Software project management has surely changed significantly over the years. The addition of the Agile Manifesto in project management trends has let companies achieve more goals in less time. However, working in an Agile fashion requires picking up the right frameworks like Kanban vs Scrum.

So this article will help you choose the right way to achieve your goals with speed and without giving up on the software quality. It will help you spot the essential difference between Kanban and Scrum concepts. This includes several factors, including distinction through the Scrum vs Kanban board. Additionally, you will explore the good and bad of both Kanban Scrum. 

Kanban vs Scrum

This section will help you unearth the Scrum vs Kanban ideology.

01 Kanban Vs Scrum

 

What is Kanban? meaning, best practices, and example

Meaning of Kanban

The simplest answer to the question, “What is Kanban in Agile” is Kanban is one of the Agile approaches used to control and optimize workflows. It is popular for its visual representation through a Kanban board that shows work items which need to be managed. Once the tasks are visualized, the Kanban methodology limits the work-in-progress.
This ensures that the teams aren’t overburdened, and the workflow is smooth and without delays. Moreover, with the help of the Kanban board, the teams can regularly check the progress and make amendments to enhance the workflow.
Kanban Best Practices

  • Managing workflow
  • Visualizing the workflow
  • Creating feedback cycles
  • Limiting the work in progress
  • Enhancing team collaboration
  • Making clear process policies

Example of Kanban

Here’s one brief example of Kanban. Assume a software development firm uses Kanban to develop a new feature. The team made three columns in the Kanban board by the following names.

  • To Do
  • Work in Progress
  • Complete/Done

In the ‘To Do’ column, the team includes all the work items/tasks needed to be done to create the software feature. Once the team begins the work, the members will move the work items to the ‘Work in Progress’ column. However, Kanban restricts working on specific items at a given time to ensure the team is not overloaded.
So keeping that in mind, the team has set the work-in-progress limit to two tasks. Therefore, it works on the two tasks, and once it is finished, the team will add those tasks to the ‘Complete’ or ‘Done’ column. 

What is Scrum? meaning, best practices, and example.

Meaning of Scrum

Scrum has structured and well-defined processes and rules that teams must follow. Besides, it has roles like Product Owner (PO), Development Team, and Scrum Master (SM). 

Here are the main pillars of Scrums:

  • Clarity
  • Inspection
  • Adaptation

The Scrum framework requires detailed activities, including daily scrums, sprint reviews and planning, and retrospectives. All the tasks are divided into smaller portions that must be completed in a scheduled period (sprints). Furthermore, Scrum discourages adding new tasks in an ongoing sprint.


Also Read: 3 Reasons Why PO Should Attend Daily Scrums

Scrum best practices

  • Holding daily scrum meetings
  • Prioritizing the product backlog
  • Dividing work into sprints for two weeks
  • Inspecting work on a daily basis
  • Adaptation to change

Example of Scrum

Considering the same scenario as Kanban’s example, a software company is working on adding a new feature to a product. Currently, the team has a product backlog with all the requirements, bugs, and existing features that need to be resolved.
The team will prioritize the product backlog and plans to start working on the new feature in the upcoming sprint. The team will arrange a meeting and divide the new feature into small segments. Next, they will estimate the required time that each task will take.
When the new feature sprint begins, the team will hold daily scrums to collaborate and determine any obstacles. The team will use the scrum board to track the progress. Lastly, the team will deliver the product to the Product Owner. The PO will review the product and give feedback, so the team can start working on the next sprint.


YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vf4x0RQd74

Kanban vs Scrum vs Agile

Since Scrum and Kanban are quite the opposite of one another, it still brings questions to several minds. For instance, is Agile Kanban? Or is Kanban Agile? Likewise, many people think that Scrum and Agile are two different roads. In fact, this confusion is so infamous that interviewees often make this issue a part of Scrum interview questions.

02 Kanban Vs Scrum


So let’s look at the reality check given by the Associate Partner, Nicholas Carrier, at Prophet.

Agile is guiding principles. At the same time, Scrum Kanban are two frameworks that are known to be Agile. If you need to work using Agile principles, Kanban and Scrum are two ways to do it.

Agile itself is a project management methodology which is pretty popular in software development. Contrarily, Scrum vs Kanban shares this very same Agile umbrella.


Also Read: The Agile Leadership Trio: The 3 Pillars of a Scrum Team

Kanban vs Scrum – what is common in both Agile frameworks?

Although when it comes to Kanban vs Scrum, you will find several dissimilarities.

Team Working On Startup

However, there are also some noticeable common elements, such as.

  • Idea sharing and team collaboration
  • Cross-functional and self-organized teams
  • Both Agile methods used boards for progress tracking
  • Delivering work based on priority to satisfy clients’ and businesses’ demands
  • Work transparency to ensure continuous improvement to achieve a shared goal
  • Internal and external feedback is always welcomed to meet project requirements

Highlighting the main differences of Kanban vs Scrum

The disparity is not only of Kanban vs Sprint or Scrum board vs Kanban board. In fact, there is a vast difference between Kanban and Scrum.

04 Kanban Vs Scrum

 

Roles and responsibilities

The Kanban framework has two important roles:

  • Service Request Manager
  • Service Delivery Manager

The Service Request Manager is accountable for managing the policies related to the development process and consistency. This is to mitigate risks concerned with the individual and make corporate governance better.
The Service Delivery Manager ensures that all the work items pass according to the board. The person is also responsible for assisting the team during problematic situations and assists continuous improvement by recommending improvement activities.
On the other hand, Scrum methodology consists of the following roles:

  • Product Owner: Gives direction to the development team and manages backlog.
  • Scrum Master: Decides the timeline.
  • Development Team: Work on building solutions within Sprint

Planning criteria

Kanban encourages continuous planning, which means that all the tasks are decided and executed persistently. In comparison, Scrum is all about iterative planning. This means the tasks are planned in small, iterative cycles known as Sprints.

Work commitment

In Kanban, the team does not commit to particular work items. They commit to a maximum WIP. In contrast to that, Scrum teams commit to work items. If things go unexpectedly in the wrong direction, it’s a symbol of a Sprint failure or a call for the experts to complete undone work on time. 

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Just like the Kanban vs Scrum board have different features, both methodologies also have different KPIs to measure work quality and timely completion.


Also Read: Who Owns Quality in a Scrum Team – Exposing the Truths with Facts 

In Kanban, the essential KPIs to focus on are:

  • Cycle time
  • Lead time

Scrum has two vital KPIs, such as:

  • Velocity
  • Planned capacity

Meetings

Kanban does not limit the number of meetings you should arrange. But experts advise to at least have them in the following forms:

  • Daily meeting
  • Risk review meeting
  • Commitment meeting
  • Strategy review meeting
  • Delivery planning meeting
  • Operations review meeting
  • Service delivery review meeting

If you choose Scrum over Kanban, there’s no excuse to deny meetings. Here’s what you should meet up for:

  • Daily Scrum
  • Retrospective
  • Sprint planning
  • Sprint reviewing

Kanban board vs Scrum

Boards are one of the key factors to differentiate Kanban vs Scrum. Despite the fact that the Kanban board vs Scrum board provide visual assistance, both are used differently.
As stated earlier, the Kanban board has three main columns – To Do, In Progress, and Done. It is a continuous board where the Work in Progress (WIP) limits are implemented at each workflow stage. When the activity is completed, it is shifted to the ‘Done’ column and a new item is added to the ‘In Progress’ column from the ‘To Do’ list.
In the Scrum board, the team adds the amount of work into the Scrum backlog. Then, it puts the tasks in the Work in Progress at the end of the Sprint. Once the work is said to be ‘Done,’ the board is reset for another Sprint.
You can find various Agile project management software to create these boards. For instance, Jira Kanban vs Scrum boards are used by most organizations. 

Modifications

Kanban permits you to make changes in the middle of the project. Teams can iterate and strive for continuous improvement before delivering the project. But making amendments in Scrum is highly discouraged.

Delivery time

Kanban allows you to deliver products continuously as needed. In Scrum, you must complete the work within sprints so the PO can review it. 

Ideal applications

Kanban is best for projects with a broad range and varying priorities. Scrum is perfect for teams with constant and well-defined priorities which are not likely to change with the passage of time.


Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/SimplyAzodo/status/1570378250882519041

Kanban vs Scrum – pros and cons

Advantages and disadvantages of Kanban

05 Kanban Vs Scrum

Pros Cons
Enhanced visibility An outdated Kanban board may lead to problems in the software development process
Improved efficiency The board may become overcomplicated
Increased communication The stages are not time-framed, causing delays in work completion
Facilitate teams to focus on providing value to clients Not a good option for a dynamic environment

Advantages and disadvantages of Scrum

Pros  Cons
Scrum teams are more productive It can be complex to execute if teams are not aware of Agile methodologies
It helps reduce risks by dividing projects into Sprints You cannot change project requirements during an active Sprint
Transparency is of high importance between stakeholders and the team Meetings are compulsory, which can be time-consuming
This framework is adaptable to different teams and projects Not recommended for large teams and projects

Conclusion

For successful project management, you must have an understanding of the differences between Kanban vs Scrum. Both frameworks are important parts of Agile methodology with some similar traits and numerous heterogeneity. Nevertheless, if chosen correctly, both can be fruitful for the software development process.
At Slash, we use Scrum and Kanban Agile methods to ensure you are always informed about the development process and your feedback is incorporated into the software solution. Our experts are well-experienced with Agile frameworks and are masters at building result-driven digital products. Contact us to learn more about how our teams can help you. 

FAQs – Kanban vs Scrum

What is the biggest difference between scrum and kanban? The most notable difference between Kanban vs Scrum is that Scrum has defined activities, artifacts, and roles. Whereas Kanban is a flexible framework that restricts the work in progress. 

Is kanban different than agile? Kanban is a part of Agile. 

Is kanban part of lean or agile? Kanban shares principles of both Lean and Agile. As Agile has a strong focus over continuous improvement, and Lean encourages improving efficiency and eliminating time-wasting activities.

Does kanban belong to scrum? Kanban and Scrum are two different Agile frameworks and do not collide in any way. 

Why kanban is not agile? Kanban is known as an Agile framework, but technically, it is not a part of Agile Manifesto like Scrum, as it also involves Lean principles.

What is kanban vs scrum for dummies? Kanban is used as a project management framework based on visual activities for managing workflow. Scrum is also a project management framework, but it is more focused on helping teams to organize and manage work through different values and principles. 

 

Alex Lossing
Alex Lossing
CFO, COO
Alex has accumulated 15 years of experience as an Organization leader, Team Builder, and Agile Transformation Practitioner. He is passionate about new technologies, and Digital Transformation and Delivery. He believes that Agile, people and teams are keys to successful Digital Transformation and Delivery. Alex focuses on helping enterprises deliver their best-in-breed digital solutions, by always keeping in mind business values and delivery constraints. An entrepreneur at heart, Alex co-founded his own startup in 2011 and joined Slash.co as a partner in 2021 with a strong focus on Digital Delivery and Venture Building.
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