Clean Up The DONE Column

Jim BensonPrimers1 Comment

You have my word that after this post, there will be no more memegenerator pictures..post5

How do you know when to clean up your DONE column?

When it is full.

I mentioned in our first post in this series that we were showing our board to people in classes and on consulting engagements. The DONE column showed that we were really really productive. It was huge. It went on forever. Hundreds of completed tasks.

So, how do we clean up our DONE column?


Every Friday we meet and discuss what we’ve been doing and move the tickets from DONE into an archive column. For a physical Personal Kanban, this might be a box or a folder. We discuss what we did and how things went, focusing on areas of improvement.

But what happens if you are on the road for four weeks straight and you can’t have a retrospective?

This was happening a lot.

Not Everything Needs to be Discussed

Recently we have discovered that focusing on one or two main projects at a time, the retrospectives change considerably. We set up tactical boards for daily work and focus on that work. We are constantly asking ourselves what needs to be done, how our process is working, and what the best thing is to do next.

The DONE column still fills up with tasks, but now we understand the nature of these tasks. We are also starting to flag improvement ideas to discuss. We now pull those tasks in real time, as opposed to waiting for a retrospective. So Tonianne might come up with a few improvement tasks and we’ll discuss them the next morning.

This frees us up to archive routine or comfortable tasks when the DONE column starts to fill up.

This is the fifth post in the series – Are You Just Doing Things.  You can read the previous post here.

Written in Mesa, Arizona

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Jim BensonClean Up The DONE Column

One Comment on ““Clean Up The DONE Column”

  1. Maggie Churchville

    As an IT specialist, I have lots of long term and short term tasks on my Kanban board. I clear my Done column when it is filled or when looking at it no longer gives me a high. When I look at the board and the right side is heavily out of balance, unsightly and almost depressing, I know to immediately clear it and throw the notes away. Why keep them in an archive? Who will ever look at them? Throwing them away is cathartic! Staying in the present is much more fun. Great article, thanks.

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