Scrum vs Kanban

I wanted to learn about Kanban — as I wanted to see what the “alternative” to scrum was. What I found pretty quickly was that they are not equivalent systems.

One big thing I found was that Kanban¬†isn’t a replacement for scrum. It’s actually a very small change management procedure that is supposed to be introduced to an existing process as an added layer, which can be used to help make incremental improvements.

Kanban is super simple. All it is, at its core, is custom workflow steps with limits on how many items can be in each step. It’s a visual way to keep track of where your “stories” are in process and limits to keep too many things from being “in process” or “in testing” at one time. In that way, it’s supposed to help you keep on target, with minimal context switching.

Pro-Kanbaneers state the weaknesses of scrum are

  1. Unclear development steps
  2. Context switching
  3. Partially done work

I’m not convinced “unclear development steps” is a real thing, because they’re mostly saying scrum is confined to 3 or 4 workflow steps (“on deck”, “in process”, “testing”(sometimes), and “done”). I’m pretty sure in scrum you’re “allowed” to have custom workflows, where the development steps become more clear. But there is a real problem that comes up with being bottlenecked in the sprint and having to carry¬†stories over to the next sprint. And context switching is always a problem, but not really avoidable…

There is a perception of scrum that it’s very rigid. I’ve never felt that way, but then, it’s not like a read any books on scrum. I’ve always through it was adaptive — because doesn’t it have to be?

We deal with partially done work by either breaking stories out into smaller stories or breaking out tasks and making sure the tasks that are done are complete and the hours recorded (so that our hour burndown is useful). But maybe my perception of scrum is wrong.

Though the more I read and listen to about agile, the more I feel people are missing the point. They say the word “agile”, but the word loses its meaning if you’re not agile… The whole reason agile exists is to make processes more adaptable, to make people more amenable to change. It’s all about constantly changing and adapting to what is needed.

References:

 http://scrumcrazy.wordpress.com/2013/02/…

 https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/kanb…

2 Comments

  1. Kanban says:

    Good post, I’ve never really felt that Scrum was too “rigid” – it seems to be adaptable and fits my needs pretty well. I’ll have to do a bit more research regarding Kanban though, because as you’ve mentioned getting sidetracked is possible with too many things going on at once. I tend to get distracted very easily, so keeping content switching to a minimum might help me stay focused without my ADHD sending me too far off track. Haha!

    Jacob

  2. kanban says:

    There is no ideal or same scenarios so Scrum or Kanban may find to be a better fit in certain situations. I think the rigidness of Scrum comes from the fact that you are not supposed to adjust or introduce big changes to your workflow until the sprint is over. Kanban allows for more flexibility as you can constantly adjust your processes. At the end it is a matter of preference and how each methodology applies in a specific team environment.

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