STATIK (Systems Thinking Approach to Introduce Kanban)

Maybe you already know Kanban, have some experience as a practitioner or supporting a team or maybe you’ve read something about kanban. And the idea of implementing kanban is in your main but you are not sure where or how to start. Maybe you are still deciding on kanban or scrum. Kanban is doing very well not only for software maintenance teams (it is what I hear most repeatedly) but in reality like any other agile methods, they depend a lot on the context. I have had experiences as an Agile Coach in teams that during the development of a new product have gone from XP to Scrum and then to Kanban. Because the conditions and restrictions of the project were changing. Although simple rules can be used to determine what kind of methodology to use (at least between Scrum, Kanban, Lean Startup, and Waterfall) depending on the degree of knowledge of the problem and the degree of knowledge of how to solve the problem, that is another story I’ll tell in another post.

If you have decided to implement Kanban in your team or your organization, this series of posts could help you on that journey.

Before go beyond, let me introduce what I do. I’m an Agile Coach working in the Agile Chapter team of Accenture Digital Spain, we support and accompany our clients on their journey towards the adoption of new ways of working as an accelerator of their digital transformation.

Some months ago one of our clients (a company belonging to one of the leaders of the banking sector in Spain) has needed to accelerate its infrastructure area and we have recommended implementing Kanban as part of its transformation towards new agile ways of work. Note that I have said that it is an infrastructure area, not properly software development.

So I prepared this workshop for our client, which I could later use for another internal client and then I wanted to share in the Agile-Barcelona Meetup and Agile Norte communities and now I want to share it with you.

Material and graphic facilitation for the workshop meetup.
STATIK workshop at the Agile-Barcelona Meetup.

Please note I’ve prepared the material for the workshop in a smaller format for working in groups over the tables. I used A3 sheets instead of the classic A1 flipchart paper. You can use whatever it works for your audience, but the general rule is to have a good visualization for the participants and everybody can see and read standing in front of the visual facilitation.

The idea of this post (or workshop) is not to explain what Kaban is, and the members of the team or area where Kanban is going to be implanted do not have to know what Kaban is at the time of running this workshop. Of course, at some point, the training of Kanban will have to be done. My recommendation for learning Kanban is playing with some dynamics or board games or directly doing Kanban. Of course, it is a good idea to explain briefly what Kaban is before starting the workshop.

What is Kanban?

Kanban Card.

From Japanese, Kanban is translated as ‘billboard’ or ‘signboard’. Kanban is a workflow management method designed to help you visualize your work, maximize efficiency, and be agile. Initially, it arises as a scheduling system for lean manufacturing, originating from the Toyota Production System (TPS). Today, David J. Anderson is known as the father of the Kanban Method and author of the books such as Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business and many others.

A scheduling system from the Toyota Production System (TPS).

CORE PRINCIPLES

  1. Start With What You Do Now
  2. Agree to Pursue Incremental, Evolutionary Change
  3. Respect the Current Process, Roles & Responsibilities
  4. Encourage Acts of Leadership at All Levels

KANBAN PRACTICES

  1. Visualize Work
  2. Limit Work in ̶ ̶P̶r̶o̶g̶r̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶ Process (WIP)
  3. Focus on Flow
  4. Continuous improvement

What is STATIK?

STATIK (Systems Thinking Approach to Introduce Kanban) it’s an exploratory and collaborative approach to implement Kanban. It helps to understand the current demand and dynamics, to design and implement a Kanban work model that allows increasing the efficiency and quality of the service through the culture and techniques of continuous improvement.

It is also a good tool to discover all the services provided by a team, its workflows, and its alignment with the purpose and expectations of the client.

The STATIK method helps answer the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the area? What are the services you provide? To Whom?
  • How is the current way of carrying out the work?
  • What are the sources of dissatisfaction?
  • What are the sources of demand?
  • What is the current service capacity?
  • What are the workflows? What kinds of services are there?
  • How to design a Kanban system that allows me to visualize and control the work?
Systems thinking and the elephant metaphor
Systems thinking (defined by Peter Senge), is a way of analyzing organization patterns from a broad point of view, instead of looking at small parts in isolation (the elephant metaphor).

Statik Steps

As an iterative approach, STATIK suggests you go through the following steps.

For each identified service:

  1. Understand what makes the business fit for purpose
  2. Understand sources of dissatisfaction
  3. Analyze the source and nature of demand
  4. Analyze current delivery capability
  5. Model the service delivery workflow
  6. Identify and define classes of service
  7. Design the Kanban system
  8. Socialize design & negotiate implementation

The STATIK method was defined by D̶a̶v̶i̶d̶ ̶J̶.̶ ̶A̶n̶d̶e̶r̶s̶o̶n̶,̶ ̶l̶e̶a̶d̶e̶r̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶K̶a̶n̶b̶a̶n̶ ̶m̶o̶v̶e̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ Mike Burrows in his 2014 book “Kanban from the inside” (thanks Bruno Baketaric). Recently, I had the honor to met him. My colleagues and I attended the Kaban Professional Management (KPM) training with him, and we’ve created a lot of insights on how to help teams and organizations on how to implement and manage Kanban Systems.

Facilitating the STATIK workshop

Although you don’t need to follow them in a specific order those steps and it is a good practice to revisit the steps for further improvement.

I’ll explain on individual posts how I facilitate every step. Please go through every STATIK step link above. I’ll do my best to posting every step as soon as possible.

STATIK Steps
My graphic facilitation for the STATIK Steps.

The first step of the STATIK method is Understand what makes the business fit for purpose.

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H. Javier Castillo S.

H. Javier Castillo S.

{ᴀɢɪʟᴇ ᴄᴏᴀᴄʜ · ICP-ACC® · CSM® · KPM® & ᴀɢɪʟᴇ-ʟᴇᴀɴ ᴇɴᴛʜᴜsɪᴀsᴛ} #agile #lean #scrum #kanban #sociocracy #facilitation #coaching #leanchange #transformation