Scrum Vs. Kanban: Know the Difference

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an agile process that helps to deliver the business value in the shortest time. It rapidly and repeatedly inspects actual working software. It emphasizes on teamwork and iterative progress of the software. Its goal is to deliver new software every 2-4 weeks.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a visual system for managing work. It visualizes both the process and the actual work passing through that process. The main objective of implementing Kanban is to identify potential bottlenecks in the process and fix them. Kanban goal is that work flow should proceed smoothly at an optimal speed.

Why Use Scrum?

Scrum methodology can offer project management for every business, and even across life in general. By using Scrum, the development team becomes more Agile and discovering how to react quickly and respond to the sudden changes.

Moreover, Scrum addresses complexity in work by making information transparent. These help team to inspect and adapt based on current conditions, instead of predicted conditions. This helps team members to address the common pitfalls and chaos resulting from constantly changing requirements.

Why use Kanban?

Kanban methodology is designed to meet minimal resistance. So it allows continuous small incremental and evolutionary changes to the current process. It also helps to achieve improvements regarding throughput, lead time and quality.

When to use Scrum?

Scrum methodology is used in a project where the requirement is rapidly changing. It works on a self-organizing, cross-functional team principle. The Scrum Framework usually deal with the fact that the conditions are likely to change quickly or most of the time not known at the start of the project.

In Scrum, the low-level requirements are only defined at the beginning of time. In this methodology, changes and optimizations of product, requirements, and processes are an integral part of the project.

When to use Kanban?

Kanban boards allow visual management of software development project work. This helps team members to see work in progress. It also helps them to understand complex information like processes and risks associated to complete work on time.

Kanban boards prove effective as it helps team members to become more productive while reducing the amount of workload stress that project managers and team members feel during a project lifecycle.

Kanban software development method should be implemented if the team has a process which works fine but still needs some optimization. Kanban process allows them gradually improve all their tried and tested process.

The Scrum process

The Scrum process encourages team members to evaluate what is working and what is not. Communication is an essential part of the scrum process. It is carried out through meetings called Events. Scrum Events include:

Daily Scrum:

The Daily Scrum is a small meeting that happens at the same place and time each day. At the end of every meeting, the team reviews work that was completed on the earlier day and plans what work need to do in the next 24 hours. In the daily scrum team meeting, members speak up about any problems which may become the obstacle to the project completion.

Sprint Planning Meeting

Sprint refers to the time frame in which work must be completed, generally its 30 days. In this sprint plan meeting, everyone should help to set the goals. In the end, at least one increment of software should be produced.

Sprint Retrospective

A Sprint Retrospective meeting take place after a Sprint ends. In this session, everyone reflects on the Sprint process. A team-building process may conduct in this phase. An essential goal of a Sprint Retrospective is continuous improvement.

Kanban process

In the Kanban process, everything is gradually improved whether it is software development, Staffing, Marketing, Sales, Procurement, etc. The Kanban Method follows a certain set of principles for managing and improving the flow of work.

Four principles of the Kanban Method are provided below:

1. Visualize Work

By creating a visual model of work and workflow, It helps to observe the flow of work moving through the Kanban system.

2. Limit work in process

It allows team members to decrease the time taken by item to travel across the Kanban system.

3. Focus on flow

By using work-in-process limits and developing team-driven policies, you can optimize Kanban system to improve the smooth flow of work.

4. Continuous Improvement

When Kanban system is in place, it acts as a foundation for a continuous improvement. It helps teams to measure their effectiveness by analyzing tracking flow, quality lead times, etc.

Scrum Vs. Kanban

Scrum Kanban
Scrum stresses on planning. It starts with sprint planning and ends up with sprint retrospective.There are many meetings held which help to assure that the team is aligned with the next steps, priorities, and learnings from previous sprints. Kanban is open to making changes on the go. It means there is less rigidity and things can change frequently.
It recommends collection of time measurements made during sprints Kanban recommends graphs to get an overview of team’s progress over time.
Scrum no longer asks for a commitment from teams. Instead, it is about the sprint goals and forecasts. Kanban relies on time-boxing and forecasts.
It stresses on planning, and so estimation has a very important role in Scrum Kanban has no mandatory requirements for estimation.
Every individual has their role and responsibilities. No set roles so flexibility in term of individual responsibilities.
The iterations/Sprints are fixed in duration. This duration varies from 2 weeks to 1 month. Kanban is not based on duration. This thing is measured regarding Cycle times.
Teams are required to commit a specific amount of work. Commitment not necessary it is optional for teams.
In this method, cross-functional teams are important as they can deal with any disruption that may cause a bottleneck in the software development. Having specialized team is important.
It is not possible to add items to ongoing iterations. New items can easily add if the additional capacity is available.
A sprint backlog is owned by only by a single team. Multiple teams can share Kanban board.
Deliverables are determined by sprints, which a set of work must be completed and ready for review. Products and processes are delivered continuously on a needed basis. So testing and review process goes on simultaneously.
Scrum software development method focuses on the backlog. Kanban method entirely focuses on process dashboard.
Every team member has a specific role in Scrum master decide timelines, product owner set goals and objectives, and team members conduct the development work. There are no pre-defined roles for a team. However, there may still be a Project Manager; the team is encouraged to collaborate and works together.
Best for projects with changing priorities. Ideal for teams with stable priorities that unlikely to change over time.
Measures production using velocity through sprints. Measures production using cycle time or the exact time it takes to complete one full piece of a project.
Scrum requires a complete shift from the traditional model to the Agile Scrum model that would be implemented the project. Kanban doesn’t allow drastic changes in the project.
It is an ideal method for projects with widely-varying priorities. Best suitable for teams with stable priorities.
In Scrum, the entire team focuses on to collaborate and complete the task to provide quality development work. Teams work to achieve goals and reduce the time to complete the entire process. Thus, reduction in the time cycle is biggest indicators of success here.
Scrum emphasis on its schedules; new items cannot be added to ongoing iterations. Kanban is more iterative by nature as it does not have specific timeframes. So that, new items can be continually added whenever additional capacity is available.
The total work is done in batches/Sprints. The entire project is performed on the movement of single-threaded work item flows.
Scrum master acts as a problem solver. Kanban encourages every team member is a leader and sharing responsibility amongst them all.
Scrum prescribes time-boxed iterations. Kanban focuses on planning a different duration for individual iteration.
Scrum helps firms to save time and money. Kanban method focus on continuous improvement, productivity, and efficiency.
Achieve stable and consistent communication of performance at all levels. Team members are more likely to accomplish their goals much easier because of visual nature of Kanban boards.
Project are coded and tested during the sprint review Team members are more likely to accomplish their goals much easier because of visual nature of Kanban boards.
It is easier to adapt to the constant changes because of the short sprints and regular feedback. It is designed for a regular, steady output, major changes in customer demand can make Kanban fail.
The total cost of the project is minimal which may lead to quicker and cheaper result. If a task is not correctly estimated, the total project cost will never be accurate. In such cases, the task can be spread over several sprints.
This methodology requires experienced team members only. So, If the team consists of people who are not an expert, the project cannot be completed in time. No specific timeframes are allocated with each phase, so team members never get the idea how much time they can take in every phase.
In this Agile Scrum method, it is easier to deliver a quality product at a scheduled time. It is designed for a regular, steady output, major changes in customer demand can make Kanban fall.
The project plan will never disturb even if a team member leaves the team. If any of the team members exit during development, it can hurt the project development.
Daily meetings sometimes frustrate team members. Outdated Kanban board can lead to issues in the development process.
Large projects can easily divided into easily manageable sprints. Only works well with small teams so not suitable large size team.


  • Scrum is an agile process that allows us to focus on delivering the business value in the shortest time.
  • Kanban is a visual system for managing software development work.
  • Kanban method fosters continuous improvement, productivity and efficiency are likely to increase.
  • Scrum is focused on the backlog while Kanban on dashboard.
  • Scrum master acts as a problem solver.
  • Kanban encourages every team member a leader and sharing responsibility amongst them all.
  • Scrum prescribes time-boxed iterations.
  • Kanban focuses on planning a different duration for individual iteration.