Which Agile Methodology is Right for Me and My Team? Kanban vs. Scrum

Tags: Agile

Which agile methodology is right for me and my team differences kanban scrum

If you think that you, your department, organization, or project is ready to adopt agile, you might be wondering which methodology is right for me. When considering agile, there are a couple of different methodologies, but two of the most common are Scrum and Kanban. These two methodologies have a lot of similarities but different in one keyway, the cycle of deployment.


Which Agile methodology is right for me?

When considering agile, many managers and companies try to adopt a particular framework. But this goes directly against one of the core values of agile, individuals and interactions over processes and tools. But, before I go any deeper into these two methodologies you should know the biggest difference between them. Scrum is iterative or incremental (has a set time) while Kanban is continuous.

These two methodologies do have quite a few similarities, causing a lot of confusion between them, but also many differences. Before you try to figure out which framework is best for you; let’s look at what are the ideal cases, principles and lifecycles of these two methodologies.

  Scrum Kanban
IDEAL CASE Scrum is best suited for cross-functional teams working in a setting where the tasks can be broken into a 2–4-week cycle. Kanban is best suited when tasks are unpredictable, and the “work” should be deployed as soon as possible.
PRINCIPLES

Transparency: Environments must be open, and all team member should be aware of the issue’s others are having. Reoccurring or lasting problems should be continuously brought up.

Inspection: Teams should continuously reflect on how processes are working with daily meetings, sprint reviews, and retros (discussed below in practices).

Adaptation: The team should continually review how things are progressing and discuss items that are an issue or confusing.

Start with what you do now, agree to improve based on incremental changes, and encourage leadership.

Understand and focus on customers’ needs.

Manage work, but let people self-organize.

Evolve policies to improve outcomes.

LIFECYCLE

Scrum allows teams to flexibly adapt to changes while maintaining checkpoints to ensure that the team does not stray from the desired outcomes.

The Scrum lifecycle is:

1. Establish a Product Backlog.

2. Select the items included in the Sprint

3. Determine the scope and plan for delivering the items within the Sprint.

4. Have daily meetings to discuss tasks and possibilities for cooperation.

5. At the end of the Sprint, the team delivers the Product Backlog items included within the Sprint. The team holds a Sprint Review to present the items and get feedback. The team also reflects on the Sprint and possibilities for adapting new or modified processes.

6. The team repeats steps 2–4 until they meet the desired outcome of the product.

Kanban does not have set stages, but many organizations choose to use the following points to ensure the flow of work and feedback.

Quarterly

Strategy Review- Choose the tasks or services and identify the appropriate context.

Monthly

Risk Review- Review and react to service delivery risks.

Operations Review- Review the balance between tasks and services; prioritize people and resources to maximize value.

Bi-weekly

Service Delivery Review- Examine and improve tasks or services and focus on improving the Kanban system. This stage is similar to a “Retro” in Scrum.

Weekly

Replenishment Meeting- Identify tasks and determine which will be selected next. This stage is similar to the “Planning Meeting” for Scrum.

Daily

Kanban Meeting- Teams coordinate their activities, for the day, this is similar to a "Daily” in Scrum.

Per Delivery

Delivery Planning Meeting- Manage and plan the deliveries.

Making Agile Work for You

So now you might be asking yourself, which is right for me: Kanban or Scrum? Hopefully, you will be able to identify which is best for your team or project. But don’t be so quick to completely count out the other option. These two frameworks can be used together within the same project, team, or company.

One example of a real-world mixing of these frameworks would be how we develop our products. At Efecte, we use some elements of Scrum such as the Backlog Refinement to create the roadmap, Daily Meetings to facilitate collaboration, and bi-weekly Retrospective Meetings and continuously improve R&D processes. However, we use Kanban to process the product backlog, meaning that we do not have sprints but take on new work at any given time when resources are available.

 

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Patrick Thurman

Written by Patrick Thurman

I am the product marketing expert at Efecte and have a passion for identifying and experimenting with new project and management concepts and strategies.