Kanban vs Scrum Discussion

Kanban vs Scrum: What’s Better for Your Project?

Kanban vs Scrum: What’s Better for Your Project?

Deciding between Kanban vs Scrum can be a tough nut to crack, especially since these terms are often mistaken for one another and go hand-in-hand. However, there are some key factors that set them apart. 

What is Scrum all about?

Scrum is a framework that builds upon the Agile project management method. It’s a widely used methodology for handling projects, and keeping up rapid action, advancement, testing, and delivery of products.

Typically, projects are divided into two-week or one-month cycles called ‘sprints’. It’s the Scrum Team’s responsibility to keep the execution of pre-set tasks within the given interval, so the next Sprint may set off uninterrupted. Daily retrospective meetings are indispensable elements of a successful iteration. 

Related: Agile QuickTip: Kick off your Team with a Retrospective

What is the essence of Kanban?

Kanban is a frequently utilized agile methodology, characteristized by ‘visualization’. By contrast to Scrum, Kanban focuses less on deadlines and puts more emphasis on work in progress (WIP). Assignments and processes are added to a Kanban board, where team members can easily visualize them. It aims to identify and get past difficulties, enhance productivity and output, and make the pace of workflow consistent.

Since both approaches are iterative in nature, split projects into smaller pieces, and prioritize early product delivery throughout steady process improvement, there’s confusion over which approach is best suited to a given project — especially since a study shows  the two methods can successfully coexist in projects. 

Kanban vs Scrum: Differences in cadence

As mentioned, Scrum progresses quickly to meet each Sprint’s deadlines. Due to relatively short iterations, complicated assignments are broken down into more manageable pieces which facilitates team adaptation and learning. Sprints are handled via planning, review, and Scrum meetings on a daily basis.

Kanban’s primary goal is to keep the workflow running and alert the team about altering priorities. A Kanban board perfectly serves this purpose, as it lets the team keep track of tasks that can be uniquely categorized. Often used labels include “To do”, “Working on it”, and “Stuck”.

Individual delivery methods in Kanban vs Scrum

In Scrum, the final product delivery happens ideally at the end of each Sprint. During the Sprint review meeting, the team decides whether the Sprint Goal (the team’s predetermined objective) may be released or not.

Kanban doesn’t operate on fixed deadlines. Therefore, updates are delivered as soon as they are finished, irrespective of whether they were ready earlier or later than expected.

Important metrics used in Kanban vs Scrum

Undoubtedly, speed is Scrum’s most significant metric, providing a great reference point for how heavy workloads can be in future iterations.

Kanban relies heavily on cycle time, which indicates how long it takes for an assignment to reach the finish line. Boosting this metric is crucial for the efficiency of Kanban teams.

Different accountabilities in Kanban vs Scrum

Scrum accountabilities are built on three specific pillars: the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Developers. The first advocates for the customer, promotes developer task-prioritization, and handles the product backlog. The second guides the team to achieve optimal results. Lastly, the third delivers increments and requested business values.

Would You Like To Improve Your Skills As A Scrum Master Or Product Owner? Check Out Our Available Online Classes!

In Kanban, there’s one collective team working on the board. Sometimes a coach is appointed for better coordination, but these teams usually operate based on mutual responsibility.

Which framework fits your project best?

There’s no clear answer to this question. It’s all project, team and goal-dependent. We’ve identified key considerations to help you decide what will work better for your project:

  • Customer-centric approach:
    Scrum is your go-to method. Feedback is the backbone of any Scrum Team, helping them learn what’s best for customers, and refocus priorities accordingly
  • Framework with milestones and boundaries:
    Choose Scrum, since its limited flexibility may foster better productivity, efficiency and output
  • 10+ people in your team:
    Consider Kanban. Scrum is suitable for smaller groups because of daily meetings and fixed deadlines; Kanban is ideal for bigger teams that mostly work on a collective board.
  • Changing project goals or priorities:
    Pick Kanban. While Scrum operations are more prone to stoppage due to delays, Kanban processes usually don’t build upon one another. It all comes down to continuous update release. When there are several different requests in varying size and priority and one process runs up against obstacles, the others will keep going.

Still not sure? Talk to one of our experts about whether the Scrum methodology is a good fit for your organization.

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