kanban and scrum developers

Kanban vs. Scrum: Key Differences

In today's fast-paced business landscape, effective project management methodologies are the cornerstone of success. The multitude of options available might leave you wondering which approach is right for your team or project. This article delves into the debate of Kanban vs. Scrum, two prominent project management methodologies. According to the Project Management Institute's Pulse of the Profession report, implementing proven project management practices can lead to a 2.5 times increase in project success rates. Let's explore the differences between Kanban and Scrum, their origins, applications, and how to choose the best fit for your needs.

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Understanding Kanban and Scrum

Both Kanban and Scrum share the fundamental goal of breaking down extensive projects into more manageable increments, making them easier to handle. However, they achieve this goal through different approaches. While both methodologies draw inspiration from Lean and Agile principles, Scrum aligns more closely with Agile methodologies.


Kanban, a visual project management methodology, revolves around transparency and continuous improvement. The heart of Kanban lies in the Kanban board – a visual representation of tasks, organized in columns depicting different stages of the project. Tasks are represented as cards that move from one column to another as they progress.

The Kanban approach offers several benefits:

1. Visual Task Tracking: Kanban boards provide teams with a clear overview of tasks, fostering transparency and facilitating delegation based on need.

2. Work in Progress (WIP) Limits: Kanban boards allow teams to set limits on concurrent tasks, preventing overwhelm and identifying bottlenecks.

3. Flexibility: Kanban is adaptable and can be integrated with other methodologies if required.

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Scrum, derived from Agile principles, is particularly suited for complex projects with evolving requirements. It emphasizes iterative development through short cycles known as "sprints." A Scrum team, which consists of a Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the development team, collaborates to plan and execute tasks during each sprint.

Key features of Scrum include:

1. Iterative Approach: Scrum divides projects into sprints lasting one to four weeks, with each sprint ending in a potentially shippable product increment.

2. Self-Organization: Scrum teams are self-organized, making decisions collectively to achieve project goals.

3. Adaptation and Transparency: Scrum relies on the pillars of transparency, adaptation, and inspection to accommodate changing project dynamics and encourage continuous improvement.

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Comparing Kanban and Scrum


- Both methodologies are rooted in Agile principles, promoting flexibility and adaptability.

- Short development cycles are integral to both, encouraging timely deliverables.

- Transparency is enhanced through visual tracking methods, fostering collaboration.

- Team engagement and participation are encouraged in both methodologies.


- Kanban derives influence from Agile and Lean methodologies, while Scrum leans more towards Agile.

- Kanban allows continuous work and task delivery, while Scrum organizes work within structured sprints.

- Scrum mandates predefined roles (Scrum Master, Product Owner, development team), whereas Kanban is less prescriptive about roles.

- Kanban is more flexible in responding to priority shifts, while Scrum requires the planning process to restart for major changes.

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Tools for Scrum and Kanban

For Scrum:

1. ClickUp: Offers sprint management, bug tracking, and product launch features. Real-time collaboration and Gantt charts enhance productivity.

2. ActiveCollab: Enables project planning, communication, and collaboration, with a focus on tracking work and invoicing.

For Kanban:

1. Trello: A popular choice with a user-friendly interface, Trello allows easy task visualization through basic Kanban boards, lists, and cards.

2. SwiftKanban: Offers a highly-configurable visual workflow, work-in-progress limitations, metrics, and collaboration capabilities.

Using Both Methodologies Together

For teams seeking to harness the strengths of both methodologies, a hybrid approach called "Scrumban" can be valuable. This allows you to blend the structure of Scrum with the flexibility of Kanban, accommodating varying project requirements.

Tools like ClickUp and Monday.com offer solutions for integrating both methodologies seamlessly. Monday.com's Work OS, for example, provides a Scrum template and a Kanban view, enabling teams to create a customized solution that suits their unique needs.

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Choosing Between Kanban and Scrum

Project management plays a pivotal role in the success of any project, regardless of its nature. Among the myriad methodologies available today, Kanban and Scrum stand out prominently. A report from the Project Management Institute's Pulse of the Profession emphasizes that projects are 2.5 times more likely to succeed when they employ proven project management practices.

But what sets Scrum apart from Kanban, and how do they assist in managing projects?

Kanban and Scrum at a Glance:


  • Nature: Agile-leaning, with a structured approach. Best suited for teams with consistent priorities.
  • Origin: Evolved from software development.
  • Team Structure: Teams are typically composed of up to nine members. Roles include a Scrum Master, Product Owner, and development team.
  • Work Periods: Work is organized into "Sprints", predetermined periods ranging from one to four weeks. Within this time, teams are committed to completing the specified tasks.


  • Nature: Draws from both Agile and Lean principles. It's flexible and particularly beneficial for teams facing fluctuating priorities.
  • Origin: Rooted in the manufacturing processes of a Toyota factory in Japan.
  • Workflow: Emphasizes visual cues to monitor progress, setting a limit on ongoing tasks to ensure focus and completion before taking on new ones. As tasks are completed, teams pull in new ones.

Given the distinctions, the natural query arises: Should one choose Kanban, Scrum, or perhaps an integration of both? It depends on the specific requirements and priorities of the project and the team at hand.

To gain a deeper understanding of how Scrum and Kanban can benefit your project management endeavors, continue to our detailed comparison. Also, for those keen on exploring further, we've recently covered the top project tracking tools for managers and recommend Blinkist for quick insights from leading books on Scrum.

The choice between Kanban and Scrum depends on your team's needs and project specifics. If flexibility and adaptability are key, Kanban provides an edge. On the other hand, Scrum's structured approach is suitable for projects that require well-defined planning and execution. Exploring a combination of both through "Scrumban" might offer the ideal balance for your team.

In the dynamic landscape of project management, understanding the differences between Kanban and Scrum equips you with the tools to make an informed decision. Remember, the optimal choice is the one that aligns with your team's strengths, project scope, and desired outcomes.

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