7 Questions Before You Switch: Scrum vs Kanban

Are you considering the move from Scrum to Kanban? Then you are among the growing number of teams looking for work clarity and productivity. To get there, you would want to answer 7 specific questions first. If you are still trying to understand the differences between the methods, check out our Scrum vs Kanban comparison infographic.

Every team has a different set of reasons to switch, but it is important to make a motivated and sustainable decision. Many of the wrong motivation factors are not a result of incompatibility between your process and Scrum, but of a poor implementation.

The slides below will help you analyze such cases and give you some points to think about before you approach Kanban to get the very best of it!

How to move from Scrum to Kanban?

  • Analyze why Scrum is not working for you

Sometimes people list the wrong reasons for quitting Scrum. They do not realize that problems like lack of discipline, ‘political issues’ in the company or such due to distribution of the team were never meant to be fixed by Scrum. Each method requires discipline and dedication in order to produce the best results. Analyze all reasons leading to the decision, otherwise Kanban may also not work for you.

  • Explore what Kanban will change

Before making the final decision, educate yourself about the difference between the two approaches and be prepared for the changes that will take place. Kanban will require you to embrace some attitude changes like replacing sprints with takt; planning and refining as few work items as possible; not asking people to commit to more than one thing at a time; replacing the Scrum master with a flow manager and retrospective meetings with shorter more frequent meetings, such as standups. There are also some practical changes such as starting to visualise workflow (although it is now completely new to some Scrummers), imposing WIP limits and introducing new success metrics.

  • Start with the mindset

You know you are on the right track when the goal of the transition is to increase efficiency and deliver more value. With the desire for continuous improvement, you will achieve amazing results with Kanban.  

  • Engage everyone in the process

The first thing to do after the decision to switch from Scrum to Kanban is made, is that the entire team has to agree on pursuing incremental change and is motivated to work for it. Make the policies explicit, so everyone would know how things should happen and be aware of their role in the process.

  • Embrace Kanban practices

With this checked, you are ready to start optimizing workflow with Kanban. Set up your board, whether physical or digital, find the best way to arrange it for the needs of your process. Do this right and you will be able to see exactly where the problems are, why some things take longer than they should, and how much time your tasks need to proceed from ‘to do’ to ‘done’ and discuss the insights with the team.

What will stay the same after you leave Scrum?

Despite the different focus of the two approaches and the usual rhetoric framed as Scrum vs Kanban, there are things that are good to keep after you make a transition to Kanban.

  • Daily stand-up meetings –  keep your team on track and give them the opportunity to share their initiatives
  • Frequent deliveries – keep up the pace
  • Continuous improvement – show your work regularly to customers and collect valuable feedback to help you improve

What results can you expect from using Kanban?

  • Increased flexibility – scrum teams refuse any new work in sprint, while Kanban allows for superior flexibility and effective task prioritization
  • Work visibility & accountability – what gets started gets finished because tasks never get lost or abandoned on a Kanban board
  • Productivity boost – successful implementation of Kanban will grant you at least 30% faster cycle times and a 3x boost in efficiency

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