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Kanban and Scrum are different models for development system implementation. Kanban techniques involve continuity and excellent mobility. Scrum is based on short structured work sprints.

Kanban

Agile’s philosophy is adaptive planning, rapid implementation, and continuous improvement. That’s all Kanban can provide. The primary purpose of its implementation is to identify potential weaknesses in the process and eliminate them to make the workflow smooth and keep it at optimal speed.

When we talk about Kanban as a project management approach, we often mean the Kanban board. Kanban is an optimizing and managing workflows method to visualize processes on the Kanban board and continuously process work items. It embodies the work stages with columns, containing separate tasks for each stage: To do, In progress, Done, Hold, and others. Limiting work in progress at each workflow stage allows the team to do their best.

In other words, Kanban helps to optimize the existing process with a set of principles.

Change management principles:

  1. Start with what you are doing now:
  • understand the current process and practices;
  • follow current roles, responsibilities, and instructions.
  1. Agree to gradual, evolutionary change.
  2. Encourage leadership at all levels.

Service provision principles:

  • Focus on customer needs and expectations.
  • Develop rules to improve business implementation and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Manage work, not people; give people the opportunity to organize themselves.

Kanban also has a list of practices that implement these principles:

  1. Visualize the workflow.
  2. Limit the amount of work in progress.
  3. Control the flow.
  4. Make the work rules clear.
  5. Implement feedback loops.
  6. Improve together, evolve through experimentation.

Thanks to the Kanban method, PM understands what work the team implements, according to which rules, how many tasks it can handle per unit time, and what result it provides to clients.

When this understanding is achieved, the team improves tasks and processes. The procedure’s predictability increases at this stage, so the work process becomes uniform. Interaction intensifies, and with it, quality improves. The team is increasingly working independently as they get a deep understanding of risk management. 

Kanban’s structure is very flexible and can help the team become more dynamic and agile over time.

Scrum

A very directive structure compared to Kanban. Scrum requires detailed and restrictive planning and has predefined processes and roles.

Scrum is a flexible process that creates core business value for the consumer and does so in the shortest possible time. Also, each team member forms a value definition by discussing the current work state, prospects for development, and sharing experiences during daily 15-minute Scrum meetings.

Scrum quickly and repeatedly checks the actual software and focuses on teamwork and iterative development progress. Its goal is to deliver new software every 2-4 weeks.

The work is divided into smaller tasks that need to be implemented for a predetermined sprint period. It is highly recommended not to add new work items during the sprint, which forces the new job to wait for a new sprint and reduces the team’s ability to respond to change.

Within the framework of Scrum system, there is the concept of “artifacts”. This is a material work or value representation. Artifacts:

1) provide essential information that the Scrum team and the client need to know to understand for product development;

2) designed to ensure maximum transparency of crucial information and that all participants in the process have a common artifacts` understanding.

Scrum is used to do your job faster and more efficiently.

Scrum teams are usually assigned to run the Scrum Master, who is responsible for three Scrum separate stages and keeps everyone informed. The Scrum Master can be a team leader, project manager, product owner, and so on.

The Scrum Master is responsible for implementing the three Scrum traditional stages:

Stage 1. Sprint planning. The Scrum sprint usually lasts two weeks. The Master and the team review the remnants of the team’s products and choose the work to be done during the sprint planning phase.

Stage 2. Daily Scrum meetings. Usually, 15 minutes to check progress and ensure the amount of work assigned is appropriate.

Stage 3. Sprint retrospective. When the Scrum cycle ends, the Scrum Master holds a retrospective sprint meeting to evaluate the work done, return any unfinished work to lag, and prepare for the next sprint.

Scrum’s goal is not to create something in two weeks, post it and never see it again. Scrum encompasses “continuous improvement” thinking as teams take small steps toward larger goals. Scrum helps teams prioritize and distribute work more efficiently by breaking down and working on smaller parts.

Scrum VS. Kanban

So unlike Kanban, which is commonly used as a tool to visualize work, Scrum is a full-fledged framework, and you can “manage teams” within the Scrum system. The framework helps the team focus on continuous improvement and repetition.

Scrum is less flexible than Kanban but allows you to collaborate while maintaining a high level of team influence.

Scrum is more definite than Kanban. Scrum includes a set of “rules” that teams must follow. Kanban is most often used to visualize work. Many teams run Scrum on the Kanban board, but in these cases, they still run Scrum, not Kanban. Kanban is not so much a system with a set of rules to visualize the work.

Scrum is limited in time; Kanban is flexible. Scrum is performed on sprints, which are usually two-week work cycles. At the end of the sprint, the PM has a collection of finished work. No matter what the job. Kanban boards don’t have to have a start or end date.

Kanban board columns can be arranged in different ways. It is vital to keep a work track as it goes through the stages when you run Scrum. But in a non-Scrum-based Kanban board, the board columns can represent a jobs variety, not just work status. Columns can represent work that will be done monthly, a retrospective that reflects work that was done before, or anything else you need. Unlike Scrum, which has more specific “rules”.

There is no exact rule when a team should use Kanban or Scrum.

However, Kanban is more likely to suit you if:

  1. Your team needs a visual project management system.
  2. You need to understand at a glance where the project is.
  3. You are not in the engineering, product, or software development team.
  4. You run current processes and projects.
  5. Most of your work is not done in a short period.

The best part about Kanban is that you can pull out what works for you and discard the rest.

Scrum can be a powerful way to organize and prioritize the whole process. If you decide not to run the Scrum framework, you can still draw inspiration. For instance, if you don’t want your work to be limited to two-week sprints, keeping up with work would be helpful for your team to understand better and prioritize tasks. It can be beneficial for you if:

  1. You work in an engineers team, a software product development team, or as part of the Agile methodology.
  2. In your opinion, the team would benefit more from applying a slightly more rigid structure.
  3. You have a significant backlog.
  4. The team is motivated by fast deadlines and results.
  5. Someone on the team aspires to be a Scrum Master.

It is also common to combine the two when the team launches Scrum on the Kanban board.

Kanban and Scrum were created to help teams increase efficiency and productivity.

Scrum is useful for teams that have decided to undergo a complete transformation using the practices, frameworks, and responsibilities (roles) that the system provides. The fact is that the Scrum software will not help improve the work evaluation but only facilitate their documentation.

Kanban is much easier to accept and start with. This model allows you to create with what you already have and develop it without any requirements for the process or a team structure change. Kanban is in some ways much more flexible, adaptable to different environments, and valuable for visualizing and optimizing any workflow, regardless of context. Therefore, the choice of tool depends on the team and the project goal.