What’s the Difference Between Kanban and Scrum? (In 1 Min)

If you’re new to agile methodologies, or perhaps just new to either Kanban or Scrum, you may wonder what the difference between the two is. We like to sum it up most easily by saying that Scrum is much more structured than Kanban. Alternatively, Kanban is much more flexible than Scrum. Below is a quick and easy table that should help you understand some of the major differences.

Blocks of timeBroken into one or two week “sprints”None. Tasks continually flow in and out.
Ceremonies (aka meetings)Specified meetings before, during, and after each sprint.Continually meetings as necessary.
PersonnelTypically, there’s a minimum of a scrum master and developers. In addition, there may be a project owner and/or a quality assurance professional.A much more relaxed structure, where various team mates may do similar work
Work LimitsA scrum master assures developers don’t have too many story points or hours per their sprint time block.Team members make sure they don’t have too many items in progress at any given time.

So Which Should I Use?

When deciding between Scrum and Kanban, first consider the nature of your work. If it can be easily separated into chunks of time, requires a fair amount of planning, and has lots of interdependencies between tasks, you should consider Scrum. Alternatively, if the tasks are fairly redundant, can come and go without much planning, and are fairly independent, Kanban might work better for you.

Second, consider the method that bodes best for the strength of your team. Will they work best when they have a well-organized structure of tasks? Do they need the extra time to consider their tasks and vet them among their peers. Then Scrum might be for you. On the other hand, are they self-starters who love to crunch through tasks on their own? If so, Kanban might be the way to go.

Experimenting with Scrum and Kanban

If you’re still not sure whether Scrum or Kanban is right for you and your team, experiment! We’d recommend at least a month with each. Consider both how efficient your team was during that time, and how comfortable they were with each. And if the team choice is different than the most efficient choice, give extra weight to the team. Over time, efficiencies will be gained by making your team comfortable with the process.

Software for Scrum and Kanban

Software like Jira, ClickUp, Monday and Scrumfast all allow for some version of both Scrum and Kanban. And since Kanban is simply a more flexible version of Scrum, you can simply ignore or relax the Scrum rues the software offers. For instance, while Scrumfast requires Sprint dates, you can simply make them years at a time.

What have you experienced? When have you found it better to Kanban than Scrum, or vice-versa?