Monday 28 October 2013

Weekly progress: Completed models, cool wallpapers and tinkering around with Kanban

Some of you may remember the ridiculous exclusive I achieved about Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon. (Beasts of War did manage to get some footage up the following month, but I broke the game-play picture scoop!) Well, while following back a referral from a lovely German forum over the weekend, I spotted some thumbnails of some more pictures. A quick search of the Slitherine website found a forum post with some pretty Armageddon Wallpapers. Get them while they're hot!

How did people find my "Infinity Week"? It was a bit of an experiment for me. Daily posting isn't something I'm going to be able to do that often, but I had enough material and blitzed everything over the weekend and scheduled it out. So, what have I been doing over the course of the week?

My darling wife had a bit of a word about my Kanban Board. I showed her the layout I'd been using and as an impartial observer, she prodded some holes in it. I'd upped my "Work in Progress" in the painting column to 6, with the intention of every two things moved out of it, I'd reduce the limit by one until it was back down at 3, which would keep things moving. She pointed out that would just slow down me dealing with the underlying problem. I also have two completed items in the assembly column waiting to move into painting, so it wouldn't really help move much along, just maintain an already too high work in progress limit. She also rightfully pointed out that preparation and assembly should probably be combined, which I did, causing yet another over limit column.

(I've also added a limit on my "to do" column, which is items I've bought, of the current items I've purchased but not started. I want to get this down from 136 to about 100, though I'm not sure how long this is going to take. That one I _am_ going to keep at the higher limit, and work a "2 out, 1 in" policy, otherwise I will be Very Sad. However, any new items should now be going right on the top of the column so I pick them up as my next thing to do, which should cut down my ridiculous habit of buying something to paint up at some point in the future.)

Anyway, on to things I've actually done!

There's now five of the corpse tokens finished, and I've decided to go with the method on the bottom left - a layer of water effect, washing over that layer, then once that's dried, another layer of water effect. So I have another five of those to complete.

The disk for my friend's Herald of Tzeentch is now done - just the Herald to get done now! I can see some pink in my future...

Three of the Marionettes are getting much closer to being done - just some last details to pick up, and they should be ready for basing.

However, Collodi himself and the other Marionette are both ready for basing! I'm incredibly pleased about this as they've been something I've been working on FOREVER.

Now, this leads on to an interesting observation. On my Kanban board, all that's happened is this:

Collodi has moved into the basing column - because the Marionettes aren't all painted, and the disk is done, but the Herald is not. There's a ton of work which isn't showing, because it isn't finished in the stage it's at.

Now, I'd show my normal spreadsheet at this point, but quite frankly, it looks like a flat line - that massive pile of incomplete work means that any day's work just doesn't have an opportunity to show up. So, I stripped down a copy of the sheet to only include items that I've started on the Kanban board.

So, each of the two systems has its own advantages. The spreadsheet shows that I've done something, but gives a false sense of progress in terms of getting things finished.

The spreadsheet also shows something else interesting - until last week, I tried to focus on doing a massive blitz each weekend - notice the complete and total lack of progress . . . I then changed to trying to do a little bit each day - for much better results. It broke down the barrier of me wanting to sit down at the painting desk, and even on days when I wasn't really in the mood for painting, some little bits and bobs got done. Given the success of "paint a little each day", I intend to continue with it wherever possible.


  1. I love seeing other people's Kanban boards, it makes me feel a lot better about the crazy amount of things I've got going on in mine!

    I haven't experimented with putting limits on yet as I've basically inverted the x/y axis to show progress on individual armies. I'll try and get a blog post up this week to show where I'm at.

    1. I'll be curious to see that! I actually have a kànban certification, and the work in progress limit is very important. The theory is that if you want to get things done, the most efficient way of doing that is to only have as much stuff "in progress" as you can actively work on. The long term goal is "just in time" delivery and limiting unused inventory.

      If I hadn''t bought my massive mountain of unpainted and untouched figures, I would probably have paid my credit card off by now! The log term goal is that anything I buy, I start work on inside a week or so. It means I will have more time and more money.

  2. Cabin Bored ? I'm guessing you've seen Admiral Drax's painting chart ? I think that if it acts as some sort of incentive to progress then some sort of action tracker might help. But I have too much to keep track of. As I uncover it, I might do something, but generally it will sink back beneath the sea of it's fellow WIP projects.

    1. Kànban. :-P

      It's a project / work management technique to try and encourage you to get more things done. It took me a bunch of time to set up the tracking system, but now it's there, it's very useful... And a sea of WiP projects is why I started focussing on finishing them!

    2. Ah, and thereby hangs the rub. Finished projects means more projects start to fill in the blank space left by completion. Completing projects is not always good for the wallet....

    3. That's quite true - I'm currently trying to get my "not started projects" list down to about 100 things rather than 136. That will probably take the next year or so. The current plan is to reduce the limit by one for every two items that get done.

  3. I could have sworn that I'd already commented here. Althought I have been losing the plot lately. More than usual. A post brimming with goodness! Loving those corpse tokens, I might have to borrow the technique using water effects etc. Those marionettes are suitably creepy with that colour scheme, bloody superb. As for painting, I've been trying to blitz at weekends, and it started well but is slowing a little, might have to try shifting to a little bit every evening too...

    1. I've gotten the last five corpse tokens done since this post, and I'm still feeling like it's not quite right somehow. Some of them are definitely not quite murky enough...

      The GW washes are definitely not the right product to be mixing with them - in some ways I've been mildly sabotaged by my own impatience, rather than going out and buying an ink, which is what my wife told me I should do. I think I should probably go and do what I was told and see how that turns out...