Kanban vs ScrumThe thorough comparison between Kanban and Scrum

Kanban vs Scrum

Kanban vs Scrum

Both Kanban and Scrum are process tools that are commonly used in Agile software development. The main aim of the two is to improve efficiency in the software development processes. Kanban can be summed up as an approach which involves splitting up work into small deliverables and assigning specific tasks to members of a team. The Kanban approach helps software development be perceived as a whole system. Its main aim is improving the whole development system gradually.

Kanban involves two processes only. These are:

  • Visualize the workflow
  • Limit the work in progress

The two rules of Kanban allow for an open and flexible platform that can be adapted to any given environment. Kanban is also ideal over Scrum in that it focuses on workflow as opposed to time spent on the process. Kanban is also more adaptable and flexible across all organizational levels as opposed to Scrum, which is only suitable for software development.


Kanban and Scrum are two of the most common approaches used in the development process to get the desired deliverables of a project. In as much as both are independent entities, they have some similarities between them. These similarities include:

  • Both are lean and agile,
  • Both processes limit the work in progress,
  • Both make use of pull scheduling,
  • Both need work be broken down,
  • Both are centered on organized teams,
  • Both target reusable software,
  • Both make use of transparency to steer process improvement.


In as much as Kanban and Scrum have their similarities, they also have different approaches on how software development is and change is perceived. Scrum will generally pursue fast change while Kanban follows a slow change process. It is these differences that determine whether Scrum or Kanban should be used and in which circumstances.

Scrum is based on time boxed iterations. Kanban on the other hand may or may not be based on the time boxed iterations. Time taken in each phase of development is not preset, but rather event driven. Commitment to the process in Scrum is mandatory while commitment in Kanban is optional. Scrum prescribes cross functional teams while Kanban does not prescribe any teams. Scrum uses a burn down chart for each sprint while Kanban does not prescribe any charts. Kanban limits Work in Progress directly to workflow state as opposed to Scrum which limits Work in Progress indirectly via a sprint plan.


From the above differences, it is quite clear that Kanban is an ideal solution for lightweight projects due to the few rules it implements. Scrum is quite complex and ideal for large projects which may take a long duration of time to complete, in most cases several months.

Kanban on the other hand is simple and clear, with its continuous development plan. Kanban allows project owners to prioritize on their feature requests. Further, Kanban allows project owners get up-close and personal with the development team to get a better understanding of how they work. This allows them to refine the process and become better. This allows developers work better as a team and finish what they had begun much faster. In cases where developers are forced put in resources into other parts of the project to assist, they start to view the entire project and are able to identify the challenges that might improve the entire project.

Scrum places a lot of focus on the processes and iterations. Kanban is all about simplicity with few constraints. This allows for freedom to change each step in the development process. With visualization of workflow, other aspects which will appeal to the customers can be added in time. The final focus should be on what process offers your customers the best value.

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