In the Agile world, the words “Scrum” and “Kanban” are as common as zone and man-to-man defense are in basketball. Both the Scrum framework and Kanban processes apply the Agile methodology to managing and implementing workflow in a way that promotes both quality and efficiency. But what’s the difference between the two, and how do you decide if one or both are best for your business? Let’s break down the biggest differences between Scrum and Kanban, no sports knowledge required.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is an application of the Agile methodology that hones in on carrying out complex processes by simplifying them into shorter, speedier projects. This project management style emphasizes communication strategies and the production of high-value deliveries and rapidly, repeatable iterations.
What is Kanban?
The Kanban method is centered on being able to visualize workflow and processes with the objective of identifying and correcting bottlenecks and roadblocks that could slow down or disrupt progress. In Kanban, deliverables are broken down into smaller tasks that are represented as touchpoints on the Kanban Board.
The Team Perspective
Groups utilizing Scrum are given one of three defined roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team. Each of these roles commits to specific work responsibilities and executes those tasks repeatedly until the project is complete. The Team itself in Scrum is cross-functional, meaning each member has a particular expertise that equips them for a unique contribution and prevents team members from being siloed in a particular skill set or task.
On the other hand, Kanban has no set roles. Flexibility is the name of the game with Kanban, so responsibilities can shift depending on who is facing an obstacle or delay. Every member on the Kanban team is a leader collaborating on the most creative solutions to reach the end goal. The Kanban team is specialized so that any individual can tackle any task within the backlog.
Obstacles and Obligations
Scrum processes revolve around the planning and preparation of a repeatable schedule referred to as “ceremonies”, one type of which is the sprint. These sprints rely on regular and punctual output that is reviewed and revised on a loop. The Team focuses on task completion while other roles, such as the Scrum Master, are responsible for removing any obstacles that arise so the Team members can execute.
With an emphasis on adaptability and flow, Kanban consistently re-evaluates processes and obstacles in order to constantly improve the process and maximize efficiency. Kanban tasks are based less on specific deadlines, timeframes, and deliverables and more broadly on a continuous flow of productivity.
In typical Agile fashion, we have further broken down the differences between Scrum and Kanban in an easy-to-read visual for you to reference.
Still have questions about Scrum and Kanban, or need help deciding what’s right for your team? Contact an Agile expert at beLithe today.