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Scrum or Kanban which is right for you?

Scrum, Kanban, or Scrumban? So many agile frameworks to choose from. We share the factors we use to decide when coaching teams. Download our Team Task Board Quiz to see if Kanban can help your team.

Scrum is the most popular agile framework, yet more teams are adopting Kanban these days. Scrum doesn’t work well for everyone. Other’s choose Scrumban which is a combination of both. Continuous process improvement is critical to agile success. But some teams pick Kanban because it mean less meetings. They don’t take advantage of the benefits that a well designed Kanban system can bring.

If you are thinking of switching to Kanban, the best place to start is to assess what is currently not working. Is it something that needs to be adapt it to your needs, or the timeboxed nature of Scrum a problem? If so, Kanban could be a good fit.

Here are the reasons we use to decide if a team should start with Kanban instead of Scrum.

  1. Unpredictable work. If you work in a team that cannot plan 50% of your work two weeks in advance, then sprints are unlikely to work well. You will need more dynamic ways for work to flow into the team. Kanban would likely suit you better.

  2. Difficult to change. In an environment with change fatigue, or high pressure, making big changes is hard. Kanban can be a better place to start than Scrum. Kanban allows you can start with your current process and team structure. Change is incremental rather than all at once.

  3. Lots of external dependencies. If your team relies on external dependencies to deliver any value, Scrum could fail. Use Kanban to visualise and track these dependencies and make their impact visible. This will provide good rationale and data to reduce dependencies.

  4. Part time team members. If some of your team work part time on your product or project, it can make Scrum difficult. A Kanban process that allows people to pull work when they are available might be a better fit.

Even if none of these are true, you can still chose to use Kanban. Sam and I both prefer to use Kanban with our own work. Make sure you understand the principles of Kanban, and apply them. Scrum without the meetings, and Kanban without WIP limits won’t solve any issues.

If you want to learn more about Kanban, we have good news! We have launched our brand new online Kanban course.