It’s getting close to the deadline and your team members are struggling with a ton of different moving pieces to complete your software project. One person in the software development team is still working on coding issues, while another team member struggles with implementation. Kanban vs Scrum: Which software development strategy should you turn to?
Kanban and Scrum are two agile methodologies that aim to improve the flow of work and have you continuously improving collaborative efforts. The faster the product gets to consumers, the quicker you and your team can move onto the next big project.
However, projects can lose a lot of steam if both the amount of work and flow of work is completely off. Luckily, these two notable software development workflow strategies aim to emphasize quality over quantity.
Let’s look at what agile methodologies are and how Kanban and Scrum fit into the framework. We’ll examine some differences, what they’re all about, and what method is best for what you’re trying to accomplish with your software development team.
What Are Agile Methodologies?
Agile methodologies are iterative developmental models that emphasize collaborative efforts between cross-functional team members in software development. The heart of agile methodologies is more substantial results from a better, more focused organization of software development teams.
Two of the most notable agile methodologies, Kanban and Scrum, have introduced ways and means to modify the flow of work to where the development cycle time is not only shorter but more tightly organized.
Let’s look more at the main parts of the two, and when it comes to Kanban vs Scrum, which one applies to your development team.
What Is Kanban?
Kanban, Japanese for ‘signboard,’ is one of the most well-known agile methodologies. Kanban is all about finding the perfect balance between what a team member can do versus what part of a project needs finishing.
How Does Kanban Work?
Kanban is a visual-based agile methodology for cross-functional teams. Its primary tool, the Kanban board, gives team members a more visual, tangible way to observe and mark their progress.
With Kanban, there is no hierarchy. No leading developers or department heads. Instead, Kanban promotes collaboration and teamwork through an independent and collective lens.
A member of a cross-functional team may become overwhelmed by a certain amount of work. This is where team members view the Kanban board and assist their struggling coworker.
The ‘Pull’ System
A Kanban board will use a ‘pull’ system in which the flow of work determines the development cycle time. Team members can only start new tasks after completing older ones.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is an agile framework where the cycle time divides into sprints: two to four-week periods of an intensive flow of work dedicated to one aspect of a project.
Introduced by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber in the mid-1990s, Scrum’s ideology bases itself on teamwork, iteration, collaboration, and an incremental flow of work.
How Does Scrum Work?
The Scrum teams are headed by what’s called the ‘Scrum master.’ The product owner is the only person that ranks higher than the Scrum master.
The Scrum master is the Scrum development team leader who determines things like the amount of time, work, and manpower spent on a project. The Scrum master does this by consulting the scrum board: the general view of the amount of work that needs completing on a specific product.
The Scrum master determines what work items and goals from the Scrum board need finishing, adding them to the ‘sprint backlog.’ Once everything is in place, cross-functional teams of ten or fewer engage in the sprint, lasting no longer than a month.
After the allotted time for the sprint runs out, it’s time for the Scrum master to oversee the development team in a sprint retrospective. As you can probably guess, this is the in-depth analysis of what worked and what needs improvement.
The sprint retrospective is an excellent practice of software development post-mortem and allows team members to continuously improve their work.
Kanban vs Scrum: What Works Best for Your Team?
Now that you know a little more about Kandan vs Scrum methodologies, you can better determine what flow of work best fits with the individuals on your software development team.
Kanban offers a much more open and independent way of working within a development team. There are no predefined roles, and different amounts of work can shift at a moment’s notice.
With Scrum, there are concrete, predefined roles. A cross-functional team sticks to their expertise the entire time.
Can I Use Kanban and Scrum at the Same Time?
Just because these are two different agile methodologies doesn’t mean you can’t draw from both. In fact, it could probably pay off in spades for your development team if you did so.
Scrum masters and scrum team members will often use Kanban boards to visualize their sprint backlog and goals better.
A Quick Note on WIP Limits
What happens when the Kanban or Scrum board gets cluttered with too many tasks? This is where WIP limits come into play.
WIP limits put constraints on work items. For example, there could be a WIP limit of four work items in the implementation phase to stress team members’ stress and allocate proper manpower to other departments.
Both Kanban and Scrum use their own boards, but WIP limits are universal and essential for a healthy flow of work.
Summing Up Kanban vs Scrum
Both Kanban and Scrum are unique and effective methods to get the most out of and cut down the amount of work for a lead time drastically.
Feel free to mix up these agile methodologies. It’s a great way to tailor the flow of work for cross-functional team members. Do you prefer Kanban’s pull system or Scrum’s sprint?
The choice is ultimately up to you, but you really can’t go wrong when it comes to Kanban or Scrum.