What is Kanban good for?

It is common knowledge that Kanban is good for project management. However, there are also a fairly large number of Scrum supporters. Let’s take a look at both of these methodologies and try to determine which one in the Kanban vs Scrum debate is better.

What do we know about these methods?

Let’s talk about Scrum first. Scrum methodology appeared in the mid-1980s, and become the main incarnation of agile methodology since 2001. This year Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle published the book on it named: Agile Software Development with Scrum.

The main idea behind Scrum is to define a clear work structure built of sprints. Sprints are tasks of short duration. Such a work structure makes the whole project more adaptive and flexible. Short, nearly two-week-long cycles are managed by a scrum master who should guide the team. It can be done through daily scrum meetings, supporting the team members, and giving them the right direction. Most often Scrum is used by smaller teams.

Kanban methodology was developed in the Toyota car company factories in Japan. It’s a simple visual way to manage your workflow. The word Kanban in Japanese means a billboard. It was taken as the method involves placing and moving cards on a Kanban board. These cards represent different project aspects and tasks. Work is usually organized with the help of several columns for example “To do” “Doing” and “Done”. Such a board makes the project’s progress clear and transparent for all the involved. With Kanban, it is also much easier to see planning flaws in time and reorganize everything before it resulted in slack.

So at first glance, both methodologies look pretty similar. For example, both are focused on delivering fast and like to break a project into smaller, more manageable parts. Their transparent culture helps with improving the process. Both limit the amount of work in progress and imply a continuous flow of planning instead of progressing on a schedule. This makes them ideal for lean and agile projects. On the other hand, they also have enough differences.

Scrum Advantages and Weak Points.

As Scrum is more structured it is a better fit for projects requiring more specific procedures and roles. Its framework becomes an important advantage here.

One more Scrum advantage is the increase of team accountability. As you’re moving quickly and meet often, it’s, naturally, adds to the project transparency. So it is easier for the scrum master to control everything. That keeps all team members more accountable for their work.

Divided into small pieces Scrum projects can easily accommodate change. The scrum method was designed to stay as a nimbler process able to pivot whenever that is called for.

However, Scrum also has its weak points. First of all, it is the scrum master and the team. The master needs knowledge and experience to get a scrum working. The team also requires a bit of experience. Otherwise, the results will be disastrous.

Secondly, daily scrum meetings might become a problem for a team, especially in cases when there are remote team members or the team is quite large. Keeping meetings over a webcam or with dozens of people efficient can be pretty hard. That is why Scrum is more suitable for small, local teams. This might be key in the Kanban vs Scrum debate, as using kanban you will not face any team size limitations.

Why Kanban might be Better

One of the Kanban advantages is that it doesn’t require the experience and training that Scrum demand. Kanban methodology is easy for learning and understanding. It is a big point that you can start at once.

Kanban is sure to

  • improve your workflow;
  • reduce waste from the project;
  • increase the team accountability;
  • minimize the time cycle of the project;
  • increase the process flexibility;

As a Kanban board doesn’t have required time boxes and sprints, you don’t need to reset the board while you are moving through the project. You can use it as long as the project needs it to.

Unfortunately, Kanban is not ideal in all as well. For example, the advantage of not having a timeframe can also become a disadvantage in some cases. Without a hard deadline, it’s quite likely that a phase or task will take longer than it should.

Conclusion

We’ve covered both methodologists, compared Kanban vs Scrum and now it’s time to make a choice which one is better. But the point is that it is impossible to choose the best suitable for everyone and always. The better choice will depend upon your project and the nature of your organization. So it is up to you to decide which method Scrum or Kanban is the best for the demands and requirements of both your project and team.

No matter which path you take, Kanban or Scrum, you will need the right tool to help you get the job done. Have a look at Kanbanchi. Kanbanchi is not only a Kanban board that you can use for your Scrum projects as well. It is an agile project manager tool fully integrated with Google Workspace. That’s why with Kanbanchi you can also benefit from using such advanced features as Gantt chart, Archive, Time tracker, several types of Reports, and some others.

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