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Difference between Scrum and Kanban

Updated Dec 11, 2019

In the recent past, there have been some drastic changes in the project management evolution process. The most noticeable changes are in the form of effective project management tools that are being used for facilitating the process. In this article, we will take you through a quick run of the latest project management methodologies, namely Scrum and Kanban. We will help you gain an understanding of what is Scrum and how to use it. We will also discuss the definition and use of Kanban in project management. Read on to know more about Scrum Kanban features and the difference between Scrum and Kanban.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a project management framework that allows people to address complex and adaptive problems. It supports effective team collaboration in relation to the delivery of complex products. Scrum produces the desired results by delivering products in a productive and creative manner. The Scrum Guide, written by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, the co-creators of Scrum, explains the different features and aspects of Scrum in a clear and lucid way. The Guide explains the roles, events, rules and architecture of Scrum that binds its different aspects together. Scrum is lightweight and simple to understand. However, it can be difficult to master Scrum in depth.

Why use Scrum?

Scrum – an Agile process framework, is mainly used for the management of software development. It plays three main roles with the help of its lightweight prescribed elements.

These roles are:

  • Team
  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner

Scrum emphasizes on up-front planning. It also lays a lot of focus on the scheduling of activities that are later on followed by their execution. It needs careful planning, execution, and tracking, to deliver the desired results effectively.

When to Use Scrum?

Scrum can be used in the following cases:

  • When the customer may have a general idea about the product to be developed, but fails to have a clarity or deep understanding of the same.
  • When the cost and time estimations of project development are such that the Fixed Price approach has to be adopted by the developers. As Scrum has an adaptable and flexible nature, its usage becomes inevitable in the entire development.
  • When the product requirements are not clearly specified and changes can be expected during the various phases of development.
  • When the generated changes, features and ideas are likely to impact the upcoming stages of product development.
  • When the agreement between all parties can be categorized as an open scope or Time and Materials contract, then Scrum serves to be the best alternative as makes changes possible across the development process.

What is Kanban?

Kanban tools are useful for visualizing the work, limiting the work in progress, and optimizing the efficiency of the work on hand. In general, Kanban teams are trained to lay maximum focus on how to decrease the time for a project to complete – right from its start to the finish. A Kanban board is used for the purpose of improving upon the flow of work consistently.

Why use Kanban?

The following reasons show why Kanban is becoming more popular by the day:

  • In Scrum or XP, the release is not possible while an iteration is in process. This is not the case with Kanban wherein the user story can be released as soon as it is ready.
  • In Kanban, when there is an urgent request to be implemented, or there is an urgent user story, it can be moved to the top of the queue on a priority basis. The request will be taken care of as soon as a free slot becomes available.
  • Kanban establishes more complicated rhythms that may be difficult for development teams to figure out from the word go. However, its stable rhythms restrain iterations to the late stages of product development. The absence of iterations negates the need for iteration demo meetings and iteration planning. Kanban works perfectly well in this regard.

When to use Kanban?

The Kanban Method allows users to improve upon the delivery of their services and products in a gradual manner. Therefore, Kanban is best used when there is a need for eliminating bottlenecks in the system.

  • Kanban is also applied when there is need to reduce cycle times and improve upon the work flow.
  • Kanban helps in delivering steadily and continuously. It is also useful for projects that require faster feedback so that the changes desired by the customer can be made in good time.
  • In Kanban, there is an absence of sprints and iterations. Therefore, it is the framework of choice when users are more focused on work rather than the metrics of predictability and delivery. Kanban can be used when the focus lies on breaking the work into small pieces for the sake of effective delivery.
  • Kanban is also applied for work that has no large-sized backlog of features to concern team members. It is useful when work simply comes up for the team, rather than being pulled in by them.
  • Kanban is the right way to go in project management when there is no long-term goal or objective to reach. It is used when no prior planning is either important or relevant.
  • Kanban is mainly used when there is a need for quick fixes or there are small enhancement requests.

Why Scrum Process Is Better?

Scrum has many advantages because of its structured framework approach. In case the project demands more specific procedures and roles, then Scrum serves to be a better option that Kanban.

An increase in team accountability serves to be an important benefit of using Scrum instead of the other available options, such as Kanban. Scrum necessitates quick work movement and more meetings, often on an everyday basis. This in turn leads to a higher degree of transparency for all concerned parties. In other words, Scrum makes team members accountable for what they do.

With Scrum, it is easier to deal with the changes taking place in big projects. Scrum, which incorporates nimbler processes, is well-designed to manage whatever is called for. It is possible to take care of and accommodate changes with Scrum. The structuring, speed, flexibility, and tilt of Scrum towards small teams makes this framework a money-saver. It serves to function as a boon for small institutions, SMEs and startups - where bottom line figures are always a concern.

Why Kanban process is Better?

An important advantage that Kanban has in comparison to Scrum is that it requires lesser training and experience. Easy to understand and learn, Kanban can be introduced in organizations without much effort. Kanban boards are very effective for reducing time cycles and improving workflow. They also contribute positively to the enhancement of process flexibility.

While Scrum needs experts for its application in projects, Kanban boards can be easily used by general and skilled team members alike. As there are no time boxes in the Kanban board, there are no sprints. Therefore, the boards do not require any resetting to function; they go on flowing as long as the project requirements last.

Kanban vs Scrum: The Right Way?

With Scrum in place, users can benefit from the advantages of higher visibility and transparency. In contrast to Kanban and most other methodologies, Scrum scores more in this regard. It works well in case the work demands more collaboration and requires a fully integrated team for timely product deliveries.

On the other hand, Kanban works as a methodology that is flexible enough to imbibe various changes. With Kanban processes in place, businesses can be run with minimal wastage. This is because everything that can be trimmed, is removed to impact the delivery flow constructively. Additionally, it reduces the time cycles of projects to improve upon workflow efficiencies.

Conclusion: Scrum or Kanban?

The answer lies in your project demands and its time cycles. In case you have any further queries related to scrum vs Kanban, just drop us a line – we will get back to you at the earliest!