Kanban vs. Agile

Esther Cohen
November 16, 2022
2 minute read

Agile and Kanban are both project management methodologies that are widely used across multiple industries. They each focus on ensuring that teams can get their work done in the most efficient way and. Additionally these methods also help keep things organized and ensure everyone knows what will happen next. In this post, we'll explain how Agile differs from Kanban, and how to choose the one that is better for your team.

 

What Is Kanban?

Kanban is a visual management system to keep track of progress which focuses on workflow, not just task completion. 

A typical kanban board includes columns for tasks that can be moved forward at any time. These columns are To Do, Doing, and Completed.

The word “kanban” might sound familiar because many software teams have adopted it to manage their development workflows and projects—it’s also known as “lean development/delivery” or LDD. Some companies even use it to manage non-development tasks like marketing campaigns or HR activities like hiring new employees!

 

What Is Agile?

The Agile methodology starts with the problem and then breaks it down into manageable components for teams to solve. This is the opposite of Kanban, which begins with a process and ensures you don’t veer off track. 

Agile is a way of working: It's a mindset, set of principles, practices, tools (for example, stand-ups), values (such as communication), and a community that supports an iterative approach to software development and product management.

 

What Is The Difference Between Agile And Kanban?

Let’s talk about the difference between Kanban and Agile.

 

Kanban

Agile

Origin

Automotive industry in Japan

Software development industry in the US

Key Philosophy

Organizing tasks on a Kanban board and reducing waste by limiting tasks in progress

Breaking down a project into smaller modules

Roles

Service Delivery Manager (SDM)

Service Request Manager (SRM)

Agile is a category of project management methodologies that embrace an iterative approach. Roles will vary depending on which specific Agile methodology will be used.

Progress Tracking

Per Task

Per incremental functional deliverable that starts with a minimum viable product (MVP)

 

Agile project management is a category of project management methodologies promoting iterative progression. Projects are broken down into smaller deliverables, and changes are expected after every round of feedback.

Kanban is a type of Agile methodology. Similar to how Agile breaks down projects into smaller deliverables, units of progress in Kanban are represented by the Kanban cards. You can organize tasks using Kanban using a Kanban board. 

 

Kanban vs. Agile: Which One Should You Choose?

Being that Agile starts with the problem and then breaks it down into manageable problems for teams to solve, this methodology is often used for projects where change is inexpensive. It is also used when project success relies on factors that are challenging to predict, such as customer feedback or user experience.

Kanban is used to increase collaboration through visibility, maintain quality by limiting works in progress, and improve the set work process by gradually decreasing lead time.

The goal of both Agile and Kanban is to get things done: they just go about it differently.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.Is Kanban Agile or Lean?

  1. Kanban can be both Lean and Agile.

Lean project management is about minimizing waste to optimize efficiency. It applies manufacturing concepts to project management to do this. Similarly. Kanban maximizes efficiency by ensuring that works in progress are managed and a continuous workflow is maintained.

Agile project management is about breaking down projects into smaller deliverables. This practice has to be done in Kanban to represent the tasks in Kanban cards, which makes Kanban in Agile a viable tool to use when using Agile methodologies.

Q. Is Kanban Agile?

  1. Kanban is a tool that Agile methodologies can use to represent progress. A Kanban Agile methodology is using a Kanban board to visually represent the progress for an Agile team.

Q. What is Agile in Kanban?

  1. Kanban pushes its users to break the project down into smaller tasks and deliverables. Agile Kanban promotes continuous progress through a structured workflow.

Conclusion

There are many ways to design a system for managing your team. You can choose whichever approach works best for you and your employees, but there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Before jumping into any new project or business venture, take some time to decide what management style suits your company best!

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