What is Agile?

Agile project manag­ement and product devel­opment provide a flexible and collab­orative approach. It prior­itizes iterative progress, customer feedback, and the ability to adapt to change. Two widely recog­nized method­ologies within the Agile framework are Scrum and Kanban. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the disti­nctive features of Scrum and Kanban, guiding you to determine which one suits your team and project requir­ements better.

Why Use Scrum?

Scrum is a method within the Agile framework that empha­sizes collabo­ration, openness, and the produ­ction of a funct­ional product piece by piece at the concl­usion of each iteration called a sprint. It is partic­ularly effective for intricate projects where requir­ements might shift throu­ghout develo­pment, providing a syste­matic approach to managing those changes.

Why Use Kanban?

In contrast, Kanban is a visual system that helps teams manage their workflow effect­ively. It offers real-time visib­ility into work items as they progress through different stages of the process. Kanban is partic­ularly benef­icial for teams seeking to enhance their workflow and const­antly refine their proce­sses.

Scrum Process

Scrum Framework

Scrum is a struc­tured framework that includes roles, events, and artif­acts. The framework is outlined in detail in the Scrum Guide, written by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Suthe­rland.
The roles in Scrum are well-defined:

  • The Scrum Master: This role is crucial in facili­tating the Scrum process and ensuring that the team strictly follows the princ­iples of Scrum.
  • Product Owner: The Product Owner repre­sents the customer and has the respons­ibility of defining and priori­tizing the product backlog.
  • Deve­lopment Team: This is the team of profes­sionals who are respo­nsible for creating and deliv­ering a product increment that can poten­tially be shipped.

Scrum Planning

Scrum planning involves:

  • In the Sprint Planning meeting, the team comes together to choose a set of backlog items that they will work on during the sprint. This selection is based on the team’s capacity and the prior­itized backlog.

Scrum Work Commitment

Scrum teams adhere to a timeframe called a sprint, which usually spans two to four weeks. During this sprint, the team commits to compl­eting a defined set of tasks from their backlog. By having this commi­tment, it instills a sense of urgency and concen­tration within the team.

Scrum Meetings and Events

Scrum includes several regular meetings:

  • Daily Scrum: A brief meeting held each day where team members gather to provide updates on their progress, discuss any obstacles they may be facing, and plan their tasks for the day.
  • Sprint Review: A meeting held at the end of each sprint where stakeh­olders are given a demons­tration of the work that has been compl­eted.
  • Sprint Retrospe­ctive: This is a meeting where the team reflects on the previous sprint, discu­ssing both the successes and areas for impro­vement to better inform the next sprint.

Scrum Software Solutions

Scrum teams have a variety of software tools at their disposal, including Jira and Trello, which help with backlog manag­ement, sprint tracking, and repor­ting. These tools offer a digital represe­ntation of the Scrum board.

Scrum Tracking and Analyzing Work in Progress

In Scrum teams, there are two important tools for tracking and analyzing work progress: burndown charts and velocity metrics. Burndown charts visually display the remaining work to be done in a sprint, while velocity metrics help the team estimate how much work they can tackle in future sprints.

Scrum Work Estimation

In Scrum teams, it is common practice to use estim­ation techn­iques like story points to determine the effort needed for backlog items. This allows for better priorit­ization and effective work planning.

Kanban Process

Kanban Board

Kanban utilizes visual boards that contain columns repres­enting different stages of work. As work items advance through the workflow, they move from left to right on the board. This allows teams to have a clear view of the entire flow of work, making any bottl­enecks or ineffic­iencies more visible and easier to address.

Kanban Roles and Accountabilities

In contrast to Scrum, Kanban does not dictate specific roles. Instead, teams who use Kanban have the freedom to define roles according to their specific needs and struc­ture. This flexi­bility allows Kanban to be adaptable in different team enviro­nments.

Kanban Planning

Kanban empha­sizes a constant flow of work, with no set time limits or itera­tions. Instead, work is pulled as capacity allows, allowing for greater flexi­bility in adapting to changing prior­ities without the limit­ations of sprint bound­aries.

Kanban Work Commitment

In a Kanban team, there are no rigid commi­tments or fixed tasks. The team has the flexi­bility to adjust prior­ities and work on tasks as they arise, making it highly suitable for teams with unpred­ictable workl­oads.

Kanban Meetings and Events

Unlike Scrum, Kanban does not have presc­ribed events. However, teams utilizing Kanban may choose to hold regular meetings to discuss the progress of their work and identify areas for improv­ement. These meetings can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the team.

Kanban Software Solutions

Kanban software tools like Trello and Kanbanize are specif­ically created to help with visua­lizing the workflow, setting limits for work-in-progress (WIP), and tracking cycle times. These digital tools offer a virtual represe­ntation of the Kanban board.

Kanban Tracking and Analyzing Work in Progress

Kanban evaluates the duration of compl­eting indiv­idual tasks, known as cycle time. Through analyzing cycle times and setting limits on work in progress (WIP), teams can optimize their workflow and pinpoint opport­unities for enhanc­ement.

Kanban Work Estimation

In Kanban, there is typically no need for estim­ating work items using techn­iques like story points. The main focus is on optim­izing the flow of work to ensure that teams can deliver items as soon as they are compl­eted.

Differences Between Scrum and Kanban Boards

Scrum vs. Kanban: Roles and Accountabilities

Scrum outlines distinct roles for team members, including the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Devel­opment Team. On the other hand, Kanban allows teams to define their own roles based on their specific requir­ements. This adapta­bility can be benef­icial in organi­zations that have diverse team struc­tures.

Scrum vs. Kanban: Planning

Scrum utilizes fixed-length sprints and sprint planning to provide a struc­tured approach to work. On the other hand, Kanban empha­sizes conti­nuous flow and does not require fixed itera­tions, allowing for greater adapta­bility in dynamic enviro­nments.

Scrum vs. Kanban: Work Commitment

In Scrum, teams commit to compl­eting a specific set of backlog items within a sprint, which creates a sense of dedic­ation and urgency. On the other hand, Kanban teams do not have fixed commi­tments and can adapt to changing prior­ities and workl­oads.

Scrum vs. Kanban: Core Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

In Scrum, progress within a sprint is measured primarily using velocity and burndown charts. On the other hand, Kanban focuses on measuring and optim­izing workflow through cycle time and WIP limits. This makes Kanban more ideal for organi­zations that are seeking ongoing process effic­iency improv­ements.

Scrum vs. Kanban: Meetings and Events

Scrum includes specific meetings (such as the Daily Scrum and Sprint Review) to create a struc­tured commun­ication rhythm. On the other hand, Kanban promotes holding meetings whenever neces­sary, allowing for flexi­bility in the frequency of communi­cation.

Scrum vs. Kanban: Software Solutions

Speci­alized software tools are available for both Scrum and Kanban methodo­logies. Scrum-focused tools typically provide features like sprint planning and burndown charts, allowing teams to effec­tively plan and track their progress. On the other hand, Kanban tools prior­itize visua­lizing workflows and managing work in progress (WIP) limits, helping teams strea­mline their processes for improved effic­iency.

Scrum vs. Kanban: Tracking and Analyzing Work in Progress

In Scrum, the progress of work within a sprint is tracked primarily using burndown charts. On the other hand, Kanban focuses on optim­izing the flow of work by contin­uously monit­oring cycle time and setting limits on work in progress (WIP).

Scrum vs. Kanban: Work Estimation

In Scrum, work items are often estimated using story points or similar techn­iques. On the other hand, Kanban typically doesn’t involve formal estim­ation.

Scrum vs. Kanban: Continuous Improvement

Both Scrum and Kanban prior­itize conti­nuous improv­ement, but Kanban is espec­ially benef­icial for organi­zations seeking to optimize their processes by visua­lizing the workflow and utilizing cycle time metrics.


Which One is Right for You?

Choosing between Scrum and Kanban depends on factors such as team prefer­ences, project type, and desired level of struc­ture. Scrum is well-suited for projects with evolving requir­ements and defined itera­tions, whereas Kanban is highly effective in optim­izing ongoing workf­lows.

Can Scrum and Kanban Be Used Together?

Absol­utely! There are teams that adopt a hybrid approach called “Scru­mban,” which combines elements of Scrum and Kanban. This approach allows teams to take advantage of both methodo­logies, utilizing the struc­tured framework of Scrum along with the conti­nuous flow princ­iples of Kanban.

Final Thoughts

To effec­tively manage Agile projects, it is important to have a clear unders­tanding of the distin­ctions between Scrum and Kanban. When selecting the appro­priate metho­dology for your team, project requir­ements, prefer­ences, and needs must all be taken into conside­ration. Keep in mind that the Agile framework encou­rages flexi­bility and adapt­ation, so feel free to make adjus­tments to your approach as you gain knowledge and exper­ience.


1. What is the difference between Scrum and Kanban?

Scrum and Kanban are both Agile methodologies but have distinct approaches. Scrum is a structured framework with fixed-length sprints, defined roles (Scrum Master, Product Owner, Development Team), and specific meetings (Daily Scrum, Sprint Review). Kanban, on the other hand, emphasizes continuous flow, allows teams to define their own roles, and does not prescribe fixed iterations. Teams using Scrum commit to completing backlog items within sprints, while Kanban teams have more flexibility in adapting to changing priorities and workloads.

2. Can Scrum and Kanban be used together?

Yes, teams can adopt a hybrid approach called “Scrumban” to combine elements of both Scrum and Kanban. This approach allows teams to leverage the structured framework of Scrum while incorporating the continuous flow principles of Kanban. It provides greater adaptability for managing evolving project requirements and ongoing workflows.

3. What are the key differences in tracking and analyzing work progress between Scrum and Kanban?

In Scrum, work progress is primarily tracked using burndown charts, which visually display remaining work within a sprint. In contrast, Kanban focuses on optimizing workflow through cycle time analysis and setting limits on work in progress (WIP). Kanban’s emphasis on cycle time metrics allows teams to identify opportunities for improvement in their processes and achieve ongoing efficiency enhancements.