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Scrum vs Kanban: A Comparison of Methodologies

What do organizations need today to survive and stay ahead of the competition? These are challenging times and markets change rapidly, how do organizations safeguard themselves from risks and losses? Successful organizations almost always are agile in their ways and this agility helps them become more adaptable, flexible, innovative and customer centric. This blog is about the two most popular agile frameworks Scrum and Kanban, their characteristics and their differences.Kanban: what is it? Organizations reach their business goals by reducing waste, streamlining processes and enhancing productivity. Kanban is an Agile framework that helps enterprises do exactly that.Kanban can trace its origins back in the automobile industry. Literally meaning ‘sign’ in Japanese, Kanban refers to the use of visual clues (Kanban cards) to describe the work to be carried out.Back in the 1940s, automobile giant Toyota was looking for ways to improve the production line, reduce wastes and ensure better quality. Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer in Toyota came up with the idea of a simple planning system which controlled work, managed inventory and reduced wastage at every stage of the production. The premise of this inventory control system was ‘just in time manufacturing’ that helped in better consumption of resources while efficiently tracking products and ordering new materials for production as and when needed, without holding on to any surplus raw materials.This management and control of inventory ensures that no extra stocks are being held, which ensures reductions in costs, lesser wastage and enhanced efficiency. This is also called the Kanban Pull System, that creates a collaboration between various disconnected processes so that material and information flow are coordinated to ensure ‘just in time manufacturing’ or ‘just in time production’ So, how does Kanban work in the IT industry?    Just like in manufacturing, Kanban in software development also uses the principle of ‘just in time production’. Aligning with the values of Agile of faster delivery, superior quality, customer satisfaction and quick responses, Kanban ensures that teams are able to work efficiently by visualizing work and creating and delivering products continuously, getting feedback early and implementing them on a continuous basis to improve the working of the product. By using visual cards to represent tasks, the Kanban system brings in a high degree of transparency to the development process. Team members can refer to the Kanban board and see the status of completed, blocked, in progress and yet to start processes. This helps reduce cycle times and improve production efficiency. Releasing high quality products faster into the market helps enhance customer satisfaction while streamlining operations improves team function and output.  Advantages of Kanban Brings in process flexibility Helps reduce wate Ensures continuous delivery Easy to understand and implement Faster time to market Increases efficiency and productivityScrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems—Scrum Guide Scrum follows the incremental and iterative approach to product development.   Scrum teams form the backbone of Scrum projects and consist of the following three roles: Product Owner Scrum Master Developers A Scrum team is a small unit of people who are highly cross-functional and self-organized. The Product Owner represents the business side of the product and is responsible for maximizing the product value through efficient product backlog management. The Scrum Master is responsible for maximizing the efficiency of the Scrum team and ensuring that development is always carried out as per the Scrum values. The Developers, according to the Scrum Guide, are the people in the Scrum Team that are committed to creating any aspect of a usable Increment each Sprint.  Scrum is based on empiricism and follows a lean thinking approach. The three pillars of Scrum empiricism are transparency, inspection, and adaptation and these are implemented by the formal Scrum events which are: Sprints Sprint planning Daily Scrum Sprint Review Sprint Retrospectives The events have to follow the Scrum empiricism pillars and ensure that transparency, inspection and adaptation are implemented at all stages. The work or value created in the development process is represented by the Scrum artifacts which are: Product backlog Sprint backlog Increment Each of the artifacts are measured against the value or commitment they offer. The commitment for the product backlog is the product goal, for the sprint backlog is the sprint goal and for the Increment it is the definition of done.What distinguishes Scrum from other frameworks is that it is lightweight which means that it has few rules and practices that are fairly easy to follow. It is simple to understand and even beginners find it easy to practice. Also, the fact that it is not just confined to software development but can be used in any product development area is why it gaining prominence across industries such as Research Education Marketing Auto industry Defence and more Advantages of Scrum: Scrum is the most widely used Agile framework —Scrum Alliance It is flexible, incremental and adaptable Reduces time to market Enhances creativity and innovation Lowers development and operation costs Enhances quality of end product Ensures customer satisfaction through quick feedback cycles Helps implement continuous improvement Creates motivated and empowered teams  Is Kanban the same as Scrum? Both Kanban and Scrum are frameworks under the Agile umbrella and follow Agile values and principles to carry out product development. The goal of both methods is to bring efficiency in the development process and build better products to satisfy customers.  What they differ in is some of the strategies they use in the development process.   Kanban Vs ScrumKanbanScrumThe methodologies in Kanban are more fluid and continuous and are not limited to fixed length sprints or iterations. The work is carried out as and when it comes in.Scrum works on the principle of short and structured sprints or iterations. These sprints are of fixed length and a certain number of tasks have to be completed within these fixed length sprints.There is continuous delivery of working software, product or features.Delivery is done at the end of each sprint.Kanban does not need any specific roles in the team.The roles in Scrum are Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developers.Lead time, cycle time, WIP are the key metrics in Kanban.Velocity is the key metric in Scrum through which performance and progress is measured.Kanban is more open to change and change can happen at any time during the development cycle.Scrum has a more rigid philosophy about change and Teams should not make changes during the course of the sprint.The workboards used in Kanban are called Kanban boards. These contain cards that represent work in progress in different columns and help the team to visualize the workflow. The Kanban board workflow may contain the following three stages: Queue, In Progress and Done.The workboards in Scrum may have four columns that list the progress of the workflow, such as To do, In progress, In test and Done. These columns list all the items from what has to be done to what has already been done.Scrum tools vs Kanban tools  Some of the most popular Scrum and Kanban tools are listed below: Popular Scrum tools Jira Monday.com ScrumDo nTask Targetprocess VivifyScrum Yodiz and more Popular Kanban tools Trello Kanbanize Monday.com Meister Task Taskworld Productboard Kanban One Kanban Tool ProofHub LeanKit KanbanFlow and many more Conclusion Which Agile strategy you choose depends on the needs of your project and that of your organization. Some teams also use a combination of Scrum and Kanban called Scrumban and get the best of both the frameworks. Whichever strategy you choose, you must try to work your way through it, till it fits the culture and objectives of your organization. 
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Scrum vs Kanban: A Comparison of Methodologies

Susan May
Blog
03rd Sep, 2021
Scrum vs Kanban: A Comparison of Methodologies

What do organizations need today to survive and stay ahead of the competition? These are challenging times and markets change rapidly, how do organizations safeguard themselves from risks and losses? Successful organizations almost always are agile in their ways and this agility helps them become more adaptable, flexible, innovative and customer centric. This blog is about the two most popular agile frameworks Scrum and Kanban, their characteristics and their differences.

Kanban: what is it? 

Organizations reach their business goals by reducing waste, streamlining processes and enhancing productivity. Kanban is an Agile framework that helps enterprises do exactly that.

Kanban can trace its origins back in the automobile industry. Literally meaning ‘sign’ in Japanese, Kanban refers to the use of visual clues (Kanban cards) to describe the work to be carried out.

Back in the 1940s, automobile giant Toyota was looking for ways to improve the production line, reduce wastes and ensure better quality. Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer in Toyota came up with the idea of a simple planning system which controlled work, managed inventory and reduced wastage at every stage of the production. 

The premise of this inventory control system was ‘just in time manufacturing’ that helped in better consumption of resources while efficiently tracking products and ordering new materials for production as and when needed, without holding on to any surplus raw materials.

This management and control of inventory ensures that no extra stocks are being held, which ensures reductions in costs, lesser wastage and enhanced efficiency. This is also called the Kanban Pull System, that creates a collaboration between various disconnected processes so that material and information flow are coordinated to ensure ‘just in time manufacturing’ or ‘just in time production’ 

So, how does Kanban work in the IT industry?    

Just like in manufacturing, Kanban in software development also uses the principle of ‘just in time production’. Aligning with the values of Agile of faster delivery, superior quality, customer satisfaction and quick responses, Kanban ensures that teams are able to work efficiently by visualizing work and creating and delivering products continuously, getting feedback early and implementing them on a continuous basis to improve the working of the product. 

By using visual cards to represent tasks, the Kanban system brings in a high degree of transparency to the development process. Team members can refer to the Kanban board and see the status of completed, blocked, in progress and yet to start processes. This helps reduce cycle times and improve production efficiency. Releasing high quality products faster into the market helps enhance customer satisfaction while streamlining operations improves team function and output.  

Advantages of Kanban 

  • Brings in process flexibility 
  • Helps reduce wate 
  • Ensures continuous delivery 
  • Easy to understand and implement 
  • Faster time to market 
  • Increases efficiency and productivity

Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems—Scrum Guide 

Scrum follows the incremental and iterative approach to product development.   

Scrum teams form the backbone of Scrum projects and consist of the following three roles: 

  • Product Owner 
  • Scrum Master 
  • Developers 

A Scrum team is a small unit of people who are highly cross-functional and self-organized. The Product Owner represents the business side of the product and is responsible for maximizing the product value through efficient product backlog management. The Scrum Master is responsible for maximizing the efficiency of the Scrum team and ensuring that development is always carried out as per the Scrum values. The Developers, according to the Scrum Guide, are the people in the Scrum Team that are committed to creating any aspect of a usable Increment each Sprint.  

Scrum is based on empiricism and follows a lean thinking approach. The three pillars of Scrum empiricism are transparency, inspection, and adaptation and these are implemented by the formal Scrum events which are: 

  • Sprints 
  • Sprint planning 
  • Daily Scrum 
  • Sprint Review 
  • Sprint Retrospectives 

The events have to follow the Scrum empiricism pillars and ensure that transparency, inspection and adaptation are implemented at all stages. The work or value created in the development process is represented by the Scrum artifacts which are: 

  • Product backlog 
  • Sprint backlog 
  • Increment 

Each of the artifacts are measured against the value or commitment they offer. The commitment for the product backlog is the product goal, for the sprint backlog is the sprint goal and for the Increment it is the definition of done.

What distinguishes Scrum from other frameworks is that it is lightweight which means that it has few rules and practices that are fairly easy to follow. It is simple to understand and even beginners find it easy to practice. Also, the fact that it is not just confined to software development but can be used in any product development area is why it gaining prominence across industries such as 

  • Research 
  • Education 
  • Marketing 
  • Auto industry 
  • Defence and more 

Advantages of Scrum: 

Scrum is the most widely used Agile framework —Scrum Alliance 

  • It is flexible, incremental and adaptable 
  • Reduces time to market 
  • Enhances creativity and innovation 
  • Lowers development and operation costs 
  • Enhances quality of end product 
  • Ensures customer satisfaction through quick feedback cycles 
  • Helps implement continuous improvement 
  • Creates motivated and empowered teams  

Is Kanban the same as Scrum? 

Both Kanban and Scrum are frameworks under the Agile umbrella and follow Agile values and principles to carry out product development. The goal of both methods is to bring efficiency in the development process and build better products to satisfy customers.  

What they differ in is some of the strategies they use in the development process.   

Kanban Vs Scrum

KanbanScrum
The methodologies in Kanban are more fluid and continuous and are not limited to fixed length sprints or iterations. The work is carried out as and when it comes in.Scrum works on the principle of short and structured sprints or iterations. These sprints are of fixed length and a certain number of tasks have to be completed within these fixed length sprints.
There is continuous delivery of working software, product or features.Delivery is done at the end of each sprint.
Kanban does not need any specific roles in the team.The roles in Scrum are Product Owner, Scrum Master and Developers.
Lead time, cycle time, WIP are the key metrics in Kanban.Velocity is the key metric in Scrum through which performance and progress is measured.
Kanban is more open to change and change can happen at any time during the development cycle.Scrum has a more rigid philosophy about change and Teams should not make changes during the course of the sprint.
The workboards used in Kanban are called Kanban boards. These contain cards that represent work in progress in different columns and help the team to visualize the workflow. The Kanban board workflow may contain the following three stages: Queue, In Progress and Done.The workboards in Scrum may have four columns that list the progress of the workflow, such as To do, In progress, In test and Done. These columns list all the items from what has to be done to what has already been done.

Scrum tools vs Kanban tools  

Some of the most popular Scrum and Kanban tools are listed below: 

Popular Scrum tools 

  • Jira 
  • Monday.com 
  • ScrumDo 
  • nTask 
  • Targetprocess 
  • VivifyScrum 
  • Yodiz and more 

Popular Kanban tools 

  • Trello 
  • Kanbanize 
  • Monday.com 
  • Meister Task 
  • Taskworld 
  • Productboard 
  • Kanban One 
  • Kanban Tool 
  • ProofHub 
  • LeanKit 
  • KanbanFlow and many more 

Conclusion 

Which Agile strategy you choose depends on the needs of your project and that of your organization. Some teams also use a combination of Scrum and Kanban called Scrumban and get the best of both the frameworks. Whichever strategy you choose, you must try to work your way through it, till it fits the culture and objectives of your organization. 

Susan

Susan May

Writer, Developer, Explorer

Susan is a gamer, internet scholar and an entrepreneur, specialising in Big Data, Hadoop, Web Development and many other technologies. She is the author of several articles published on Zeolearn and KnowledgeHut blogs. She has gained a lot of experience by working as a freelancer and is now working as a trainer. As a developer, she has spoken at various international tech conferences around the globe about Big Data.


Website : https://www.zeolearn.com

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