Kanban vs Sprint: What’s The Difference?

Esther Cohen
December 6, 2022
2 minute read

Kanban and Sprint are both agile project management methodologies that share similarities, as well as differences. Let’s take a more in depth look at each project management methodology so you can choose the best one for your projects.

 

What Is Kanban?

The Kanban methodology is a visual management tool used by many companies worldwide to optimize their workflow processes efficiently and effectively. Kanban principles promote continuous improvement, visual management, and process optimization.

Project teams who use kanban use cards (physical or digital) when planning tasks. They’re all placed on a Kanban board, which is a surface that’s divided into three columns that represent the progress status for each task: To Do (Backlog), Doing (Work In Progress), and Done (Completed).

 

It's a lightweight system that doesn't require complex analysis to set up or use; it's easy to understand even for non-experts.

 

What Is A Sprint?

Sprints are two-to-four-week periods used in Agile Scrum. These are concentrated work intervals where a self-organizing Scrum team tackles goals set by the Product Owner. At the end of a sprint, the team submits their deliverable, receives feedback, and evaluates how the feedback affects the priorities for the next sprint.

 

Kanban vs. Sprint: What’s The Difference?

Sprints are time-boxed iterations where teams focus on getting things done. On the other hand, Kanban is the method of managing a team’s project tasks using a Kanban board. 

Kanban is focused on continuous improvement –the gradual decrease of lead times for tasks. However, it’s not time-bound. The goal of Kanban is constant improvement and consistent workflow.

Meanwhile, the focus of Sprints in Agile Scrum is to be able to produce working deliverables for testing and feedback. This allows the team to go through multiple testing rounds and iteration cycles before making a final product.

 

Wrapping Up: What Should You Pick?

If you just want to visualize your tasks and use a continuous workflow, Kanban can be a great option. The Kanban cards and Kanban board are relatively straightforward to use. 

Usually adopted by software developers, using Sprints can be effective if you want to subject your deliverable to many rounds of testing and feedback.

It’s also an option to use both together: Use sprints to set concrete goals within short work periods, and use Kanban to keep track of the tasks you need to complete the sprint.

Ultimately, picking the best tools to use for your team will depend on your project. Be sure to choose a flexible project management tool like Workamajig which supports both the kanban and sprint methods, so you’re free to adapt your techniques to your needs.

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