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Kanban vs Scrum: Which One Is the Better Approach to Use in 2019?

October 10, 2018
9 min read
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Kanban or Scrum?

Whether you are in product management or software development, people love to argue about which of the above approach is better. The debate isn’t new as it has been in the limelight from quite a few years.

Both Agile and Scrum are being used by various companies and organizations to streamline projects and increase efficiency. As both project management methodologies have proven to deliver results, yet they come with a lot of similarities and differences. Before we discuss them in detail, let’s take a moment to understand the basics of Scrum and Kanban.

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What is Scrum?

Scrum is a simple framework that facilitates team collaboration on complex projects. The name is derived from the sport of rugby in which scrum is a formation where everyone plays a specific role, but everyone is working towards a quick adoption of strategies. It intends to deliver results in the shortest possible time with a lot of emphasize on iterative progress and teamwork.

The Scrum process

In the Scrum framework, a team works in a series of iterations often called sprints where they evaluate what is working and what’s not. Effective communication plays an important role in such short sprints and iterations.

Usually, a sprint or an iteration consists of:

  • Sprint planning: A team meeting where team members plan to decide what to complete in the next sprint.
  • Daily stand-up: A short huddle also known as a daily scrum to sync and know the latest updates.
  • Sprint demo: An activity of a sprint review where the completed (done) product backlog items are demonstrated.
  • Sprint retrospective: A review of what went well and what didn’t to improve upcoming sprints.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a popular framework used to implement agile software development that focuses on continual delivery while not overburdening the development team. In Kanban, work items are represented visually on a kanban board so that team members can see the state of work at any time. Much like Scrum, it is designed to help teams work together more effectively.

The Kanban process

Kanban is a visual system where you get to visualize both the process and the actual tasks in that process. The main purpose of Kanban is to visualize progress and manage work in a cost-effective way at a steady speed. It follows a set of principles to improve the flow of work and streamline tasks.

Six basic principles of Kanban method are as follows:

  • Visualize the flow of work

Understanding and observing the current flow of work will help you visualize how tasks are progressing through the workflow.

  • Limit work in progress (WIP)

When you limit work in progress, it helps teams to complete work at hand before moving to the next one. Thus, it’s essential for the work in progress to be marked as done so new tasks can be pulled in by the team.

  • Manage the flow of work

The whole point of using Kanban methodology is to manage and improve the flow of work. So, the focus in Kanban is to have a thorough understanding of the process to get work done quicker and faster.

  • Make explicit process policies

When you are working as a team, it’s important for each member to be well aware of the policies, process rules, and guidelines. It encourages them to work their way forward with cooperation and harmony.

Feedback loops are an integral part of the Kanban project management system where members tell others what they did the previous day and what’s on their list for today. Such short meetings provide a great opportunity to team members to update and sync with the team.

  • Continuous improvement

As Kanban provides a shared vision of a better future, it acts as a foundation for continuous evaluation and improvement. It is helpful in making teams more effective and productive.

Kanban vs Scrum

KanbanScrum
Focuses on extensive planningOpen to making changes on the go
Every individual is assigned to various roles and responsibilities No set roles. Flexible responsibilities
The iterations/Sprints are fixed in duration. This duration varies from 2 weeks to 1 monthKanban is not based on duration
Best for projects with changing prioritiesIdeal for teams with stable priorities
Large projects can easily divided into easily manageable sprintsWorks well with small teams
Possible to create specialized teams Cross-functional teams are necessary
Every iteration comes with a different duration of timeBased on time-based iterations
Changes can be made mid-streamChanges during the sprint are strongly discouraged
Teams work to achieve goals and reduce the time to complete the entire processIn Scrum, the focus is on collaboration and completing the task to provide quality development work
Consists of a board onlyConsists of Board, Backlogs, Burn-downs
Bottlenecks are revealed quickly through visualizationBottlenecks aren’t always obvious unless a review is done
Do not use prioritization but considers project planning using probabilistic forecastingPrioritization is a must in Scrum
Its primary metric is a Lead timeUses velocity as the primary metric

Kanban vs Scrum vs Agility: Which framework to choose?

Choosing Kanban or Scrum framework could either be an entirely personal choice or depend upon project requirements. Whatever it is, make sure it’s a well-thought decision. If you’re confused, try both frameworks and ask what went well and what went poorly in both cases.

Keep the following points in mind before making the final decision:

  • Choose Kanban if you’re looking for project flexibility
  • Choose Scrum if you’re up for continuous devotion to projects
  • Go for Kanban if you prefer visualization of workflow through metrics
  • Scrum is recommended in case of intense human collaboration and rapid feedback

Select the right tool for your framework

Choosing the right project management software along with the right methodology or framework can transform your project handling and management. Since we are talking about tools, ProofHub workflows and Kanban boards not only make process quick and flexible but also streamlines your task management.

For all the Kanban users, ProofHub allows them to:

  • Integrate workflows with a task list for better transparency
  • Move tasks into stages to streamline work
  • Bring more flexibility with custom workflows
  • Choose to view tasks in either of the two forms i.e. list view or board view
  • Add labels, attach files and track time

Moving on, ProofHub is equipped with all the necessary tools that make project management easier, faster, and better. Features like that of online proofing, Gantt charts, reports, custom roles, time tracking, file management make ProofHub an all-in-one project management software. So, choose a better framework and a project management tool in 2019.

All the best!

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