Derek Neighbors

The more I learn, the less I know.

Agile What is the Difference Between Scrum vs Kanban?

By Derek Neighbors, Published on September 3, 2013

What Process is Right For My Team (Scrum vs Kanban)

I see a lot of new teams search endlessly for the best process for to use. They tend to ask what is best for us? Which usually devolves into Scrum vs Kanban. I am firm believer in experiencing them to understand, but one could argue you have to start somewhere. For those seeking here is a very brief quick side by side view.

Similarities Between Kanban and Scrum

  • Both are Lean and Agile
  • Both use pull scheduling
  • Both limit Work in Process (WIP)
  • Both use transparency to drive process improvement
  • Both focus on delivering releasable software early and often
  • Both are based on self-organizing teams
  • Both require breaking the work into pieces (decomposition)
  • In both cases the release plan is continuously optimized based on empirical data (velocity or lead time)

From Henrik Kniberg’spractical guide” comparing Kanban vs Scrum (pdf).

Quick Feature Comparison

Feature Kanban Scrum Hybrid
Daily Stand-ups No Yes Yes
Artifacts None Backlog, Current Work, Burndown Charts Current Work
Metrics Lead Time/Cycle Time Velocity Lead Time/Cycle Time
Demo/Review Not used Required Optional
Skill Sets Specialized Allowed, Cross-Functional Optional Cross-Functional Prescribed Specialized Allowed, Cross-Functional Optional
Iterations Optional (can be event driven) Yes Optional (can be event driven)
Commitment No Yes (Per Iteration) No
New Work Prioritized Immediately (Optional) Prioritized at Sprint Planning Meeting Prioritized Immediately (Optional)
Retrospective Not used Required Optional
Work Decomposition No Size Limit Limited to fit within Iteration No Size Limit
WIP Limiting Per workflow state Per sprint Per workflow state
Estimation No Prescribed Optional
Work Visualization Board is persistent Board reset every sprint Board is persistent
Defined Roles None Product Owner, Scrum Master, Scrum Team Product Owner, Scrum Master (Optional), Scrum Team

Modified from Requirementally‘sA Quick Comparison of Scrum-ban, Kanban and Scrum“.