WebRTC Expert Feature

August 15, 2018

The Main Differences Between Kanban and Scrum

When it comes to project management, there are a number of different software packages that you can use which use different project management methods as their basis. The two most common ones that you tend to find are Kanban and Scrum. Kanban and Scrum are terms that are often used interchangeable of one another, however, they are actually different from each other and are not ‘two sides of the same coin’ which is what many people tend to think. There are actually some big differences between the two Agile methodologies and so when you are trying to choose the one that is going to be best for your working environment, it is important that you know what these differences are so you can make an accurate decision on which one to invest in.

In this article, we will be taking you through what these project management styles both are and the main differences between the Scrum Board vs Kanban Board.

What Exactly is Kanban?

If you are unfamiliar with Kanban, this is essentially software that you can use to organize your work and help your business to be more efficient. With Kanban, tasks are broken down into chunks that are more manageable and a board is used so that you can visualise the work to be carried out as it progresses through the workflow. With Kanban, the tasks that you are working on tend to be more limited as you can normally only put so many on the to do list.

What Exactly is Scrum?

Scrum is, again, a tool used to organise your work into smaller, more manageable pieces. It is designed to have cross-functional teams working on a project and there is usually more of a set time limit compared to Kanban project management. This time frame is called a sprint. This style of project management also provides you with a visual board where you can see the workflow, break it down into smaller chunks and then watch as it moves from the backlog to the work in progress tab and then onto completion.

How Are They Both Similar?

When we are talking about the Kanban vs Scrum board, what is interesting is that they actually have some similarities. Both types of management are great for larger, complex projects as both will allow you to break them down to be completed more efficiently. Both tools also place a great emphasis on continual improvement and the workflow process being optimised. Both also promote transparency and having the workflow easily visible to all members of staff.

How Are They Different?

So, how do you choose between the Scrum board vs Kanban board? There are some key differences between the two in regards to both the practical implementation and philosophy behind them.

With A Scrum Board, there is a bigger emphasis on the schedule. A list will be provided to employees with the most important tasks located at the top. Then, the ‘sprints’ of work are calculated and the team will work out how many tasks on the list they can do within this set time period. Tasks that don’t make the list are then moved onto the following sprint. Over a few sprints, the team will figure out where their specific skill sets lie so that the project time length can be optimised in the future. This allows for more accurate estimations for the work flow and you can effectively manage multiple projects. Kanban, on the other hand, does not have requires time boxes and work will continually be completed and honed as time goes on. With Kanban, the aim is to have the work flow steady and efficient instead of working to ‘sprints’.

Another key difference is the roles and responsibilities within both tools. With Scrum boards, the roles are clearly defined and each role has its own set of responsibilities while working together to achieve an efficient balance. All teams are also cross-functional and so if one team cannot complete a sprint, another team can step in to do this. With Kanban, there are no set roles and roles tend to evolve over the course or a project depending on what it needs. Kanban teams are not usually cross-functional as it is designed for many people with different specialities from the team to be able to access it. This allows many different specialists all to be working from the same Kanban board.

Finally, there are also some big differences between the boards themselves. With a Scrum board, each section of the process will be very clearly defined, with the work all landing at the end column once complete within the sprint time. Kanban is similar with its columns, but it will also have a maximum number of stories that can be featured on one column at a time.

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