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What is Scrumban?

by Savita Pahuja

A combination of the two great Lean approaches may lead to an ideal one. Scrumban combines Scrum and Kanban and contains the best rules and practices of both methods. On one hand, it uses the sanctioned nature of Scrum to be Agile, on the other it encourages teams to constantly improve their processes along with Kanban's aim of continuous improvement (Kaizen).

scrumban kanban scrum

Scrum works by...

dividing the team into small multi-functional teams, assigning certain numbers of jobs into sprints and committing the team to complete them by the end of the sprint. It is mainly optimized by looking back at previous experiences.

Kanban concentrates on...

visualization of workflow and putting a limit onto how much work can be completed at any given time. The prime source of improvement possibilities comes from measuring the lead time, analyzing the cumulative flow diagram and aiming to do better in the future.

The crucial difference in running a Scrum and Kanban board...

is in the items pull order. In Scrum - once the Sprint was planned and the tasks were placed in the queue, all the team can do is.. to pull. Meanwhile, in Kanban, after the tasks were placed in their appropriate columns, it's up to the team members which items they prefer to work on first (as long as they pull from the correct column). So, Kanban is more flexible in this respect.

The Scrumban solution...

promotes an increase in the system's capabilities, allowing to process more items. Monitoring the lead time is easier, thanks to balancing the team capacity versus the demand.

It's recommended to apply a WIP limit even to the backlog, as this allows to reduce possible waste of estimating how much can be done in one iteration. Instead, you may just finish quicker and start the next one as soon as you are ready. This way, the time saved on estimating can be used on reviewing the process and applying new system improving policies.

Since Kanban is fitting in nicely with Scrum - demanding simply more visualization and the appliance of WIP limits, there are no reasons not to try it. What can be gained, is the possibility to always be perfecting the process, and in a slightly more pleasant manner: one could say, that Scrum works much like a shock treatment, whereas Kanban applies a long-term, steady build-up of an evolutionary improvement.

If you want to give it a try, sign up to Kanban Tool now. Start a free trial, set up a Scrumban board and watch your process evolve towards the better and better still.


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