A Detailed Comparison to Clear up Any Confusion between Scrum and Kanban

In 1970, agile methodology came into being due to the unplanned methods used before. Software Industry rapidly realized how agile is useful to complete projects efficiently and on time. 

You probably have heard people telling you to follow agile methodology. But agile is a vast branch with plenty of tools and practices. When it comes to that, different people have different opinions. Some hoot for Scrum, others recommend Kanban. To end all uncertainty, GGTS has identified Agile, Kanban, Scrum, their pros and cons, differences between the two and suggestion to choose the best practice for your project.

What is Agile?

Agile is a project management methodology that encourages iterative approach at every stage of SDLC( software development life cycle). It breaks down the complete project into smaller chunks while testing each part after its development. This approach promotes teamwork and continuous feedback, it is perfectly designed for stakeholders and developers to collaborate and align the project with business goals and customer requirements. 

Agile methodology has been used in software development for a decade now to get the product working. Today, its principles are being applied to several industries.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is one of the ways to carry out the project in an agile fashion. Kanban is a flexible approach to visualize work, reduce workforce, and boost efficiency. It is applied to existing workflows, processes and systems. Kanban strictly emphasizes decreasing project development time from start to end. This method uses a kanban board to optimize task flow among various teams, involved in the project. Work objects and tasks are displayed visually on the board, allowing every member to look at each task and define the loopholes in the process. This approach is also used to prioritize work as required by each stakeholder. 

DID YOU KNOW? Kanban is a Japanese word that means “virtual signal”.

Kanban Principles

  1. Kanban Process is overlaid on the current workflow or setup. Its flexible nature highlights issues in the system gradually without any disturbance or cultural shock. 
  2. Kanban emphasizes pursuing incremental changes rather than making absolute changes to avoid resistance within the team. 
  3. Kanban values the current processes, roles, and responsibilities. It doesn’t impose any changes itself but encourages the team to identify and implement logical changes without triggering its fear.
  4. Kanban appreciates leadership at all levels. Every member of the team must foster ideas and leadership skills to reach an optimal performance of products and services. 

Kanban Pros

  1. It increases flexibility and versatility in the process.
  2. Better flow delivery.
  3. Minimize the time cycle of a process.
  4. Easy to learn and adopt.

Kanban Cons

Mostly, Kanban cons occur if the board is misused or mishandled. Few of Kanban disadvantages are as follow:

  1. No feedback on how the project aligns with its strategic goals.
  2. Lesser time results in no-frameworks.
  3. Hard to enforce work-in-progress limits.

What is Scrum?

Just like Kanban, Scrum is another framework used primarily for agile software development. This approach focuses on the iterative model with the goal of delivering newly developed iterations, every 2-4 weeks. This methodology helps in keeping clients in the loop of what is done and what will be done next. 

Scrum Events

Scrum Process is clearly visible by means of a sequence of events known as scrum events. All events are time-boxed which means each event has a fixed duration. These events deliver transparency to all those involved in the project. Listed below are the scrum events:


 A Sprint is a short period where the team dedicates itself to complete a set amount of work or functionality.

Sprint Planning: 

This is the initial stage of all events which finalizes the backlog/ work to accomplish for that sprint. It mainly focuses on two questions

  1. What should be achieved in the sprint?
  2. How will the work be performed?

Daily Scrum: 

Every sprint goes on with daily team meetups (no more than 15 minutes). Each member talks about yesterday’s progress, plan’s work for the next 24 hours, and obstacles that may be blocking work by each member. 

Sprint Review: 

All work completed is reviewed and shown to clients to ensure that the delivered sprint meets business goals. The client can tally the work done against pre-defined requirements and provides changes and feedback. 

Sprint Retrospective:

The retrospective is held at the end of each sprint. It concludes the overall performance – success points, failures and improvement areas. This allows the parties involved to identify strategies for continuous improvement in their processes.  

The Scrum Team

There are three key roles in a scrum team: the product owner, scrum master, and the development team.

The Product Owner:  

The product owners are mostly internal or external clients who know about the project. It is their duty to convey the mission, vision, and requirements of the underdevelopment project. They undergo identifying business needs and ensuring the product deliverables are best-fitted for the business. They are responsible for managing product backlog and acquire completed iterations of work.  

The Scrum Master

The scrum master is responsible for sprint planning, reviews, delivery flow, and daily meetings. He ensures that everyone adheres to Scrum theory, practices, and rules. A dedicated scrum master abides by scrum values but remains flexible to doing everything possible to help the team at the highest level. 

The Development Team

The developer’s team works together to deliver shippable iterations at the end of the Sprint. It is a cross-functional and self-organizing team that includes designers, requirement analysts, developers, quality assurance, etc.  

Now that we have a deep understanding of both terms, let’s move towards the comparison between Kanban and Scrum.

Kanban Vs. Scrum

Measured in terms of time cyclesFixed Iterations, usually varies from 2 weeks to one month.  
Stresses on changes regularlyFocuses on planning. After the sprint planning event, changes are not welcomed.
No set roles. Leadership is encouraged at each level.Responsibilities are defined on the basis of roles.
Manage workflows and processes.Deliver business value in the shortest time.
New work items can easily be added if possible.Adding items on on-going transactions is not allowed.
Follows continuous methodology Shippable software at the completion of each sprint.
Not suitable for larger teamsLarge projects can easily be divided into manageable increments.
Product quality is not guaranteed.Easy to deliver a quality project at a fixed time
Project damage possible due to employees who quitNo disturbance even if project member quits
Shared by everyoneSprint tasks
Cannot handle major customer changes. Easily adapt frequent changes

Which One to Choose?

We believe: “ No damage is ever done by choosing Scrum.”  Scrum is well structured and does wonder where a project requires roles and procedures. 

However, the right choice doesn’t have to be so black and white. Many organizations use hybrid methods, influenced by both scrum and kanban. They implement agile technologies hand in hand to suit different aspects of the same project, whether that’s scrum, kanban or a blend of both. What’s most important is that the methodology you choose brings value to the business.