Kanban or Scrum – Is Scrum for developers and Kanban for IT support?

June 04, 2014

Scrum is one of the most popular Agile software development frameworks. When companies decide to adapt Agile, the majority start with Scrum. Scrum is great for small, cross-functional and self-organizing teams since it enables them to “divide”development work into short periods called “Sprints”. Other key elements of Scrum are the backlog with not prioritized user stories and the workflow that describes status and transitions. Story points are often used to estimate the complexity of tasks.

Kanban is a method of Lean thinking and it was developed with the aim to minimize waste. It helps software development teams avoid unnecessary coding, clarify unclear requirements as well as to avoid delays in the software development process. Working with Kanban requires strong collaboration and focusing on quick delivery to shorten the iterations and achieving effective communication within the team.

The Kanban board enables you to set up work-in-progress limits (WIP). WIP enables you to match the capacity of your development team and to avoid to overloading your team. Advanced Kanban boards offer the option to assign swim lanes by role, by priority, by modification as well as based on the submission date–this lets you filter and quickly overview tasks.

While Scrum is ideal for Agile development, Kanban can support IT Operations and can also be used by developers to manage everyday collaboration such as daily stand-ups. The cardboard view assists them in discussing the daily “To Do”,“In Progress”and “Done”tasks.

Comparing the two methods, we can identify some similarities among the many differences. For example when working with Kanban, everybody is a team member, while in Scrum there are set roles. Scrum also has more predefined processes.

Working with Scrum, the iterations are defined by sprints. When working with Kanban, change management is done in a just-in-time way triggered by escalation.

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