7. september, 2007 — 1 Comment


I have been on the Getting Things Done wagon for well over a year now, and I'm a happy GTD'er. It's a great productivity framework for knowledge workers, because it let's you get stuff off your mind, so you can focus on the job at hand.

But I find myself thinking, that my personal version of the system is overly complicated, especially in stressfull periods. When the going gets tough, my GTD habits gets skipped. Piles start accumulating and the only routinely thing about my weekly review routine, is that it gets cancelled routinely.

This results in frequently having  a "Mind like boiling Water" instead of the wanted state of "Mind like Water".

The problem is this: The journey from the perspective of every piece of information through my system simply takes to long. There's a couple of queue and batch areas along the way, and these require me to sit down at the computer and process. When "sitting down in front of the computer time" is scarce, these queue and batch pools in the system gets totally out of hand. And then you have the pain...

So I have decided to fix this. And I'll use LEAN methologies to do it, and make a LEAN GTD system.

The lean principles

Lean thinkers and GTD'ers have a lot in common. Both parties obsess with system management, the difference is, that Lean Thinking is used in production companies, like car manufacturer Toyota, where it was first invented.

The objective of Lean thinking is to eradicate waste in the production process, or MUDA, as Lean Thinkers call it. MUDA is everything in the production proces that doesn't create value. This could be unnecessary storage and inventory. Unnecessary handling and transport.

Lean production systems are typically build very integrated, with no stopping once the process of building a product is started. Products are produced just in time, so no parts are made before there's a request further downstream Lean systems gets the production flowing with a minimum of waste and waiting. This is how I want my GTD system to be.

So I'll start the process of slimming my GTD system with the 5 basic LEAN steps.

  • Define customer value - what is the value created in the eye of the customer.
  • Map the Value Stream - chart the series of action that create the value. Banish activities that is wasteful right away.
  • Introduce flow - make the proces continously flowing by getting rid of queue and batch thinking.
  • Introduce pull - start acting on pull from the value stream instead of making stuff before it's needed.
  • Perfection - make better all the time.

So that's what's in store for me. Tomorrows post: LEAN GTD - defining customer value.


  • Jens Poder

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Jens Poder

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One response to A LEAN GTD System

  1. Gosh, this is so interesting! Thanks for posting it.

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