Scrum vs. Kanban: Which Agile Methodology is Best?

Esther Cohen
November 30, 2022
3 minute read

When it comes to agile project management, teams have plenty of options to choose from. Two popular methods are the Scrum and Kanban methodologies

Scrum and Kanban are both excellent methods for increasing efficiency and productivity in the workplace. They each have their own unique set of pros and cons, but your team needs to figure out which works best with your workflow and objectives. In this post, we’ll explain the differences between Kanban and Scrum and help you decide which agile methodology suits your team best.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile software development methodology created in the early ’90s. It’s a highly controlled method that lays out specific rules for running a project. 

At the heart of Scrum is the idea that teams will produce more and work more efficiently if they are given consistent goals, clear expectations, and guidelines. 

Scrum uses a series of meetings to keep these goals in sight. This includes a daily stand-up meeting to help team members stay on track and follow through with goals, and a Sprint Review to evaluate deliverables after each two-to-four-week period called sprints. A Sprint Retrospective Meeting is also done to identify bottlenecks and problem areas within the team.

 

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a relatively new Agile software development methodology that has earned much popularity over the past decade. In many ways, it’s almost the opposite of Scrum. 

You’ll notice that the meetings that are a part of the Kanban method are much less regimented and don’t follow a strict set of guidelines. This is because Kanban is built around the idea that each team is unique and that what works for one team might not work for another. 

The Kanban method focuses on identifying bottlenecks, change, and risk and then finding ways to mitigate them through continuous improvement. Kanban uses a kanban board: a visual board split into three parts: To Do, Work In Progress, and Done. Tasks are represented by note cards or post-its called kanban cards

Team members must regularly shift cards between these two columns to keep track of where they are in the workflow (and which cards are causing blockages). 

The Kanban approach also creates a “culture of continuous improvement.” This means that team members are encouraged to regularly review their process and look for ways to make improvements to become more efficient over time.

 

How Do Kanban and Scrum Differ?

 

Kanban

Agile Scrum

Origin

Automotive industry in Japan

Software development industry in the US

Key Philosophy

Continuous flow and improvement

Structured meetings and deliverables on set time frames (called sprints)

Roles

Service Delivery Manager (SDM)

Service Request Manager (SRM)

Scrum Master

Product Owner

Development Team

Progress Tracking

Per task

Per sprint

 

In general, Kanban and Scrum are very different in their approach. While Scrum is very regimented and prescriptive, Kanban is less so. While Scrum uses fixed time intervals and has a particular workflow, Kanban is more flexible and project-specific. 

That being said, there are a few key differences that are worth highlighting.

  1. Scrum keeps team members focused on the next task at hand, while Kanban creates a better environment for continuous improvement. 
  2. Scrum is designed to limit work in progress, while Kanban is focused on creating a smooth workflow from start to finish.
  3. Scrum is a fixed-length approach, while Kanban can be used on various projects of any length.
  4. Scrum is most often used for software development, while Kanban is a general approach that can be applied to many fields.

How To Choose The Methodology Which is Best for your Team?

No matter which approach you choose, you’ll see an increase in productivity over the long term. That being said, each method has its strengths and weaknesses, and your team needs to decide which approach works best with its workflow and objectives. 

Scrum can be very rigid when it comes to its guidelines. For example, a Scrum team is made up of a Scrum master, a product owner, and a development team

The product owner sets the roadmap and direction. On the other hand, the development team executes in a self-organizing way. A dedicated Scrum master ensures that Scrum ceremonies are carried out productively. In Kanban, everybody owns the kanban board, and specific roles aren’t needed for the team. 

A Scrum master is different from a project manager because he’s specialized in the Scrum methodology. So when you pick Kanban versus Scrum, evaluate if you have sufficient expertise to carry out the latter or if you’re willing to hire someone who does. This is another difference between Scrum and Kanban.

 

How Workamajig Supports Kanban vs. Scrum

No matter your methodology, your team will benefit from the added efficiency and productivity that agile brings. Choose the method which is best suited for your team and project. 

And when using a project management software like Workamajig which supports both the kanban and scrum methodologies you will be more efficient than ever. No more spreadsheets or manually tracking things with the risk of having important things fall through the cracks. With Workamajig, you not only get the premiere marketing project management software, but a fully integrated tool that includes: resource management, CRM, billing and accounting, task management, and business intelligence. You can get rid of all your multiple tools and manage everything within Workamajig. Learn more and see how you can work more efficiently with Workamajig.

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