Ideally, all projects are suited for either scrum or Kanban – by Trevor Ewan
When thinking about project management methodologies, we often confuse whether we go for Scrum or choose Kanban for our project. It is better to know the main differences first. You can choose one or you can use both and get most of the benefits from them. Let’s discuss some of the key differences between Scrum and Kanban.
Differences between Scrum and Kanban
Some teams are getting the best of both worlds by combining techniques from scrum and Kanban, by using either Scrumban or their own unique methodology. A comparison of Scrum and Kanban shows that they are similar in many ways. Both embrace and are derived from the principles of lean and agile project management. Both support early and frequent delivery, self-organized teams, continuous improvement, high quality, and the prioritizing of requirements based on business value.
Scrum tells you how to work while Kanban tells you how you’re working. by Paul Klipp
Here are some major differences between Scrum and Kanban:
Both Scrum and Kanban are agile methodologies but Scrum follows a process framework and provides detailed rules, roles and responsibilities. Kanban, on the other hand, is a change management method, doesn’t describe specific set of roles, responsibilities and process steps. It starts with incremental and evolutionary changes to the system.
In Scrum, a product backlog is created and is prioritized based on customer feedback. Items in the backlog are then pushed to fixed set of iterations called sprint using strict set of roles and responsibilities. In Kanban, tasks to be done are divided into visual workflow states like To-Do, In-Progress and Done and each of the workflow states has a maximum items threshold that can exist at any point in time, in each of the columns.
Concept & Meaning
Scrum is based on embracing change and continuous improvement by allowing customer feedback in every sprint. Kanban is emphasized on Getting-Things-Done (GTD) basis, i.e. How many tasks of the project are done and how many are pending?
In Scrum, the project is divided into smaller chunks called sprints, tasks are pushed from customer or product owner to the backlog and team pulls the tasks from backlog to sprint with a strict rule of commitment. Whereas, Kanban is based on WIP (work in progress) limit, i.e. maximum limit that can exist in a column to get things done.
Scrum main artifacts are product backlog, user stories, burn-down chart, timeboxing and sprint backlog, while artifacts of Kanban comprise of just a visual board view which have specific workflow states like To-Do, In-Progress and Done etc.
Roles and Responsibilities
Scrum emphasizes on various roles and responsibilities to take over the project, which include Scrum Master, Product Owner, Product Customer and Scrum Team. On the other hand, Kanban starts with existing roles and the main focus in Kanban is to stimulate continuous, incremental and evolutionary changes to the system.
In Scrum, each item in the sprint is estimated and further divided into task for granularity. In Kanban, team creates a fixed size item and doesn’t require to divide into sub-tasks or sub-items. Estimating is optional in Kanban.
The biggest difference between Scrum and Kanban is that one is a development framework, and the other is an improvement strategy. Scrum is most useful when a new team is starting on a project. It tells them what to do and how to do it. A Scrum team that starts using Kanban visualization is still a Scrum team. They are just using Kanban to improve how they do Scrum. Kanban allows a good infinite velocity that seems less affected by period in the scrum, day of the week and other peoples’ vacation schedules. On the other hand, Scrum relies more on consistency in the team and hence, it is immensely organized and collaborative.
In our next post of the agile project management series, we will discuss on how to choose the best project management tool/software that fits our needs perfectly and what factors are important to look for.