Getting Projects Completed Before the Holidays with the 25 Priorities Kanban Board

Zuerichhorn "Heureka" my favorite spot at lake zurich

Despite what is happening in the world, I have been keeping myself really busy. Honestly, getting stuff done gives me deep satisfaction, and having a lot of great client conversations raises my energy level to the max. So, I personally feel that I am working on my mission to bring the Human Touch back into Global Mobility and my team is helping me along.

However, many of you work in corporations and don’t have the luxury that I have where I can choose how I spend my time and with whom I am talking. Many of you still feel the pressure of having a boss or someone to report to and their demands sometimes drive you crazy.

However, being “busy” is not the same as being “productive” so I wanted to share a method that has helped me over the last few years to feel a sense of accomplishment over the holidays. You probably will notice that this year the annual Christmas rush and madness will be different. Our common anxiety and fatigue level is again higher this year than in the past year and working towards the year-end might even seem less stressful this year because your adrenaline has been high the whole year. 

I wanted to list a few topics that I am observing in projects and coaching conversations and give you a method on how you can deal with them in a playful way. This is also an activity where you can involve your family because Family Success is a Team Sport”.

1 – Oil the Perpetual Machine

What I am observing inside corporations and what increasingly frustrates me is the lack of accountability and constant waste of resources and time. It reminds me of Jean Tingeluy’s artwork “Heureka” at my favorite spot in Zurich. Often it seems that many functions and positions are just there to maintain a well-oiled machine, but the value they add to the clients or companies they serve is minimal. You can oil the perpetual machine by learning more about generative AI and machine learning. Many functions will lose their significance shortly and I predict that we will abolish the old functional organizational models completely over the next five years. We should move towards the experienced-based models of organizations, network approaches, and what I call the “Flower of Hope”. (Check my latest publication The Global Rockstar Album for that)

2 – Reduce the Data Squash

We also use a lot of time correcting or searching for data because the original source does not contain the data or the data is flawed. We have to rely on our brains to remember specific scenarios so we can cover all exceptional circumstances. We hire more consultants to help us administer a workflow tool that does not deliver the data we need instead of training the data entry specialist in the Philippines or in India so that the data is entered correctly. We implement three levels of controls instead of helping the first handler of the data to deliver a zero-error quality report.

3 – Mend the Process Porcelain

Do you often chase someone because they forgot to take action on an item they were supposed to deliver so you can continue your process? You might be correcting processes and mending broken process porcelain because the decision-makers do not understand the process and just run around like a headless chicken. Sometimes you might feel like a mother at work trying to collect the toys that the children left lying around all over the floor. You pick them up so that nobody trips, but you are also not really noticed while you do your work quietly in the background. (My image here is that of the mended mask of Kylo Ren, an old Japanese tradition being showcased in a lovely way in Starwars.) 

4 – Feed the Digitalization Babies

Many digital processes still are in the baby’s shoes so they often need someone to check them and make sure that they are completed. I have been in arguments with my bank because they don’t offer a draft function so that I can enter payments right when I receive the invoice and execute them later when I have enough funds in the account. My payments regularly get stuck because of cash flow issues. Then I need to build an administration around the digital process. The funny thing is that here they always blame the customer. They hardly ever say: “This is an interesting idea and if we can help you with that we will consider it.” Still, I encourage you to feed the digitalization babies by giving them input, and food, and teaching them. It could easily be that nobody has ever thought of what you are telling them and that your input helps another genius to improve what is broken.

5 – Piece together the Lego Spaceship

The more digitally you work the more you miss the link between tools and systems (the rubber ring). Often you work with many different tools and providers, and then it is your responsibility to link them all and like LEGO build your spaceship from scratch. You might need to build a street or highway around a tool so that before you can build a linked system or even automate a process. It’s worthwhile bringing more minds to the table to discuss solutions and workarounds.

At the end of the day, we often feel exhausted and still, we feel we have not achieved anything meaningful. The secret to feeling good about your productivity, therefore, is in the system and how you visualize your contribution. One good method is a physical Kanban board. The Kanban board had a revival with “Agile”. I remember that I wrote an assignment back in Tassie in 1995 about Total Quality Management and came across Kanban then.

Another one is a simple shared team task list in a Google Sheet or XLS.

The 25 Priorities Kanban Board

In our team, we have developed a visualization method (The 25 Priorities Kanban Board) to help us prioritize work. I am a big fan of planning and consistency, so this method helps me keep track of my priorities and get stuff done.

You need 

  • A stack of colorful Post-it notes.
  • A few big pens.
  • A Poster of A1 size (I use my flipchart). 

Here is how it goes:

  • Five Pink Post-It Notes (Work Projects) – Here, you write down your five most important work projects to complete.
  • Five Green Post-It Notes (Home Improvement) – Write down five projects you wish to complete at home. 
  • Five Yellow Post-It Notes (People) – Write down five people you wish to connect with.  
  • Five Orange Post-It Notes (Love Tasks) – Write down five requests of your partner or children that you would like to fulfill.
  • Five White Post-It Notes (Self-Care) – Here, you write down five wishes that you will grant yourself.

You probably notice that you should focus on different life aspects too, and not just work projects.

 

 

 

Angie Weinberger’s Latest Song and The Global Rockstar Album



One thought on “Getting Projects Completed Before the Holidays with the 25 Priorities Kanban Board

  1. Pingback: Ten Commandments for the Global Mobility Manager

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