STATIK An Easy Approach to Designing Kanban Systems

When I first learned about Kanban, I too fell victim to the stereotypes that Kanban is an easy escape from Scrum keeping to timeboxes. Oh, how wrong was I! It seems that so many people stop reading when they read: “Start with what you do now…” and not continue with: “Agree to pursue improvements through evolutionary change.”

It was through the act of going through STATIK workshop that I discovered that no two Kanban systems are truly alike. “Why?” you might ask. “There are lots of organizations out there that run Kanban systems, why can’t we use one of those systems as an example?” This is where STATIK actually helps. STATIK stands for Systems Thinking Approach To Introducing Kanban.

STATIK - Systems Thinking Approach To Introducing Kanban
STATIK – Systems Thinking Approach To Introducing Kanban

Credits to Jose Casal and Mauro Strione

It is a series of workshop activities that allows you to do a deep dive in what practices and processes are currently happening when it comes to creating and designing Kanban systems. It allows you to understand both internal and external tensions. It allows you to analyze capabilities and helps you design a system that will work best for your service. This is where Kanban Zone can help where many other tools cannot or will not allow.

focus on what you love - start today

Whenever I am teaching Kanban Systems Design (KSD) through Kanban University, facilitating STATIK workshops, or when I am coaching Agile teams, I provide this template in Miro (shown below) as a starting point to help design your own Kanban systems.  I have always said to my students that it’s easier to design and manipulate in Miro and then translate it into the tool that your organization uses.

sample kanban system design

To my pleasant surprise, I was able to translate the template above into Kanban Zone in a shorter time than it took to create it in Miro. As a new user with no experience with the tool, and with less than 30 minutes of talking with Dimitri at Kanban Zone, we were able to quickly replicate the Miro-based Kanban systems template on a virtual Kanban board.

statik template kanban system

This Kanban systems template is available in Kanban Zone along with others that can be customized to meet your needs. Below are some example Kanban board templates:

kanban zone basic template
Kanban zone template design-delivery-devops

When going through designing Kanban systems in STATIK, we provide guidance on what could be helpful. Consider using the following techniques to visualize your work:

  • Swim Lanes (rows) – Easily done and can have numerous rows as needed
  • Colours – Card Labels can be coloured as needed
  • Checklists between workflow steps – Checklists can be either custom or templated as required
  • Ticket Aging (Dots, dates, etc.) – This is something that really impresses me. Being able to visualize aging tickets really helps us focus on finishing work.
Card Aging settings at Kanban Zone
  • Listing Pull Criteria – Can be included in the Explicit Agreements in each column and row
  • Use Avatars – Personal avatars can be uploaded to represent individual style
  • Indicate Blockers – Blockers force you to include why it’s blocked
  • Indicate Defects – Defects can be created as separate cards with linking functionality. The cool thing about linking this way, you can prioritize when the defect has to be completed. You can also capture defects within the card by creating a “defect” checklist on the card.
  • Visualize and manage external dependencies – linking can be both internal and externally identified
Kanban Zone Card Features

STATIK is truly a remarkable workshop and does an amazing job of helping people to understand their Kanban systems. If you are interested in exploring a STATIK workshop, please reach out to us and we would be happy to help your organization understand your current services.

This was a guest blog. Please review our guest blog disclaimer.

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About the Author: Stuart Oakley

Stuart Oakley
Stuart is an Agile Coach, Accredited Kanban Trainer, ICAgile Authorized Instructor, Change Management Trainer, Educator, Conference Speaker based out of the Greater Toronto Area in Canada. Constantly looking to build his Alphabet Soup of certifications. An active member of the Agile Community and Founder of the Halton Agile/Lean Network Meetup Group. To find out more about Stuart and Useful Change, please check out

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