How many times have you heard people arguing about which one is better – Kanban or Scrum? Probably a lot, especially if you are in the product development business. This argument is not new and you can hear it at pretty much every business summit that puts together people who are doing software development.

If you search Kanban vs Scrum in Google you will find various articles, white papers, and research on the matter, which will sweep you off your feet if you take the time to read them in depth. However, they won’t be able to give you the most essential information about what exactly the two methods are and how they compare at a glance.

Kanban vs Scrum. What to Know

We like to keep things clear and simple, so after hearing the argument for the millionth time, we decided to bring you all the important information about the two methods – synthesized and visually appealing. This way, you can decide for yourself whether Kanban or Scrum is a better fit for your company. Before you get to the interesting part we would like to be clear that both of the methods are great and adopting either one will get you far.

kanban vs scrum. what is the difference?

The Difference between Scrum and Kanban

Now, when you are one step closer to understanding what both methods are about, let’s have a more detailed look at the differences. Both methods may look very similar, but there have some major differences indeed. Let’s discover more in the following table.

 

Kanban

Scrum

Creation Invented as a simple scheduling system by Taiichi Ohno. Later, developed as the Kanban method by David Anderson and applied for knowledge work. Started by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka as a term in the context of product development. Later developed by different software developers as a framework.
Intervals Kanban has no time restrictions. Scrum is time-boxed. The work needs to be completed in a predefined period of time (sprint).
Planning Planning is optional. The work is planned and divided into a set of smaller tasks.
Roles Kanban doesn’t prescribe roles, while it respects the existing roles in a team. In Scrum, everyone has a role (Scrum master/Product owner/Scrum team).
Commitment Commitment is agreed based on capacity and it is an ongoing process. In Scrum, the team commits to a certain amount of work.
Charts/Metrics Lead time and Cycle time. Kanban prefers Cumulative Flow Diagrams, Cycle time histograms and so on. They offer a detailed overview of the ongoing processes. Velocity is the key metric in Scrum. The Burndown chart is a must and illustrates how much work remains to be completed in a project.
Boards The board remains continuous The board is reset after each sprint
WIP Limits Per workflow stage (per column) Limits are not prescribed
Flexibility Tasks can be added at any time depending on the capacity of the team Tasks cannot be added
Prioritizing Prioritizing is optional and it depends on common team agreement. It is not fixed. Planned work should be prioritized in advance. Priorities can be changed if it is urgent.

Looking for more materials about Kanban? Check our Kanban Resources knowledge base.

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3 thoughts on “Kanban VS Scrum [Infographic]

  1. David Sabine

    Hello,

    I challenge you to create an infographic called “Scrum & Kanban” (rather than “Scrum vs. Kanban”) and I challenge you to list only good things about each framework.

    Your preference for Kanban is clear and therefore your infographic shows extreme bias — as well as being factually inaccurate! (Example: you claim the most important metric in Scrum is velocity — but “velocity”, the word, doesn’t even appear in the Scrum Guide. http://scrumguides.org)

    Reply
      1. David Sabine

        Monica,

        The most important metric in Scrum is the ‘value’ delivered by the team. That’s not my opinion; rather it is expressed in a variety of ways throughout the Scrum Guide.

        Reply

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