I dusted off my personal kanban about 45 days ago when I started at Rally, and it’s been a very interesting path since then. When I first rebuilt and updated the contents, the columns were Eventually, Midterm, Nowterm, Active, and Done, and they were essentially prioritization buckets so that I didn’t have to mess around sorting each of the individual items. Roughly mapped to Must Have, Should Have, and Could Have .
Last weekend, that changed. I was getting frustrated because I kept having to prioritize things I didn’t really _care_ about, but that I needed to do. It bothered me a lot that I couldn’t get to the stuff I care about, so I updated my columns again. My columns became Options , Proactive, Reactive, Active, and Acted. Suddenly I felt much better about things, because I could prioritize the things in Proactive in order of how much I care about them, how engaged I would be, and how distant the payback on my investment of time would be. Reactive, I prioritize based on a combination of ease and cost of delay.
It’s been working, but a pattern quickly emerged that bothered me. Either my active column was empty, or my active column contained the top item moved over my my reactive column. It didn’t tell me anything useful, it didn’t help me prioritize, it was just… there, taking up screen real estate without providing any value. So I zapped it. I don’t have an active column anymore, I just know I’m focused on the top item of one of the two columns that’s in the view. If I’m full of energy and wanting to engage, I hit the top of proactive. If I’m dragging a bit and just want to get some things done, but not pour energy in, I hit the reactive column. When they’re done, they’re dropped into Acted and left to languish with all their finished friends.
 Why bother with Won’t have?
 Options represents ideas that I don’t want to forget, but don’t have any desire to prioritize or work on now. Approximately weekly I skim that column to see if anything inspires me, but they’re roughly the “transient” class of service.