Kanban

Had a good chat today with @jasondowns and other people about Personal Kanban as a project management approach for keeping on top of the unending series of parallel projects that make up academic life.

Kanban literally means “sign”, “signboard”, or “name” and it came into use to describe the “just-in-time” parts delivery system because Ono [Taiichi Ono, manager and later VP of Toyota] had all the parts needed each day listed on huge signs hanging over the factory assembly lines.

But:

In its older use, kanban refers to the name of a company as well as to its product brands. […]

The older the Japanese company the more its “face” is bound up in its kanban, and the more protective the company is of who uses it and how it is used.

De Mente, Boyd Lafayette. (2011) Japan’s Cultural Code Words. Tuttle Publishing. p126-7

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