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Blog

How to Use STATIK to Smoothly Implement Kanban

24 Jan 2020

STATIK stands for Systems Thinking Approach To Introducing Kanban.

This method aims to shed light on how the system operates as a whole instead of preoccupying itself with individual components. This hands-on knowledge streamlines the implementation endeavor for businesses of all shapes and sizes. 

STATIK is rooted in systems thinking, which looks at organizations from a broad point of view. It essentially maps each step of the transformation journey you need to undertake. This set of steps isn’t sequential, but iterative in nature, which is in line with the core Agile philosophy. 

Step 1: Finding Purpose 

The first thing to do is to identify what the customers are likely to place a high value on. 

In other words, you have to ensure your product/service are fit for purpose— addressing real needs and responding to their shifts. 

Therefore, consider how your service delivery impacts user expectations and satisfaction. Set up key performance indicators (KPIs) that guide necessary changes and improvements.  

Moving on, run elevator pitches past stakeholders and see how they react. Explain who you are and what it is you do and have an open discussion. 

These preparatory steps help you move forward with a strong sense of purpose. 

Step 2: Gauging Dissatisfaction 

Secondly, STATIK encourages organizations to uncover sources of dissatisfaction within the system. 

You can do this by simply asking customers what they are unhappy about. Their feedback is essential to designing the well-functioning Kanban infrastructure and overcoming implementation hurdles.  

At the same time, see if the team(s) face any obstacles that could cause internal dissatisfaction. Make an attempt to do away with these problems sooner rather than later. 

Ideally, by fixing one of two issues (internal or external) you fix the other one too. Either that or you reduce resistance to change and mitigate the tension between your ideas and the reality. 

Step 3: Demand Analysis

The next step is a detailed demand analysis. 

This step overlaps with the first one, but entails a deeper dive into the nature of demand and work in progress. In layman terms - what is your team or organization working on at the moment and how new work is agreed upon.

Furthermore, this stage involves the identification of work types, as well as types of requests. Here, the main challenge is how to strike a balance between sufficient detail and convenient abstraction. 

Step 4: Capability Assessment 

The next step focuses on assessing capability. 

You rely on historical data to closely investigate past efficiency of the way your team or organization works. You can do this via a cumulative flow chart as your primary tool.

Some vital data points to prioritize are quality (functional and non-functional), predictability, regulatory compliance, and lead time. On top of that, some organizations track flow efficiency, in the light of effort and time invested.  

It may also make sense to compare present capability (latest activities delivered) with stakeholders’ expectations. The gap between them holds culprits behind dissatisfaction, which ties into the second step. 

Step 5: Workflow Modeling 

Once that is sorted out, you can proceed to the fifth stage, which is called workflow modeling. 

It’s typically conducted for each work item type. Here, STATIK heavily borrows from Lean Product Development and workflow mapping. 

The process plays out like this. You chart the sequence of major steps in order to uncover new knowledge on problems, workflow, functionalities, and business domains. 

You probably know certain activities yield more value than others. But, what many overlook is that a law of diminishing returns inevitably kicks in, forcing us to always seek new dominant activities to inform the development and satisfy demand. 

Step 6: Classes of Service 

Step 6 requires you to discover classes of service.

This concept entails a set of policies that define our approach to dealing with work items. In essence, this step is mostly about the varying levels of priority that certain work items will have.

For instance, it could determine whether an item warrants specialist treatment or extensive testing.  Some items also call for expedited delivery, while others can be delivered at a later date. 

In any event, classes of service play a pivotal role on the account of their influence on the planning horizon. 

Step 7: System Design

The penultimate stage is related to developing the Kanban system.  

This step will be informed by all the previous steps, almost guiding you to creating a system that will best suit your team’s or organization’s needs. In this step, you will cover ticket design, board design, and agree upon meetings that will help you improve your system over time.

One good tip here is to keep the system as simple as possible and then evolve it over time.

With this baseline established, focus on putting your system learning and vision to good use. Try not to overcomplicate things from the get-go. You can always add layers of complexity and evolve the system gradually. 

Step 8: System Rollout 

Finally, you have to socialize the design and commence negotiations regarding implementation. 

Kanban prescribes collaborative workshops and boards as a means of achieving this objective. In theory, all stakeholders can take a slice of ownership over the system and its design. 

Of course, getting a buy-in from leadership carries a lot of weight and remains paramount to smooth implementation. It’s a good starting point, but you should take things a step further too. 

Harness the power of cross-functional groups, units that include customers and other external stakeholders. Incorporating and acting on the feedback propels you to the finish line. 

Closing word

STATIK paints a comprehensive picture of Kanban transformation.  

It tells you not to observe moving parts in isolation, but as pieces of a larger puzzle, a living organism that is your business. Think of it as a step-by-step, iterative venture of achieving organizational maturity and operational prowess. 

Before you dive in though, do your homework. Familiarize yourself with the basics of Kanban and STATIK. Make sure everyone involved in service execution is on the same page. 

Remember you don’t have to follow a strict order or even perform all the steps from the list. Do only what suits your specific needs and business case.