Scrum vs. Kanban – what’s the difference?
Are Scrum and Kanban the same thing? Read this blog to understand the difference between Scrum and Kanban
When it comes to Agile frameworks, Scrum and Kanban are often misinterpreted and confused. Often assumed as similar or different parts of the same concept, there are actually major differences between these two Agile methodologies.
What are Scrum and Kanban anyway?
Scrum is a tool used to structure work into small, manageable pieces so it can be completed by a cross-functional team within a certain time frame, which is usually termed as a sprint. A sprint falls between 2-4 weeks. On the other hand, Kanban is a tool used for organizing work for more efficiency.
Similar to Scrum, Kanban also deals with breaking down work into manageable sections with the help of a Kanban Board (similar to the Scrum Board). This helps visualize the workflow is in progress. Similar to Scrum, Kanban also sets limits to the amount of work.
In short, both Scrum and Kanban work towards optimization of processes and the work itself.
However, it is important to know the difference and be clear about the approaches these both offer in terms of roles and responsibilities and work flow. This way, project managers and teams can better adopt these methodologies for more effective results.
Here are some significant differences laid out for you so you can have a better grasp of each concept.
Scrum methodology offers project management for every category in business. Teams using Scrum become more Agile and can respond to sudden changes in requirements.
Scrum helps keep information transparent, which can help teams to identify requirements and adapt to them based on current conditions. With Scrum, low-level requirements are only defined at the start of the process. The changes and optimization of the process, requirements as well as the product comprise an integral part of the project.
Kanban methodology is designed to cater to minimal resistance. It does not ask for drastic changes to the work flow. Kanban software development method is implemented in case the process has no specific issues, however, it needs to be optimized for better results. With Kanban, there is a slow but steady improvement in the process.
Roles and Responsibilities
This approach requires at least three roles in a team: The Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team Members. These roles with unique sets of responsibilities need to collaborate for attaining efficiency and staying organized throughout the process. Moreover, a scrum team is usually cross-functional. This means that the team needs to have all the resources that would be needed to cover an entire sprint.
Kanban does not come with any specific roles. However, the existing roles of managers or team leads must evolve in accordance with the requirements of the the project as well as the organization.
The Kanban approach does not even require a team to be cross-functional. For this reason, different teams of specialists and non-specialists can divide the various aspects of a Kanban project from the defined board.
Process and Scheduling
Scheduling is a significant part of Scrum. Story points are prioritized as required to be carried out by the team to deliver a product. The team decides the number of stories to be completed in a given sprint. On the completion of a sprint, the team should be able to produce a deliverable. The communication between team members is carried out through meetings called Events.
These events include Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning and Scrum retrospective. The team, after discussion of how to optimize the process further, moves to the next sprint. This is an ongoing or iterative process that allows for appropriate workflow estimation and helps manage multiple projects.
The Kanban approach does not require specific time boxes. In fact, whether it is software development, sales, marketing or procurement, etc., Kanban calls for continuous improvement throughout the cycle. Limitations are set on various conditions in the project cycle.
These limitations are regulated earlier in the project cycle until the team reaches an optimal set of limits for maximum workflow efficiency. The four major principles that the Kanban follows includes visualizing the work, limiting the work process, focusing on the workflow and continual improvement.
A Scrum board comprises labeled columns to reflect time frames in the work flow, starting with the sprint backlog and ending with how the team finally defines the completion of a project. For a sprint to be successful, the stories added to the Board at the start of each sprint should be found in the final column at the closing of that sprint.
The Kanban board is similar to Scrum in terms of labeled columns depicting the work flow. However, a major difference in Kanban is that the board also holds the decided maximum number of stories allowed in each column at a certain time. Due to the limitation on the number of stories, there are no required time boxes. Without being reset, the Kanban board continues as long as the project continues. New stories can be added to it and completed stories can be evaluated when required.