How to Decide Between Kanban and Scrum

Kanban and Scrum are methodologies born out of the Agile methodology. Both frameworks have similar principles, such as a focus on collaboration and limiting work in progress, all with the goal of creating a more efficient software development process that produces the best products and services.  

Due to similarities between these frameworks, you may be wondering which methodology will work best for your team. Highlighting the differences between Kanban and Scrum will help provide work out which will work best for you and your team.    

Defining Kanban and Scrum

What is Kanban and What are its Benefits?

Kanban is a visual management system that uses a Kanban board to depict work tasks within a ‘To-Do, Doing, Done,’ format. This type of organization tool is best for those who wish to focus on workflow and reduce process waste in many ways. It has great adaptability because it doesn’t require extensive changes to your current process, just small alterations that are usually easy to incorporate. This makes the methodology relatively simple for any team to adapt its concepts. 

A Kanban board consists of either a physical board or an online board that helps you visualize your work in an organized display. These are extremely helpful for those who wish to speed up the work process and keep the team up-to-date on all the current tasks. The board is made up of visual components such as workflow stages, task cards, work in progress limits, the commitment stage, and the delivery stage. Each of these elements work together to create a visual representation of your workflow and can be simplified to four simple columns consisting of New, To Do, In Progress, and Complete, if necessary.     

Some principles of Kanban consist of:


      • Start with what you do now: Kanban takes what you have been doing and slowly addresses issues by creating a non-disruptive solution. 

      • Pursue new, incremental change: In order to meet minimal resistance, small changes are made through the implementation of feedback forums and collaboration.

      • Encourage leadership at all levels: This improves the workforce mindset because every individual will feel like their insights and actions matter. Overall, this improves team performance.

      • Focus on what the consumer wants and needs: The customer should always be thought of when making all service decisions since they are the targeted audience that brings in revenue.

      • Manage work: Don’t leave room for micro-managing by creating a system for your network of services that allows people to self-organize their work.

      • Regularly look over the network of services: Services must be continuously evaluated in order to develop customer service values. 

    Six Beneficial Kanban Practices:


        1. Visualize Workflow: The Kanban board that displays the steps in your workflow (what it takes to get an item from a demand to a deliverable product). 

        1. Limit Work in Progress (WIP): Only a manageable number of projects should be allowed at one time. Multitasking is wasteful and inefficient. 

        1. Manage Workflow: Manage the flow of work items so that more value is being created.

        1. Make the Process of this Method Clear: Improvement comes with understanding, which is why it’s so essential that this process’s usefulness be explained to team members.    

        1. Feedback Loops: In order to be more agile, feedback loops should be used to make sure that organizations are responding to changes and they allow knowledge transferences between stakeholders. 

        1. Improve Through Collaboration: By collaborating within an organization, changes that lead to improvement are easily made. This can be done through the use of scientifically proven methods of change, feedback, and metrics. 

      What is Scrum and What are its Benefits?

      Scrum is an adaptable framework that grows and maintains elaborate products through the use of iterative progress, accountability, and collaboration. Software development, marketing, and web design teams, with complex projects, create better products through this process. 

      This methodology is best suited for product or software development teams that strive for better deliverables. It is also favored by marketing and web design teams. While Kanban is best at managing smaller projects that are subject to change, the more complicated, higher-risk projects that demand a team to quickly adapt to changes find Scrum to be the best method. 

      Four core scrum events that break your project’s timeline up into small sprints:


          1. Sprint Planning Meeting 

          1. Daily/Weekly Scrum: A 15-minute time-boxed meeting held daily to discuss the previous day’s accomplishments, as well as the following day’s goals.

          1. Sprint Review: End-of-day meeting where team members discuss their progress and receive feedback from stakeholders.

          1. Sprint Retrospective: Scrum team meeting that discusses the previous Sprint and creates expectations for the next Sprint.

        There are many benefits of using Scrum:


            • Feedback is readily available through the use of regular meetings and sprints. 

            • Larger projects are divided, through the use of these sprints, into a manageable workload.

            • Helps to define team roles, which help in delegating tasks. 

            • Scrum allows work process transparency for employees and stakeholders. 

            • Easily adaptable so as to accommodate any larger projects that are subject to change, which saves time and money. 

          Kanban vs. Scrum

          To help you choose between Kanban and Scrum, it’s best to compare them by taking a look at their similarities and differences: 

          Some of their shared principles include:


              • Self-Organized Teams 

              • Visualization

              • Pull-based Scheduling 

              • Focus on continuous improvement 

              • Vigilant Maintenance 

            The Major Differences Found Between Kanban and Scrum:


                • Scrum uses estimation through story points, which keep track of work complexity.  Kanban advocates for you to only start a new project when the previous one has been completed. 

                • Scrum uses Sprints, which group work tasks together that are to be completed within a specific timeframe. Timeboxing is only optional for the continuous Kanban method. 

                • Scrum identifies a workload amount and commits to it, whereas Kanban teams don’t practice such commitment. 

                • Iterations are mandatory in the Scrum framework but only encouraged by the Kanban method. 

                • Scrum teams have designated roles and responsibilities to carry out, like Scrum masters and product owners. Kanban doesn’t use such formal roles. 

                • Scrum uses Burndown and velocity charts with its framework, while Kanban only uses its Kanban board. 

              Now that you have a better understanding of what Scrum or Kanban is best suited for, you should be able to make an educated decision for your next project. 

              Learn More about K2 Partnering’s Solutions

              If you’re in the market to improve your software development projects and need resources that know Agile, Scrum, or Kanban, K2 Partnering can help. With a team of specialists, technical experts, and enterprise solutions consultants with years of experience in delivering custom solutions, complex migrations, and software development, your projects will be managed by the best.

              Having been at the forefront of technology and talent for over 20 years, with world-class solutions at our fingertips, we help businesses to innovate and grow. By keeping your scope, managing your time, ensuring quality, and keeping your costs down, we can deliver product solutions with minimal fuss. Our worldwide network of locations offers a global reach, with local expertise. That way we can deliver first-class technology solutions and unparalleled industry knowledge to our clients.  

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              Marketing Team