is a very good way to categorize the tasks and to see the project you are doing in each project. Even prioritizing kanbans in the menu is a good way to go.
Books: So you read a lot. Well, you can simply add all the books you want to read and track them. Some books will be just friends recommendations (Backlog), others will be awaiting in your shelf (To Do), one or two will be half way through in the night table, and others will be blurring away in your head (Done/Archive).
The idea is that the app is minimal enough to enable the flexibility to use it at your own will. Here I presented some basic ideas and examples on how to use it but it should become a process that you adapt to your own needs and way of working. No two persons are the same after all!