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Kanban VS Scrum: Which Agile framework is for you?

Kanban VS Scrum: Which Agile Framework is for you?

Product development is a cornerstone of any successful startup journey. It’s essential that these efforts are done right and in a timely fashion in order to maximize their return. To ensure they get the best out of the process, startups use multiple approaches to get things right.

Traditionally, all large projects have been built with the waterfall approach, and so the methodology was also utilized in the software world. By definition, the Waterfall method is a linear approach to projects where progress usually flows in one direction – downwards like a waterfall – from the furthermost planning stages through to delivery. However, because startups operate with a lot of uncertainty and the founders continuously discover new things about customer behavior, the waterfall approach fails to deliver.

When compared to the waterfall, Agile utilizes an iterative or incremental approach, whereby projects are built with bare minimum assumptions and more complicated pieces are built once the relevant information rolls in as part of continuous discovery. The methodology translates into a software product that evolves stage-by-stage based on customer feedback or change requests. 

Agile methods are popular for software projects due to their iterative process and ability to adapt as needed quickly. These provide a systematic way of bringing ideas from concept to market quickly with minimum resources. Combined with user tests and customer feedback, these multiple product development approaches help founders to get closer to creating the perfect product without wasting time or resources on features they ultimately won’t be using. 

Agile principles can be implemented with several process frameworks like Kanban, Scrum, DSDM, Crystal, and more. Out of these, Kanban and Scrum are the most popularly used. but which one best fits you as a startup founder? Here is what you must know. 

What is Agile?

Agile product development is a modern, iterative approach to creating new programs or products. Instead of following more conventional methods that require extensive planning and upfront project design, agile development relies on continuous feedback from users, customers, and stakeholders. By combining this feedback with the team’s creativity and innovative ideas, teams can quickly identify needs and the best way to meet them.

Agile allows for greater flexibility and faster execution than traditional methods by encouraging testing and improving small pieces of the product at a time in an iterative process. This method of product development continuously yields outstanding results as it puts users first, allowing teams to prioritize user experiences over other demands like timelines and budget constraints.

A few of the agile principles are:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools: Tools and processes are vital, yet the Agile Manifesto emphasizes having the right people in place who will be able to work together seamlessly. This is key to success because no amount of tools or procedures can substitute for a collaborative team effort. When you foster a great environment with hard-working staff members, remarkable outcomes that would not have been possible just by using technology become achievable.

Working software over comprehensive documentation: The pioneers of Agile held the conviction that it was essential to deliver results instead of becoming mired in too much planning and paperwork.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation: Rather than excluding stakeholders from the project’s development, Agile encourages ongoing communication with them to ensure continuous progress.

Responding to change over following a plan: If you continue to adhere to a plan that is no longer necessary, it can be quite detrimental. Adaptability is at the heart of Agile thinking.

Kanban and Scrum are two of the most widely used methods for agile teams and projects. While both have several benefits, it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages before choosing which one is best suited for any given situation. Let’s explore how both methodologies to better understand agile in product development.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is an innovative approach to product management that helps teams maximize efficiency and reach goals quickly. Kanban breaks down complex projects into smaller tasks and visually represents the workflow of the team on a kanban board. This allows team members to easily see what tasks need to be completed, who needs to complete them, and when they should be done by.

In addition, kanban systems also employ automated updates to ensure everyone on the team stays in sync with changes made along the way. With all these features, kanban makes product management easier by helping teams reduce the waste of time and resources while minimizing risks associated with failed outputs. Having clear instructions and continuous communication backed by Kanban’s agile task management principles, companies gain control over time, cost, and quality while delivering a superior product.

To improve efficiency, the Kanban model runs on 6 common rules which are as follows:

Never pass defective products: Quality checks are an essential part of the product cycle and cannot be undermined for any reason. The Kanban rule operates on this very concept, as it ensures that all products go through multiple rounds of quality assurance in order to ensure that they work perfectly. Products often have several models, algorithms, and features associated with them and the rule states that nothing should be passed on to the next stage if it is not functioning correctly.

Take only what’s needed: The Kanban model encourages its developers to strictly focus on the features required. This hard rule prevents any overproduction or building of unnecessary features, meaning that the costs associated with development can often be kept far lower than in other situations. The process of creating only what is asked for by the client or required by the consumer means that developers can save time and resources, making it a popular choice for many software projects. In this way, the Kanban model has proven consistently advantageous when it comes to software production, no matter the scale.

Produce the exact quantity required: Ruling #3 of the six rules of Kanban complements rule #2 perfectly. Taking only what you need from supply leads to producing precisely the quantity that is necessary, with no overproduction or excess inventory. And by avoiding such surplus stock, you’ll save yourself extra costs! In this case, sticking to the MVP approach is the best approach for developers.

Level the production: In order to guarantee a steady workflow, it’s imperative that all units within the Kanban system adhere strictly to its limiting contributor’s capacity when producing items. In case that team B is facing a bottleneck because of team A, team A will be restricted to only producing outcomes that team B can process efficiently.

Optimize the process: Once the Kanban cycles are set, the teams must look for activities that produce waste. This can be in the form of delays, defects, rework, and unnecessary handoffs to name a few. The goal is to make the process lean and reduce the work in progress and move them to be done faster.

Stabilize the process: When you make sure the quality of your production is up to par and streamline your process, it gains a sense of stability. This allows for simpler standardization measures. To ensure everyone in your team understands how the procedure should be carried out, document it thoroughly. Any alterations from these standards must adhere to predetermined guidelines or policies set by management.

There is no doubt that kanban has revolutionized the way businesses manage product development. The advantages are undeniable, from improved clarity and better prioritization to greater agility and transparency. By visualizing how tasks progress from concept to development and finally delivery, teams can identify bottlenecks early on that can be removed or alleviated in a timely manner. This enables teams to stay focused on what’s important while also reducing delays caused by unclear communication or shifting project priorities.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is one of the most popular and fastest-growing product development techniques used today. It’s an agile project management system that allows developers and project managers to work together on complex projects in small, achievable increments. The approach encourages shared accountability and collaboration between team members, breaking big projects into easily-managed tasks known as “sprints”.

With its emphasis on constant communication, frequent testing, and feedback cycles, scrum helps developers quickly identify problems and solve them before they become serious issues. As a result, companies can create products more efficiently and effectively than ever before, helping them save money and bring better products to market more quickly.

Scrum uses short, iterative sprints (which can range from two weeks to a month) for the development process, in order to quickly get changes into production and adapt to changing customer demands. During each sprint, teams will clarify what needs to be done, work together collaboratively on tasks, adjust priorities as needed and provide feedback throughout the process.

At the end of each sprint, a product increment is delivered, which is then demonstrated and evaluated by stakeholders. This overall process encourages transparency, collaboration, and flexibility in software development – enabling teams to become highly effective at delivering products that meet customer needs.

Scrum is carried out on the following guidelines:

Development Team Size: It is recommended that the Development Team consists of between 3 and 9 members, though depending on the context, it could have a higher or lower number. The effect would be contingent upon what kind of team atmosphere this creates.

Titles and Roles: In Scrum, titles and positions are not relevant within the Development Team; everyone is simply a member of it. However, outside of the team itself, there may be roles such as Product Manager or Scrum Master that need to be filled in order for an organization to function properly.

Three-Question Format: Following questions help make the daily scrum successful:

  • How did I contribute to the Development Team reaching their Sprint Goal yesterday?
  • What actions can I take today to ensure the Development Team is successful in accomplishing our Sprint Goal?
  • Are there any obstacles that might keep me or the Development Team from achieving our Sprint Goal?

Timebox for Events: For optimal efficiency, sprint planning should be limited to a maximum of eight hours. As a general guide, two hours should be allocated for each week that the sprint will last – thus four hours for a bi-weekly and eight for an entire month’s duration. By following this rule of thumb you can ensure that your team has enough time set aside to plan effectively while also ensuring work is completed in an efficient manner.

Progress Trends: Use burn-down charts, and cumulative flows to monitor progress trends effectively while making decisions.

Estimation: According to the Scrum Guide, it is essential to estimate Product Backlog Items. The manner in which they are estimated is completely up to the Scrum Team – be it Story Points, Ideal Days, T-Shirt sizes, or Dog Sizes!

Work Decomposition: One of the most essential, yet often neglected steps during Agile Scrum’s product backlog grooming procedure is story decomposition. This process consists of breaking down user stories into smaller and more manageable chunks.

Sprint Review: This Inspect & Adapt event is a crucial opportunity for the Scrum Team and key stakeholders to come together to review what was accomplished during the Sprint, as well as determine ways that they can maximize the value of their product in upcoming Sprints.

Release to Production: The ultimate goal of every Sprint is to create an Increment that is ready for release and meets the criteria set by the Scrum Team. This means it must be in a functional state with respect to the Definition of Done (DoD).

Definition of Done: The concept of Done serves to increase clarity and build a mutual understanding of what work is considered finished. According to the Scrum guide, the Scrum Teams are welcome – though not required – to make their definition more stringent for better quality products. However, depending on the team’s context, they can review it at every retrospective or keep working with their current DoD unless there’s something new that encourages higher product excellence.

Scrum is a popular and effective agile development framework that offers numerous benefits for effective project management. It promotes transparency, flexibility, and adaptation by enabling teams to continually assess their progress within short, manageable chunks called sprints. Due to its iterative structure, teams will experience fewer delays during development as issues can be identified and fixed quickly at each step of the process.

Additionally, all members stay informed of the team’s goals and objectives as decisions are made in collaboration. The process also leads to higher customer satisfaction as feedback can be integrated easily into the end product. Ultimately, scrum helps an organization stay focused on its goals while allowing greater visibility into how the project is progressing.

Kanban VS Scrum

Kanban and Scrum are two project management techniques that are being increasingly utilized in today’s work environment. Kanban emphasizes a visual representation of the tasks at hand with boards, charts, and cards representing each step along the way. Its greatest strength lies in its ability to track progress while easily informing of any blockages or backlogs. The emphasis in Kanban is on continuous flow and optimizing the speed of any task in going from start to finish.

On the other hand, Scrum works well when the requirements are clear for a given chunk of time and a sprint can be clearly defined. There are distinct phases to a project using shorter sprints of work which allow teams to regroup between each phase to answer questions and measure progress.

Kanban emphasizes continuous improvement, encouraging teams to make gradual changes to existing processes. By contrast, Scrum focuses less on improving existing methods, instead striving for a more organized delivery process; focusing on smaller batches of deliverables completed within sprints.

Moreover, Kanban is a process that allows teams to complete individual tasks within a set timeline by establishing velocity goals, while scrum outlines small, incremental projects with wheels of progress called sprints. The main difference between the two is that kanban focuses on completing one task at a time and constantly adjusting an individual’s workflow for improved efficiency, whereas scrum requires frequent reevaluation of projects and processes in order to reach certain objectives.

The following table can help you further understand the potential and limitations of Kanban and Scrum:

RolesNo pre-defined roles. However, many teams do have a project manager.Product owner, development team, optional scrum master.
TimelineWorkflows continuously on an as-needed basis till the project is done.Depends on the length of the Sprint. (usually 2 weeks)
Release MethodologyContinuous delivery.New functionality or value is delivered by the end of each sprint.
Primary MetricsCycle time, lead time, amount of work in progress.Speed and the value created.
Modifications and ChangesChanges can be made at any point in time.Changes determined and implemented between sprints based on retroactive review. Changes in between sprints are highly discouraged.
Kanban VS Scrum

Why do we prefer using Kanban at Venturenox?

At Venturenox, we use Kanban as opposed to other alternatives like Scrum. It is true that there are those for and against the latter; still, our main motivation for avoiding it is that if not used properly, it could become a micro-management tool. Additionally, modern tech practices such as continuous integration and deployment work better with Kanban since both emphasize maximizing continuous flow.

By embracing the trunk-based Git branching model, which is in harmony with agile’s iterative development approach, we are able to combine Kanban + CI/CD for an incredibly effective ecosystem. Furthermore, Scrum necessitates an organized plan for the extensiveness of each sprint including estimates of how much work needs to be done. On the other hand, startups are normally far more agile and flexible than this with a lack of certainty early on. Consequently, it might not be useful before things get steadier; however, when that happens then scrum could become advantageous.

An additional factor to consider is how we apply Kanban. Our approach includes the six stages of To-do, Priming, Ready, In-Progress, Review, and Done on our board which grants us the ability to join design tasks into a similar path as development processes. When using Scrum you typically have to divide up design tasks from your programming sprints; however, with Kanban, it’s possible for an entire user story journey – starting from design – to be encompassed in one fluid workflow that just makes sense!

Kanban is a boon to product development and management, making quality a top priority and creating an environment free of errors. Managing projects with this method let teams set their own pace and focus on producing high-quality results that match the customer’s requirements. 

Kanban is easy to use, improves communication among team members, and increases visibility into project progress. The elimination of backlogs with this beneficial tool makes it faster to get products out into the market as it efficiently manages workflow. At Venturenox, we actively use Kanban to track and manage our projects and leverage quality outcomes for our clients. 


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