Introducing the STATIK Canvas

Update (2018)

For the up-to-date version of this STATIK A3 paper, please see this more recent post. You can also download the paper from my firm’s website.

The Original Post (largely relevant still)

I’d like to introduce a new simple tool, the STATIK canvas. STATIK is an acronym that refers to the Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban in Your Technology Business.

Kanban (in the knowledge work context) is an evolutionary improvement method. It uses virtual Kanban systems as a way to catalyze improvement and adaptive capabilities. A Kanban system is introduced into the environment which comprises the service delivery team and its customers and partners. This is a critical moment. Systems thinking is key!

It is not the goal of this post to explain STATIK, it is rather to introduce the canvas and let people download and try it. Therefore I’ll skip this explanation and encourage the readers to explore the key STATIK resources:


The proposed STATIK canvas is roughly the size of an A3 paper. It is intended to be filled in by pencil and capture only the most important stuff. The following are instructions by section.

1. Context for Change

This section captures the internal and external (from customer’s perspective) sources of dissatisfaction and variability. Stories collected in this section often contain words that reveal work item types, hidden risk information, odd patterns of demand, unmet expectations (used in Section 2 – Demand Analysis), external and specialist dependencies (Section 3 – Workflow Mapping), implicit classes of service (Section 4).

2. Demand Analysis

This section contains the demand analysis template introduced by Dave White. The following information is collected for each work item type:

  1. Source – where the requests to deliver this type of work item arrive from
  2. Destination – where the results of work are delivered to
  3. Arrival rate. This must be a number of requests per unit of time. (“We have 300 items in the backlog” is not good enough. If you get this answer, ask where they come from and how.)
  4. Nature of Demand – note any patterns.
  5. Customer’s delivery expectations, even if unreasonable.

3. Workflow Mapping

Map the workflow for each work item type. Note the similarities and variations. Pay attention to concurrent and unordered activities, too. Note external dependencies, specialist risks, etc.

4. Classes of Service

For each work item type, specify which class(es) of service are being provided, their policies and delivery expectations.

5. Input and Output Cadences

Specify them for every work item type.

6. Kanban Board Visualization Design

This section is intended to be a simple sketch helping the delivery team, manager and coach figure out the major outlines of the visual board. These may include swim lanes, two-tier structure, use of colour, etc. There should not be any need to make this section a miniature replica of the actual board.


Here is a number of things I hope to learn by trying out this canvas. I expect its design to improve as a result.

  • Whether the canvas is helpful to capture the thinking process of introducing (or updating the design of) a Kanban system
  • Whether it is helpful to hang the canvas near the Kanban board to help remember why certain visual Kanban board elements are the way they are
  • The relative proportions of the sections
  • Level of detail or instructions needed in each section
  • Whether the “Roll Out” section belongs in the canvas
  • Any surprises, things I don’t expect to learn
This entry was posted in Kanban and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Introducing the STATIK Canvas

  1. Adrian says:

    What’s your take on using a virtual version of Kanban for building STATIK canvas?
    We’re just one the verge of introducing in our company.

    • azheglov says:


      The STATIK canvas is not a Kanban board or a visualization of a Kanban system. It is intended for summarizing and organizing your thoughts about designing a particular Kanban system and doing it concisely on a relatively small piece of paper.

      If you’re looking to introduce Kanban tool in your company, ask what you’re introducing it for. Ideally, it should be to help you manage and improve delivery of your services using Kanban systems, perhaps automating some aspects of those Kanban systems. This makes it a central question, how do you design a Kanban system for a particular service within your company? This is where STATIK comes in. STATIK is mostly a thinking process and this canvas is to support you through it.

  2. Pingback: (kanban) statik canvas | notes to self

  3. Pingback: Time to Update the the STATIK A3 | Connected Knowledge

  4. Pingback: S.T.A.T.I.K. - Chronicles of Inspiring Testing

  5. Pingback: Implementing Kanban – Is step 8 in STATIK the most important one? – Michael’s lean and agile musings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s