Scrum vs Kanban


Scrum and Kanban are agile project management methodologies. They can be used in any industry, but especially in IT. Both methodologies are based on Agile. However, they have their special features. In this article, we will look at their main differences.


Kanban. Several highly specialized teams can work on a task. For example, analysts work first, then designers draw a prototype, and at the third stage, developers are involved.

Scrum. One universal team is working on the project. There are as many versatile specialists in it as you need to solve any project task. Besides these, there are two roles:

  1. Scrum Master is a person who organizes work but is not a manager.
  2. Product Owner can represent an external customer. He/she knows everything about the market and target audience and prioritizes tasks. The team presents the result of the work to the PO.

How to work on a project

Kanban. Compared to Scrum directives, Kanban Board is a bulwark of liberalism and chaos.

There are no sprints. The project is usually divided into iterations, but they can be of any length. It causes the following features:

  • New tasks can be added at any time. If something needs to be done urgently, the team does not wait for the next sprint.
  • The task remains in operation for as long as necessary until the team completes it or cancels it.

Scrum. All the time until the deadline is divided into equal sprints. Sprint is a time-box during which a “done” product is created. A sprint can last for a day or a month, and in recent years, a sprint of 2 weeks has become the standard. The sprint consists of 4 sequential stages:

  • Planning. The team checks the tasks in the backlog and selects the highest priority ones. The team takes as many tasks for the sprint as it manages to do.
  • Performance. In a perfect team, specialists work in parallel: while the programmer creates the code, the tester writes tests for it, and the technical writer makes the documentation.
  • Release. By the time of each release, the product should be functional, useful, and better than before the sprint.
  • Retrospective. The team discusses the sprint and the problems arose.

Important: Even if an urgent and important task appears, it will only go into work from the next sprint.

How to evaluate effectiveness

Kanban measures the average time it takes to complete a task on a Kanban board. This time is an indicator of the team’s effectiveness.

Scrum measures the total value of tasks completed in a sprint. The team’s job in Scrum is to improve productivity.

What restrictions exist

Kanban. The number of active tasks is limited by their weight for each status separately. It doesn’t matter what the total weight of the tasks on the board is.

Scrum. The number of tasks that are simultaneously in progress is limited by their total value. If it is known that the team is doing 26 conventional units in a sprint, then the total weight of tasks for the next sprint cannot exceed 26.

To sum up, Scrum is a more prescriptive methodology. Kanban is more democratic and, therefore, easier to implement. Both technologies are close, and their tools can be combined.


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