Scrum vs Kanban

Businesses who have been closely working with project management tools would know that the names that dominate this industry are Agile, Scrum and Kanban methods. Until you have knowledge of these, it is not wise to use any of them in your project development methodology. With this blog we will explore more about Scrum vs Kanban and which you should choose.

Scrum and Kanban are two distinct project management methods that are frequently combined to provide a very efficient and smooth  development process. Whereas if we just talk about Scrum, then Scrum is a framework that enables scrum teams to handle complex adaptive challenges. Kanban is a workflow management strategy that helps kanban teams to manage and enhance work across the development process.. 

1. What Is Kanban?

Kanban is a visual representation of the project management task. The term Kanban translates itself from its Japanese origin which means “visual signal”. This tool is well-known in the fields of custom software development and DevOps. Kanban emphasizes on the openness and straightforward communication with Kanban Boards. These Kanban boards reflect the status of projects that are ongoing. Kanban relies on continuous improvement and uses cumulative flow diagrams to understand the number of work items in each state.

The ability to set Work In Progress restrictions is a useful feature of Kanban. These constraints might draw attention to inefficient backlog in the workflow of the team. This enables the team leader to troubleshoot the issues before they become a problem. When we work with Kanban, there are no specified roles and responsibilities of the team. The Lead- Project manager asks the cross functional team to collaborate  in every possible way. In this way each member will be involved in the planning process and it does not get overwhelmed for one person. When you adapt to Kanban as a methodology, you must practice these fundamental concepts like 

  • The workflow visualization should be apt. 
  • The progress of the work should be limited.
  • You must create specific process policies to manage the flow of work.
  • You must set a customer feedback loop and work on it
  • Team Collaboration allows us to evolve and grow. 

Kanban board is another essential part of this process which we will discuss in the later part of this blog. Now, we must try and understand the most competitive aspect of Kanban and that is Scrum. 

2. What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile process where complex tasks are divided into smaller parts and to be completed in sprints. It has been a hot selling potato when it comes to project management and its strategies. Scrum has made a name in the software development industry with its development process. It is able to handle complex projects easily with their agile practices. Scrum allows teams to focus on particular tasks for a short period of time. The entire process in Scrum is divided into sprints that can run anywhere from a day to four weeks, depending on the magnitude of the projects.

Businesses by now know that Scrum is fast-paced and provides continuous work. There is a fixed schedule predetermined start and completion dates. You also have restricted timelines, where the teams are compelled to break down large projects into smaller, more actionable operations.

Scrum sprints are composed of several stages, including sprint planning, sprint review, and sessions. Each phase is often monitored with daily Scrum meetings to discuss barriers, daily to-dos, or quick wins. The Scrum workability is based on three principles namely transparency, inspection and adaptability. The scrum process has a definite approach which goes something like this

  1. The first comes Product backlog
  2. Sprint planning
  3. Sprint backlog
  4. Daily scrum
  5. Increment
  6. Sprint review
  7. Sprint retrospective

It works like when one sprint is completed only then the whole team will move to the next sprint . Similarly for other processes too, every member of the team will move from one section to another. Each sprint is dedicated to a special team and that team performs a single role.

3. Kanban vs. Scrum Software Solutions

3.1 Kanban Boards

Project management is made easy with Kanban. Yes, Kanban is a well-known methodology for agile and DevOps software development process. It necessitates real-time capacity, enables communication and complete transparency of activities. Work items are graphically displayed on a Kanban board, letting team members view the status of each piece of work at all times.

Kanban board that is not required to be taken charge by a specific team that works cross-functionally. On the other hand, Kanban board is more concerned with the efficiency of a workflow. Furthermore, Work in progress limitations are established per process step in Kanban. This guarantees that bottlenecks do not arise in the path of process, or that if they do, they are quickly identified and addressed. Kanban encourages each team member to be a leader and share responsibility amongst them all.

A decent Kanban software or tool programme labels the columns on the board to represent workflow phases and sets a WIP limit for each column, limiting the maximum amount of work that may enter each work stage. The lead time and cycle time are the most essential parameters. Each of these metrics calculates the average time it takes for jobs to travel through the board.

The workflow can be easier and more streamlined if you know how much average time per job. Improving cycle times also implies that your team can implement the projects rapidly and efficiently.

3.2 Scrum Board

We have heard of how Scrum works efficiently and manages overall project management. And what makes this process easier is the Scrum tools. This tool is smart enough to manage and monitor your Scrum project status. It shows you what work is remaining on your product backlog, what items have been assigned to your sprint backlog, and how work is progressing inside your current sprint.

Scrum Boards can be physical boards that have notes or cards in them. They are more typically digital, online boards that can be easily incorporated with any third-party project management applications.

There are many companies who are using Scrum board and can now easily claim that adopting this collaborative platform has organized their sprints and saved them 70% of their time. They now have access to one another’s work and can cooperate across teams.

4. Roles

Both these methods, Scrum and Kanban have been a choice for businesses when it comes to developing an application on their own. While we know that both these methodologies work on their own terms. The scrum team of management is handled by majorly three roles when it comes to project management. One of them is the product owner who strongly overlooks all the product related activities starting from ideation, development and all other deployment activities too. Then comes the development team lead who takes care of each development needs and manages the overall development. The last and the main one involved in this Scrum method is Scrum master- he is the Jack of all trades in this process who has control over almost everything. Since Scrum master is the one who has planned and is behind the overall execution of the project.

The Kanban on the other side has no defined roles. There is a project manager who handles everything from scratch to end.

5. Meetings and Events

Meeting are an inevitable part of any project management while when it comes to Scrum it has has four “scrum rituals” that must be followed:

  1. Sprint preparation
  2. Scrum standup meeting every day
  3. Sprint evaluation
  4. Retrospective sprint

Involving Kanban does not include any such meetings. It goes with the flow and manages events based on a planned schedule.

After so much discussion, it is now time for a one-on-one countering about both these types of methodologies. Let us see each parameter of these two in detail 

6. Scrum Vs Kanban

Key metricsThe cycle time and the lead time are quite fasterThis process is overall faster in almost all aspects.
CollaborationExcellentMeets the expectation and best for collaborating
Roles and ResponsibilitiesThere is no specific role in Kanban. A project manager is the one who takes care of every small and big aspect of project management in Kanban. The team is already in close collaboration with each other and also raises a red flag in case the situation gets awry.Each team member in the Scrum team has a clear role, with the Scrum master schedules the timelines.The Product Owner shows what goals and objectives needs to be achieved, and team members need to carry out that task.
Priority & AccelerationThis follows a methodical process which enables team members to “pull” new tasks only when the prior job has been completed.Scrum works on “pull mechanism” which takes out a full batch of work in each iteration
Visual interpretationIt looks more like task based workflow and interactive visuals.This works on sprint-based working for all types of tasks.
Primary RolesProject ManagerScrum Master
Development CycleCycle time, or the time it takes to produce one whole element of a project from start to finish, is used to measure production. Sprints are used to calculate production velocity.Each sprint is scheduled back-to-back and/or concurrently, so that the success of the previous sprint is dependent on the success of the next.

7. Conclusion

To choose between Scrum versus Kanban approaches, consider your company requirements. Both of these methods are excellent for monitoring projects and keeping developers on pace for completion. However, which you use will depend on your demands, teams and ambitions. Choose properly, and your development lifecycle will flourish.

Itesh Sharma

Itesh Sharma is core member of Sales Department at TatvaSoft. He has got more than 6 years of experience in handling the task related to Customer Management and Project Management. Apart from his profession he also has keen interest in sharing the insight on different methodologies of software development.


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