Scrum Vs Kanban: Understanding the Difference Between Scrum and Kanban Framework

| Created on December 31, 2020

Updated on July 30, 2021

Difference between scrum and kanban

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Though by far both Kanban and Scrum are two faces of the same coin — work management and strategy implementation – there is a very thin line that separates the one from the other. Both Scrum and Kanban help in breaking down and completing large complex tasks quite efficiently.

Scrum master

Both methodologies involve a continual improvement in great detail and optimization of work and processes and share the same workflow that keeps all team members in the loop and what has been completed and what more needs to be done.

Scrum Vs Kanban: Explaining Scrum Framework & Kanban Flow in Detail

All organizations are required to follow a certain workflow to execute and deliver projects. Unless you adapt to a strategy, the teams will collide, and the project will falter.

This is particularly true for companies working in software application domain, where teams often go under pressure directly or indirectly from every layer of hierarchy to deliver the project on time.

Hence, a variety of frameworks are used to address the challenges. However, the one that is popularly used is Scrum workflow.

Scrum Framework: Scrum is a workflow framework that is used for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products, with primary focus is on software development.

The framework is also used in other fields including research, sales, marketing and advanced technologies. To understand the Scrum workflow, it is important to understand its fundamentals that are:

  • To simplify complexity in work, the key information related to Scrum artifacts are made transparent to stakeholders during product development.
  • Separate roles are created to perform a given task efficiently
  • There are scrum meets to discuss things like collaboration and opportunities for adaptation and monitoring in next levels.

Kanban Framework: Kanban is a Japanese terminology for billboard. The method or technique was first used by industrial engineer Taiichi Ohno to improve the efficiency at Toyota. The Kanban system not only makes sure a lean manufacturing, but also controls the supply chain.

What is Scrum Methodology?

In scrum methodology, the primary objective is to satisfy the customer needs applying teamwork and transparency in communication. Factors that drive the scrum process involve collective team responsibility and continuous work progress.

A general overview of things is crucial before building or elaborating on the list of characteristics that are required for product backlog. This ensures the owner is receiving what they want.

Being an agile development methodology, scrum is useful in developing iterative based software. Scrum methodology or scrum framework involves a planning meeting at the initial stage. The team members discuss their commitments and how many items they can manage at a given time.

Further, they create a sprint backlog that contains a complete list of tasks that needs to be carried out during the sprint process. The team also focuses on relatively small features such as a new idea or testing of existing functionality.

Scrum team members and agile scrum master are punctual and attend meetings regularly where each member shares the progress so far and the next target.

After the complete sprint review, new functionalities are demonstrated that can be useful for the next sprint. And that’s how the team gets a chance to reflect on their previous scrum sprint and to improve the next one.

Pros & Cons of Scrum Processes

Since it’s an elaborate method, like any other process it has some advantages and some disadvantages that we are mentioning below here:

Pros

  • Throughout visibility at all stages of a process
  • Can be easily modified as per client’s requirements
  • Development can be changed at any stage
  • Easy to rectify mistakes
  • Motivated team
  • Regular meetings to resolve issues
  • Continuous feedback from the team is welcomed

Cons

  • Absence of a motivating scrum master can deter the project plan
  • Group of experienced people is a must to make happen client-required changes quickly.
  • Suitable for small teams as continuous meetings is an integral part of this methodology.
  • Sometimes there is a great pressure on the teams to meet the deadlines.
  • Finding the right candidate in scrum can be difficult as the team has to be self-organized.

Who is the Scrum Master?

As the name suggests, the agile Scrum Master has many responsibilities such as supporting and promoting Scrum by explaining computational representational understanding of mind (CRUM) theory to everyone involved in the project.

Position of Scrum master is not only limited to coaching the team, a scrum master also encourages the members to create quality products. They can modify things in scrum framework for better output and efficiency.

In short, they are the facilitator for the team that encourages the team to follow rules and manage processes without being stressed. This is also the key difference in Scrum vs Kanban.

What is Kanban Methodology?

Kanban is an agile methodology that evolves the way companies plan, develop, test and release software without being necessarily iterative. The process of Kanban allows software development in one large development cycle.

The Kanban process is driven by well-defined start or end for a particular work item. Since each process starts independently, there is no pre-set deadline for the project. However, at each stage of the project life, there is a limited capacity of work.

Kanban has a lean software development methodology that results in effective manufacturing processes. The main advantage of using Kanban agile methodology is that you get a representation of all the stages, such as planned, in progress, developed, tested or completed. There is continuous management of workflow without extra pressure on team members.

With Kanban flow, you can start working from any stage i.e. you can apply it anywhere anytime to your workflow. It recognizes the present processes, roles and responsibilities and tries to maintain the current system without major changes.

Leaders following the Kanban method encourage all the members and motivate them to improve. This differs Kanban from Scrum in Scrum vs Kanban argument.

Pros & Cons of Kanban methodology

Like Scrum, Kanban also has some advantages and disadvantages that are discussed below:

Pros

  • The time boxed interaction is not compulsory in Kanban.
  • An event-driven approach is preferred instead of time boxing
  • Commitment is optional as there are no deadlines.
  • Estimation is optional and you can add new items as per the capacity.
  • More flexibility and less waste from the process.
  • Kanban board is persistent and can be shared
  • Separate cadences for every stage (planning, process, release etc.)

Cons

  • Sometimes, the development process suffers due to an outdated Kanban board.
  • No timeframe for each stage.
  • The Kanban board can be complicated for an unskilled team.
  • Complexity and lack of focus, as job role is not defined in teams in Kanban.

When to use the Kanban process?

If your workflow comprises a repeatable process, then choosing Kanban over Scrum vs Kanban is the best option for you. It ensures continuous delivery and offers the scope of new adaptations if there is change in priorities.

The team can easily track and visualize the progress of the workflow on the Kanban board when there is no time for meetings. This is another advantage in scrum vs Kanban. With Kanban, you have the option to progress continuously even if it requires few adjustments and modifications.

Difference between Scrum and Kanban at a Glance

SCRUMKANBAN
Cadence It works at regular fixed length sprints or predefined time periods Continuous flow of processes with no time restrictions
Release methodology At the end of each sprint a new value is delivered Continuous delivery without being segmented into sprints
Team Roles It involves a team of from master, product owner and developers. Roles are not predefined
Key Metrics Velocity based key metrics A combination of lead time, cycle time and WIP defines the key metrics
Change Philosophy Team should avoid making changes during a sprint Any change is welcomed if it can give better results
Delivery Timelines A continuous delivery of products and services is there. The businesses determine due dates if needed. Here sprints determine the deliverables and can set time period for completion of work.
Roles and ResponsibilitiesTeam has no specific role or a task but the project manager can encourage the members to fulfil duties.Each member of the team has a job role. Scrum mast set the time limit and the product owner set the goals.
Delegation & Prioritization Works using a Pull system where a fresh task is pulled after finishing the current one.           Also uses pull system but pulls the entire batch at a time.

Scrum vs Kanban: Which one should you choose

Since both are agile methodologies, one can get confused as to when he should choose which. Both will promote agility by limiting the Work in Progress and segmenting the job in units. Check below Scrum vs Kanban details before going for either of them:

  • Scrum will set sprints as well as determine timeframes for each part of the job. Whereas with Kanban flow, you get continuity and the leader decides deadlines if required. With Scrum processes, you can expect a punctual team.
  • If your project is goal-driven and you prefer fixed deliverables, then go for Scrum. For flexible teams and changing objectives, Kanban is the perfect match.
  • With Scrum, by tracking the velocity of a particular sprint, you can also measure its productivity. While in Kanban methods, cycle times determine the performance.
  • While Kanban encourages changes and adjustments, scrum does not support improvisations. If your project objectives are expected to vary with time, you should go for Kanban when you have choice of Scrum vs Kanban.
  • Kanban does not assign specific roles to team members, therefore, if your team is cooperative then only you can succeed with this methodology.

These were some of the important features of both agile methodologies. With these unique features, both Scrum and Kanban have a broad scope depending upon the size of the team, the goal of the project and the deadlines. When looking for Scrum vs Kanban, go through the demand of your job as both are best in their own way.

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