Agile Method Choice: Kanban vs Scrum

Sanjay Singh
Kanban and Scrum


Kanban and Scrum discuss two different agile software development approaches. Practices differ, but principles are the same. The outcome will depend on the business model and the approach that works best for you.”

Scrum, Kanban, and Agile are all closely related. Agile is a set of principles for creating the best products at the fastest possible pace. Kanban and Scrum focus on software development management.

If you examine things at the surface level, Kanban and Scrum seem easy to differentiate. However, if you dig deeper, things become more complex.

Despite their differences, Kanban and Scrum share a common set of principles. You might have observed teams using Kanban boards for Scrum, but the end goal remains the same, i.e., building digital products that balance stability and speed. There is also confusion between Kanban and Scrum because both terms are interchangeable.

If you had to choose between Scrum and Kanban, how would you decide which would be best for your business?

Scrum, Agile, and Kanban: A Brief Introduction

A brief overview of Scrum, Agile, and Kanban is provided below:

a. Adaptable

To accelerate the production of and delivery of software, continuous delivery is a de facto, iterative approach to building and deploying products.

b. Agile

Using Scrum, teams can develop and deliver products iteratively and incrementally, in addition to responding quickly and effectively to changes.

c. In kanban

In similar fashion to Scrum, Agile development aims to limit work in progress (WIP) so that products can be developed faster. A Kanban Agile methodology ensures small independent tasks move to the next steps swiftly in order to realize business value as quickly as possible. It originated in Japan and is a popular project management method. Teams can easily change their workflows using the Kanban method because it is highly adaptable.

Because of this, it is ideally suited for environments that are fast-paced and dynamic.

Why is Kanban better than Scrum?

kanban-scrum Img

1. Principles of Scrum vs. Kanban

Based on six core principles, we can further divide the Kanban approach into two categories – one focuses on workflow optimization, one on workflow management.

a. Concepts of Kanban


b. Guidelines for Scrum


As a whole, scrum development focuses on transparency, inspection, and adaptation.

2. Scrum vs Kanban: Framework comparison

a. Managing Kanbans

kanban-framework-center-ImgWe incorporate the Kanban framework into the product development process by incorporating team members, principles, and key practices. Here’s how:

  • In Kanban, work items are arranged on cards on a board, and as soon as the self-driving team has capacity, they pull the new work from the pool (the cards represent work items).
  • It is possible to create custom columns according to the work of your team, such as To-Do, Work in Progress, and Done.
  • As opposed to Scrum, which requires daily planning and feedback sessions, Kanban requires only when necessary stand-up sessions.
  • The implementation of Kanban principles requires a high level of discipline and self-awareness (found lacking in new Agile organizations).

b. Implementing Scrum

scrum-framework-ImgUsing Scrum as a framework for product development, we do the following:

  • An understanding of the business requirements is key to the project’s success.
  • A backlog of product features (maintained by the product owner) is created according to their importance and ranked in order.
  • In order to complete the selected features, we determine the number of sprints (ranging from 1 to 4 weeks).
  • Team members choose tasks from the backlog that can be completed in a sprint and start working on the tasks.
  • In this way, they are protected from interruptions so that they can focus on achieving the sprint goals.
  • A sprint backlog cannot be changed, but a product backlog can be changed in preparation for the next sprint.
  • A Scrum meeting is held for 15 minutes within each sprint to discuss the team’s progress.
  • A sprint is based on feedback gathered by the team at the end, based on which the team will plan its next sprint.

3. Scrum vs Kanban: What’s the difference?

a. Roles and responsibilities for Kanban

As a result of the Kanban approach, the team owns the process and each member is responsible for working collaboratively. Unlike Scrum, where there is a ‘Kanban master’ to ensure that all principles are strictly followed, your team does not have an Agile coach.

Scrum Delivery Managers and Scrum Request Managers are two roles sometimes seen in organizations that use Kanban. However, they’re completely optional.

b. There are several roles in Scrum

Compared to the Scrum Approach, Scrum has three clearly defined roles within a team: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team.

  • In addition to representing the customer’s voice, the Product Owner also manages the product backlog and helps prioritize the team’s work daily.
  • As a Scrum Master, you enforce the Scrum principles, facilitate team communication, remove bottlenecks, and represent the self-organizing team.
  • During daily Scrum meetings, the development team tracks the work status, delivers increments, and makes task commitments.

4. Scrum vs. Kanban: Planning

kanban-vs-scrum-planning-Img5. Commitment vs. Kanban

As Kanban emphasizes agility and the ability to deliver value quickly, we choose the commitment based on the team’s capacity. Each team member commits to completing the task he started before starting another. Teams can avoid multitasking and spend less time on non-value-added activities by using the Kanban method, which manages and limits the amount of work in progress. As a result, productivity and efficiency can increase.

While commitment is determined in Scrum using Sprint Forecasting, the scrum team predicts the amount of work it can do and then meets its deadline. In this approach, if the team fails to estimate their capacity accurately, the sprint fails, or the completion of the sprint takes a lot of effort.

6. Scrum vs. Kanban: Which is better?

A visual board tracks work progress in both Kanban and Scrum approaches, but they differ in important ways.

a. Board of Kanbans

In addition to tracking workflow structure, the Kanban board balances the number of work-in-progress activities.

The goal of Kanban is to minimize the time between handovers, which works like a relay race.

Kanban-Board-Imgb. Board of Scrum

Teams commit to the work on the Scrum board, which is an extension of the product backlog. The end goal of a Scrum board is to get everything done by the end of the sprint by placing work in progress as they see fit. After adding the work to the Scrum backlog, the team starts putting work in progress as per their convenience.

You will have to cover/complete your entire syllabus (backlog items) within a certain period of time, so crafting a Scrum board is as important as preparing for an exam: it is a way to map out what needs to be done and how to organize your team and your schedule.

scrum-board-img7. Keeping meetings on track: Kanban vs. Scrum

Kanban Meetings Scrum Meetings
Meetings are optional yet highly recommended in Kanban as they keep your team aligned and workflow steady.fraud Meetings are mandatory in Scrum.
Types of meetings in Kanban:Daily Meetings.

Replenishment & commitment Meeting.

Delivery Planning Meetings.

Service Delivery Review.

Operations Review.

Risk Review.

Strategy Review.

Types of meetings in Scrum:Sprint Planning.

Daily Scrum.

Sprint Review.

Sprint Retrospective.

You can combine or skip the Kanban meetings you don’t deem necessary. All the Scrum meetings are necessary, and you must not skip any of them.

8. What’s the difference between Kanban and Scrum?

a. In Kanban, there are key metrics

An important Kanban team metric is lead time and cycle time, which show how long the team takes to complete a task from beginning to end. Improved cycle times result in Kanban teams being successful. It is also important to note that Kanban is a pull method – that is, work or responsibilities are pulled into the system when the team has the capacity to handle them. On the other hand, scrum is a different approach.

Kanban teams use the Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD) to analyze their performance. It allows them to analyze the progress of workflows and identify bottlenecks that need to be rectified to increase productivity.

The following figure shows some of the key metrics and calculations for determining an ideal Kanban team size:

key-metrics-in-kanban-imgb. Aspects of Scrum Metrics

Among the most important metric for Scrum teams is Velocity, which determines how many story points have been completed. The amount of completed story points determines the commitment for a specific sprint.

In addition, boosting Velocity artificially can lead to a loss of trust between management and members of the team as well as a reduction in transparency.

9. How to track progress and analyze work in Kanban vs. Scrum

Our Kanban system tracks the progress of work by using a cumulative flow diagram (CFD), which tracks time spent on individual tasks.

kanban-vs-scrum-tracking-progress-ImgThus, we can quickly identify problems in our workflow and fix them on time instead of getting notified later. By tracking each cycle time, we can evaluate the total amount of time we spent finishing a task.

As we work on projects in Scrum, we analyze the burndown chart to see if everything is going according to plan. It is a fundamental performance indicator that shows how much work needs to be done within a certain timeframe.

kanban-vs-scrum-analyzing-work-ImgIn spite of this, Scrum tools will only indicate an overall drop in performance. You must determine what is causing the drop because the truth is not reflected in Scrum tools.

10. What’s the difference between Kanban and Scrum?

a. Disadvantages and Advantages of Kanban

kanban-advantages-disadvantagesb. Aspects of Scrum that are advantageous and disadvantageous


What's the difference between scrum and kanban?

Each approach can improve your efficiency and productivity, depending on your team.

Is Kanban Right for You?

  • Your existing workflow needs to be affected by the new workflow.
  • The work process you follow is largely repeatable.
  • There is no ambiguity or complexity in your project.
  • Planning and meetings should be kept to a minimum, and delivery should be the focus.
  • Continuous improvements are better than fixed releases when it comes to delivering features.
  • Teams can improve their workflow, achieve their goals, and improve their efficiency and effectiveness with Kanban’s powerful tools.

Is Scrum Right for You?

  • Team members who believe in collaboration are self-motivated.
  • Changing requirements keep the project on track.
  • Innovation and adaptability are the client’s strengths.
  • In order to determine the time it will take to build many features, you need a plan.
  • Complexity and understanding are key to your project.


  • Fixing issues or requesting small enhancements can be done with Kanban.
  • When you want to achieve important milestones that are feature-driven, use Scrum.
  • It is also okay to combine Scrum and Kanban ideas to reduce work in progress (WIP) and use the Scrum-ban method.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Sanjay Singh
Article written by

Sanjay Singh

Sanjay Singh holds a Bachelor's degree in MCA from JNU University. Sanjay Singh is an experienced WordPress developer with over 6 years of experience. He specializes in PHP programming, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with strong web development ski... read more

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