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Kanban vs Scrum

by StarAgile

December 13, 2019
Category Agile and Scrum


When you are in search of a lean as well as an agile approach, then you must consider both these options. One is very structured while the other is not. However, both can be used as the best techniques in the process of developing s/w. They achieve this by limiting the work in progress and using the push/pull schedule. They focus on process improvement by being transparent. Work is broken into pieces to optimize the release plan constantly.

We are sure you guessed it by now, and they are nothing but the scrum and kanban. We would like to enlighten you by proving you with the details about both to help you choose the right one. Also, know the difference to pick one based on your needs. They are equally efficient and you need to make a call for which you need to understand them in detail.

Scrum Board vs Kanban Board

Scrum Board vs Kanban Board

Scrum BoardKanban Board

•    Assign tasks from the “to do” column and move it to “in progress”.
•    Once the assigned task is completed move from “in progress” to “test”
•    If the task passes the test, then move to “done” else to “to do”

•    Work to be done is kept in “queue”
•    The team pulls work and move that to “ in progress”
•    Completed work to “done”
•    New work added to “queue”

Scrum and its Basics

Let’s begin with the basics before jumping into knowing their differences. It is an agile process and greatly supports delivering the business value in a very short span. The continuous inspection process in scrum will improve the value. The main focus is on the iteration of the software and team collaboration. Maximum 4 weeks is the target set by the scrum process to deliver software. The methodology works on the following principles

•    Iterative process
•    Cross-functional teams work together with the help provided by the product owner.
•    Planning, working and reviewing is the ongoing process.

Scrum is iteration

Why Scrum

Scrum allows the team to be agile and discover the ways to act quickly as well as react for changes in the dynamic project environment. It is a time-boxed iterative process that helps to complete features on time. It is a transparent process and hence estimation becomes easy. Scrum encourages the team to work together without compromising on individuality. It is structured at the same time not rigid. 

Certified Scrum Master

Best Time to Opt for a Scrum

Under the following circumstances, it is best to go with the Scrum framework and handle agile projects effectively.

•    Very dynamic requirements need to addressed quickly and hence use this process which is flexible to each situation
•    Requirements not defined clearly require scrum support as estimation becomes tough. Even at that time scrum can provide a view to plan and estimate accordingly.
•    When a solution needs to be tested scrum can be used as obtaining feedback is possible even before sprint planning. Yes, product backlog refinement session helps identify problems from previous experience and feedback to take corrective actions.
•    When the PO is present to handhold the team from initiation till the end, then close your eyes and go with scrum. The best methodology to deliver sprint goals constantly.
•    Every self-organizing team must choose scrum to feel empowered.
•    Innovative clients who continuously make changes should go with this framework to adapt to every change easily.

In a nutshell, use scrum for a complex project with dynamic requirements and broad future scope.

Scrum is best for planning and progress.

Scrum Process in Detail

Scrum is a structured process, everything is well defined.

Roles

Scrum Master – SM

This person is the facilitator and will initiate meetings, bring in the team and discuss with them to provide the necessary support from all cross-functional teams and the stakeholders.

Development Team

The team includes both the developers and the testers. They are the pilot to launch the product delivery.

Product Owner - PO

PO act as a bridge between the team and the customer. They understand the requirement and explain to the team to create user stories for estimating and assigning backlog.

Artifacts

Backlog Namely Product and Sprint

The basic worklist to be executed created by the PO is called the product backlog. In layman terms, this is called the “to-do list.” On the other hand the list of items namely the user stories, epics, themes, etc to be implemented in each sprint is called the sprint backlog.

Increment

End product derived from the sprint. Definition of Done (DoD) is nothing but the increment.

Formal Events

The basic process in scrum starts with requirement gathering, understanding, assigning work, checking progress, and completing for shipping. But this is aligned to each ceremony as named below. Find them in detail.

Backlog Identification

The PO discuss with the user to understand the requirement and list the product backlog. He/she clarifies with the stakeholders before setting up a meeting with the team to estimate time and assign work.

Product Backlog Refinement (PBR)

The team meeting with the PO to create user stories and backlog management happen in this session. They estimate the time required and come to a mutual consent to assign a task. This happens prior to the sprint planning meeting. For more details CLICKHERE

Sprint Planning

Based on the backlog refinement the SM will discuss with the team for timelines and fix the sprint. Usually, 2 -4 weeks sprint is confirmed based on the work. For more details CLICKHERE

Daily Meeting

Till the sprint completion, the team meets every day for not more than 15 minutes to understand what needs to be done. This is done to ensure that things are on track happening as per the plan.
For more details CLICKHERE

Sprint and Review

It is the actual time taken by the team to work for completing the increment. Sprint duration is between plan and retrospective. The review meeting will be conducted to check the completion of the sprint goal. For more details CLICKHERE

Retrospective

Here the team will sit together to document the work completed. They further discuss understand their experience in the completed sprint to improve for future sprints. For more details CLICKHERE

Pros and Cons of Scrum

•    It is timeboxed iteration and the team commits to working in every iteration
•    The team uses velocity as the metrics for planning and improvement
•    Items are broken down and managed to be completed in one sprint
•    New scrum cannot be added in an ongoing sprint
•    Sprint backlog with each team individually even though it works with cross-functional teams.
•    Every time after completing the sprint goal the scrum board is reset

Kanban an Intro

In case you want to manager work visually but without much structuring, then kanban is your key. Visual representation provides more clarity and it is easy to identify the bottleneck in the process. Incremental improvement is the motto of kanban. The basic process is

•    To test
•    Get ready for releasing
•    Released columns

Kanban is work states

Top Reasons to Choose Kanban

•    Better visibility is acquired for the workflow letting organizations track the work to reach their goal.
•    Portfolio Kanban is a visual approach and it is easy to achieve transparency. It is not a structured method and hence adapting to it is easy.
•    Kanban improves project management process
•    Team collaboration is accomplished with kanban process at ease
•    Measuring productivity is quick with the simple reporting system followed in this process.

Using Kanban at the Right Time

•    When there is not much backlog of features, then go for kanban straight as it is an unstructured process focusing on visualizing the work by breaking them into small chunks. No sprints and iteration but works towards incremental improvements.
•    When the work needs to pop up and not pulled, then this method which will help as it is supply based.
•    Every small discrete piece of work will rely on this method
•    When there is no long-term goal
•    No planning is required and a casual approach is looked for, then go with this framework.

In short, use kanban for fixing a production incident. This is the best way you can remember when to use kanban.

Kanban Process a Brief Discussion


Likewise, let us also understand the kanban process. This process lies on the six underlying principles namely

1.    Work Visualization

The first step in the kanban process is to use a board to visualize the current work. Use sticky’s of different colors to represent the task on the board visually.

2.    Limiting WIP

Limit the work in progress which means do not take more work until the assigned task is marked completed. Therefore the work is not pushed on someone but pulled by those who are ready for the next task.

3.    Focusing on the Flow

 The workflow is managed and is highlighted in different stages. This will give an idea to the stakeholders about the work in progress status.

4.    Make Process Policies Explicitly

The policies are explicitly displayed for the view of all participants letting them know their responsibility.

5.    Feedback Loop Implementation
6.    Improvement

In short, the Kanban process is to do -> in progress -> done

Kanban – Pros and Cons an Analysis

•    It is event-driven and not time-boxed
•    Work is pulled and not assigned
•    Kanban does not force commitment
•    Lead time is used in kanban for metric process improvement and planning
•    A cross-functional team is not required as specialist work on the project
•    No item size and estimation are optional.
•    The board is persistent

Difference Between Scrum and Kanban (in table format) – Kanban vs Scrum

Criteria
ScrumKanban
TimeTime boxedEvent focused
PlanningFormal planning beginning from sprint planningNot much of planning and work completion is the motive
MeasurementsMeasured by the time taken to complete the taskA graphical representation is preferred over time to check WIP
EstimationMandatoryOptional
Individual rolesFixed and measured Flexible and not enforced
IterationEvery sprint is time-bound for 2 weeks to achieve the sprint goal No fixed duration and only cycle time
TeamsCross-functionalSpecialized
Item additionNot possible to add in ongoing sprintIf capacity is there to take, then items are added
Deliverable measurement Done after each sprintIt is an ongoing process
RolesWell defined and each person will work on the assigned taskNo defined role and all are free to choose work based on completing the already taken task
Project PrioritiesChangingStable
Production measuredVelocityCycle time
Compared to the traditional modelEntirely differentNot much of drastic changes
Team focusWork together to complete the taskWork individually but to complete the work as a team
Work done In sprintsContinuously
Pros Save time, money and resourcesFocus on improving efficiency and productivity
Mode of communicationMeetings and discussionsVisual boards with details updated
CostCost-effective as corrections can be done after every sprintThe task might get extended to many sprints and hence saving cost  is tough
ResourcesMight get agitated due to many meetings at the same time they won't lose focusOpen to work and no frustration but might lose focus
Team sizeLarge team size can work as managing large projects into sprints based on the team sizeSmall team size can work and not a large team

Conclusion

Now that you know about the scrum kanban difference, we would like to suggest you use scrum for work driven by the feature that has huge goals and milestones for releases. On the other hand, go with kanban for small work that requires fixing defects or other minor enhancements. Also, you can combine both to bring effective results as scrum will support a structured process and hence suitable for large projects at the same time kanban will give a visual overview of the WIP.

To understand more difference attend our Agile and Scrum certification, for details call us at + 91 – 80502 05233