Scrum Board vs. Kanban Board

Esther Cohen
November 16, 2022
2 minute read

When using the agile project management methodology, the choice of tools can get downright confusing. Here we will illustrate the similarities and differences between the scrum and kanban board tools to clear the confusion, and help you choose the one that will work best with your projects to achieve your goals easily and efficiently. 

The basic concept behind the Scrum process is to divide a project into small pieces so that teams can complete each piece in a short time. This allows teams to test and evaluate each deliverable and incrementally create the final product.

At first glance, dividing work into smaller chunks seems quite similar to Kanban's approach. But here lies the heart of the difference: While Kanban boards have one main lane for all work items (or "tickets"), Scrum boards always have multiple lanes, because tasks are separated into user stories as well.

Let’s talk about their similarities and differences so you’ll know which one is best for your team.

 

Similarities between a Kanban board and a Scrum Board

 

You can customize your Kanban board according to your preferred workflow.

You can use both Kanban and Scrum boards to manage work. They use a physical or digital surface separated into vertical columns representing the status of a task. Tasks are represented by cards. In Kanban, we call these Kanban cards. For Scrum boards, they’re just called tasks.

A consistent workflow is promoted for both Kanban and Scrum boards. Their formats also increase task visualization. Updating both boards simply means moving the cards along the board to ensure that their status reflects the team’s progress.

Both Kanban boards and Scrum boards are flexible. You can add vertical columns to represent your team’s workflow. Following the Kanban principles will also allow you to maximize its benefits.

 

Differences between a Kanban board and a Scrum board

A Kanban board groups all tasks into one column called Backlog. Once the team starts working, they’re moved along the board until they’re all piled under the Completed column. 

For Scrum Boards, the vertical columns are also organized into swimlanes – horizontal rows across the board. Each swim lane represents a user story. This way, tasks that correspond to each user story can be easily segregated.

Scrum Board Image from Techno-PM

A Kanban board represents all tasks that have to be done for a project. A Scrum board only presents the tasks that need to be done for the sprint –a two-to-four-week period with specific deliverables.

Adding and removing tasks also sets a Kanban and a Scrum board apart. Tasks for a sprint are selected before it starts. Once the dev team starts working, tasks can no longer be added to the Scrum board. As for Kanban, tasks can be added or removed at any time. 

Control in Kanban is focused on the works in progress. Project managers make sure that the number of items under this column is within set limits.

At the end of a sprint, tasks in a Scrum board must be finished. If not, the sprint is considered a failure. For Kanban, the backlog will always be filled until the project is completed.

 

Wrapping Up

Scrum boards and Kanban boards have many similarities, and in a way, you can say that a Scrum board is also a Kanban board. But they do have a massive difference in what they track: a Kanban board represents tasks in a project, and a Scrum board represents tasks within a sprint.

Understanding the similarities and differences between a Kanban board and a Scrum board can help you identify what your team needs. If you’re using the Agile Scrum technique, you might benefit more from a Scrum board. But if you value continuous workflow more, a Kanban board might be a better pick.

When looking for a project management tool that allows you to use any methodology that your team needs, check out Workamajig. It’s a flexible marketing project management tool made for creative teams. See how Workamajig can help your agency or creative team manage projects more efficiently. The software includes every feature that a marketing agency wants and needs, such as: resource management, task management, CRM, billing & accounting and more. See how we can help connect your projects to profits, thereby saving your business real money. Request a demo today to see how we can help your team grow! 

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