Which Method Should You Use: Kanban or Scrum?

When used together, Scrum and Kanban provide a versatile and efficient method for software development. Kanban is a system for managing workflows in human systems, aimed at refining and streamlining processes, while Scrum is a framework that aids teams in concurrently tackling adaptive and intricate challenges.

Efficient organization is crucial to succeed in any undertaking, regardless of its scope. This is particularly relevant when it comes to overseeing expansive projects involving hundreds or thousands of developers, as discussed in our blog post about project management methodologies.

Collaborative project management software solutions such as Scrum and Kanban are now being utilized by organizations of varying sizes to sustain their adaptiveness and stay ahead of the competition. Regardless of the programming language used by the team, these tools can improve team efficiency, be it in Java, JavaScript, .NET, Ruby, Python, C, C++, C# or any other language.

Determining which tool to use can be challenging. To assist you in making a choice, let us compare and contrast the two. We’ll begin by exploring Kanban.

Kanban

Kanban: What Does It Entail?

Taiichi Ohno devised Kanban in the 1940s at Toyota Automotive, with the goal of improving inventory and workload management. To attain this objective, Ohno established a methodology that relies on four primary principles that can be implemented in diverse project types.

  1. Commence what you’re doing right away.
  2. Gradually make small adjustments.
  3. Acknowledge the worth of existing positions and titles.
  4. Foster leadership in every setting.

As such, these principles govern the following fundamental procedures:

  1. Illustrate operational techniques via graphics.
  2. Minimize the number of ongoing projects.
  3. Regulate the speed of task completion.
  4. Ensure clarity of all process policies.
  5. Set up and oversee feedback loops.
  6. Collaboratively develop and progress.

The Kanban board is a manifestation of these concepts, featuring segments for items such as:

  • Requiring Action
  • Currently in Progress
  • Expert Comparative Assessment
  • Testing
  • Done

Implementation of Kanban

To implement the use of a Kanban board for Project X, the first step would be to allot tasks to each column.

  • Item A
  • Item B
  • Item C
  • Item D

Each task will be assigned to a programmer (or a team of developers). Initially, all tasks will be labelled as ‘To Be Done’ on the board. Once work has started, the respective item will be moved to the ‘In Progress’ column. After completion, the item will be forwarded for Peer Review. Subsequently, it may undergo Testing to verify its accuracy. Upon passing all tests, the item will be marked as finished. If additional work is required, the item can be shifted back to the ‘In Progress’ category.

Upon completing all tasks in the ‘Completed’ column, the project will be considered finished and can be rolled out.

Now, let us delve into Scrum.

Scrum

When questioned, “What is Scrum?”

Unlike Kanban, Scrum is a framework that empowers teams to set up circumstances where:

  1. Whenever the product owner encounters a complex challenge, they will enter the requisite tasks for resolving it into a Product Backlog prioritised by order of importance.
  2. While in a code sprint, a team collaborates to convert a section of the assignment into a fresh attribute or functionality.
  3. Prior to initiating a new cycle of code development, the team and stakeholders analyse the output of the preceding cycle.

The above processes will be repeated until the project reaches its completion.

Ways to Utilise Scrum

Scrum is founded on empiricism which prioritises human-centred practical methods over computational ones. The core structure of Scrum is outlined as follows:

  1. Product Backlog
  2. Sprint Planning
  3. Carried Forward Work from the previous sprint
  4. Daily Scrum Meeting
  5. Increment
  6. Small Time-Frame Retrospective
  7. Sprint Retrospective

Once the work is finished following the final phase, it is ready to be marked “Done” within the Scrum process. If any additional work is identified as necessary during the review and retrospective stages, the task is transferred back to the Sprint Planning phase, and the process resumes anew.

The Main Differences Between Kanban and Scrum

Let us now examine and differentiate these two techniques.

Scheduling

Scrum subdivides time periods into ‘sprints’, ranging from two to four weeks in duration. Kanban, in contrast, doesn’t depend on any specific timeframe to accomplish its goals; it utilizes a constant delivery process that is monitored via Kanban boards.

Roles

Scrum designates three separate roles for each member of its team:

Besides the role of a project manager, there are no other defined positions in Kanban.

Meetings

Scrum obliges its participants to partake in the following four “Scrum ceremonies”:

  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum Meeting
  • Retrospective Meeting
  • Sprint Review Meeting

In contrast to Scrum, scheduling daily stand-ups is not necessary when practicing Kanban.

Assessment of Task Progress

To measure and monitor progress, Scrum teams apply data such as burndown and burnup charts, while Kanban teams use cumulative flow diagrams to oversee the advancement of a given task.

How Do I Determine Which Device to Utilize?

If teams require more administration and guidance throughout their projects, Scrum provides a higher level of control and structure, making it preferable. On the other hand, Kanban may be better suited for teams that prefer a more hands-off approach.

Other considerations to take into account when making your decision include:

  • If you aim to enhance your planning and estimation skills, Scrum methodology should be your choice.
  • To improve overall productivity, implementing a Kanban system is recommended.
  • If you want to employ multi-disciplinary teams, Scrum methodology is suggested.
  • If your team collaborates across departments, utilizing a Kanban system is the most suitable method.
  • Code sprints benefit your project if you opt for Scrum methodology.
  • When dealing with ad hoc activities in a collaborative setting, Kanban methodology is the most effective approach for management.
  • If you require a steady supply, Kanban methodology is an excellent option.
  • If you’re looking for a process that can be quickly implemented with minimal effort, Kanban methodology is the ideal approach.

Conclusion

Selecting the appropriate methodology can play a vital role in ensuring effective project management and keeping developers on the right path. It must be tailored to your unique circumstances, goals, and teams. Making the right choice can lead to a successful development lifecycle.

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