Kanban vs. Scrum: What Are the Differences Between Scrum and Kanban

Scrum vs. Kanban is a popular topic. Let’s explain the details now. Because of the questions raised about the possibility of implementing Agile working methods, in particular, Scrum and Kanban, and what they represent and what benefits they would bring, we would like to bring more clarity.

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The article is inspired by the publication on ScrumTime’s website titled Kanban vs Scrum? What Are the Differences but we introduced many more details and very useful tips.

Scrum and Kanban are both Agile techniques

First, what is Agile?

Agile offers principles and values ​​of work and workflow that are increasingly needed in software engineering. The goal is to address and respond to the dynamic environment and any changes and innovations when developing a new product or service.
Agile is an iterative software development approach that highly values ​​communication and feedback, adapts to changes, and delivers a working product.

There are four values ​​in Agile.

  1. People and relationships are more important than processes and tools
  2. Running software is more important than complex documentation
  3. Collaboration and working with the client is more important than contractual relationships
  4. Responding to change is more important than strictly following the original plan

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile process that helps to achieve certain business value in the shortest possible time. It quickly and repeatedly checks the actual working software. He focuses on teamwork and the iterative progress of the software. Its purpose is to deliver new software every 2-4 weeks. These intervals are called “sprints”. Scrum has defined roles as Scrum Master, Product Owner, Product Manager, and casts such as Daily Scrum meeting, sprint review, and more.

Are Scrum and Agile the same?

Scrum is one of the frameworks used in the Agile approach. Scrum and Agile are like “football” and “game”. Scrum is an Agile frame, just like football is a game. However, there is an interesting fact about the Agile model itself. Scrum was successfully used and documented and eventually became the basis of Agile programming.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a dashboard that records tasks and sorts them according to their status. In other words, a visual job management system developed by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka back in 1986. It visualizes both the process and the actual work that goes through it. The main purpose of Kanban implementation is to identify potential obstacles in the process and to eliminate them. The goal of Kanban is to keep the workflow running smoothly at optimum speed. Gradually, Kanban is shaping up to be a work methodology like Scrum, but without such strict roles and responsibilities.

Why use Scrum?

Scrum methodology can offer project management for almost any business. Using Scrum, the development team becomes more agile and finds out how to respond quickly to sudden changes.

Also, Scrum addresses the complexity of the job, making the information transparent. This helps the team to check and adapt based on current conditions instead of predefined ones. It also helps team members deal with various surprises stemming from ever-changing requirements.

Scrum Board – There is usually no limit to the exact number of tasks. The scrum master and team plan the number during the Sprint Planning meeting.

When to use Scrum?

Scrum methodology is used in a project where the requirement changes rapidly. He works through self-organizing, multifunctional teams. The Scrum framework is usually concerned with the fact that conditions are likely to change quickly or, most of the time, are not known at the beginning of the project.

In Scrum, low-level requirements are defined only at the beginning of time. In this methodology, changes and optimizations of the product, requirements, and processes are an integral part of the project.

When to use Kanban?

Kanban dashboards allow you to manage work on software development projects visually. This helps team members see unfinished work. It also helps them understand complex information such as processes and risks associated with completing work on time.

The Kanban dashboard is proven to be effective by helping team members become more productive while reducing the amount and workload experienced by project managers and team members throughout the project lifecycle.

The Kanban method is used mainly with the idea that reducing and limiting the tasks that teams work on should reduce the possible number of defects and reduce the dispersion of teams, which in turn should increase their productivity. The Kanban software development method should be applied if the team has a process that works well but still needs some optimization. The Kanban process allows them to improve their entire process gradually.

Scrum methodology vs. Kanban methodology Comparison

Scrum prefers planning. It starts with sprint planning and ends with a sprint retrospective. Many meetings help ensure that the team is consistent with the next steps, priorities, and knowledge from previous sprints.

Kanban is open to making changes on the go. This means that there is less rigidity, and things can change often.

It focuses on planning, and so task evaluation plays a significant role in Scrum

Kanban has no mandatory assessment requirements.
Everyone has their role and responsibilities

There are no roles assigned and offers flexibility regarding individual responsibilities.

In medium and large companies

In small companies with small teams that do not spoil micromanagement

Iterations/sprints are fixed in duration. This duration varies from 2 weeks to 1 month.

Kanban is not based on length of service. Each task is downloaded from the backlog and work on it is completed

Teams are required to do a certain amount of work. There is no such requirement.
Multifunctional teams are important because they can handle any interference that can cause software development.

It is necessary to have a separate and specialized team

It is not possible to add tasks to current iterations \ sprints

New tasks can easily be added if additional capacity is available

Scrum focuses on the backlog

Kanban on Dashboard Tasks

Each team member has a specific role. The Scrum Master is responsible for setting deadlines, the product owner sets goals and tasks, and the team members carry out the development work.

There are no predefined team roles. However, there may be a Project Manager or a Service Delivery Manager; the team is encouraged to cooperate and work together.

At Scrum, at the end of each sprint, the dashboard is cleaned and restarted. New tasks are added that remain there until the end of the sprint.

The Kanban dashboard is constantly used throughout the product development lifecycle by simply replacing the cards.

Scrum or Kanban – final conclusion

Scrum is a flexible process that allows us to focus on delivering business value in the shortest possible time.
Kanban is a visual system for managing software development work.
The Kanban method encourages continuous improvement, productivity and efficiency are likely to increase.
Scrum focuses on the tasks in the backlog and Kanban focuses on the dashboard.
Scrum master acts as a problem solver.
Kanban encourages each team member to be a leader and share responsibility among them all.
Scrum prescribes iterations at time intervals.
Kanban focuses on planning different durations for individual iteration.

Kanban vs. Scrum: Which Flexible Frame to Choose?

Scrum, if:

it can be relatively easy to break the range of logical pieces that can be completed in 2-4 weeks.
There is a need for a high degree of predictability for the whole project. Scrum focuses on minimizing sprint changes.
There are many new members of the team. With Scrum, it will be easier for them to understand the team assignment and make improvements as needed.

Kanban if:

Widespread project changes are expected.
It is difficult to isolate the components of a product that can be delivered within 2-4 weeks.
The team is well-disciplined and can be trusted to plan its activities without strict deadlines.

The good news, however, is that the two can be combined!

What if we wanted to follow Scrum?

We need to outline the process, roles, and responsibilities of each role


What will be the duration of the scrum sprint? I suggest it be three weeks and with time and experience we will decide whether to reduce or increase this interval

Sprint planning – meeting at the beginning of a sprint to discuss which backlog artifacts will go into this sprint

Daily Scrum meeting – a short, daily 15 minutes meeting to discuss what was done yesterday, what will be done today, and whether there are any obstacles

Sprint review meeting – a demo of what was developed. Check that the goal has been achieved

Sprint retrospective – analyzes how a sprint went – what went well and what didn’t. What can be improved for the next sprint?

Backlog grooming – Backlog grooming, artifacts prioritized, detailed, evaluating, and judging which sprint to enter

Roles and responsibilities:

Scrum Master – monitors the process described above. It protects the team from external influences and ensures that they have a full focus on the target. Responsible for the sprint

Product Owner – is responsible for the entire backlog and sets priorities and direction of work

Scrum team – consisting of developers, testers, business analysts. – their purpose is to write artifacts, develop and test not software

It is necessary to determine the number of teams needed in the organization and the allocation of resources within the teams themselves.

It is essential to use software to record all backlog artifacts and build a Kanban \ Scrum dashboard visible to all employees involved.

All employees need to be trained in understanding Scrum.

Want more? Now you can read a nice article about the common Scrum problems and how to avoid them.

1 reply on “Kanban vs. Scrum: What Are the Differences Between Scrum and Kanban”

I think you should publish this material in a book or other academical resource that needs high visibility. So far, Kanban and Scrum were the same for me, and I believed these phases were only different interpretations of the same Agile practice, and now I realized, in the end, that Kanban does not have roles or Scrum events and everything. Thanks for your effort. Do I have your permission to reference your article in my educational works?

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