Scrum vs Kanban

Two of the most widely used agile frameworks are Scrum and Kanban, both of which offer different approaches to agile development. In this article, we’ll compare Scrum and Kanban, highlighting their similarities and differences to help you decide which one might be the best fit for your team.


Scrum is an agile framework that is designed to help teams deliver high-quality software in short, iterative sprints. Scrum consists of several roles, including a product owner, a Scrum master, and a development team. The product owner is responsible for defining the product backlog, which is a prioritized list of features and requirements for the product. The Scrum master is responsible for ensuring that the Scrum process is followed and facilitating communication between the development team and the product owner. The development team is responsible for completing the work and delivering the product.

Scrum emphasizes time-boxed sprints, which typically last between one and four weeks, during which the development team works on a specific set of tasks. The sprint begins with a sprint planning meeting, during which the development team and the product owner determine which items from the product backlog will be completed during the sprint. The team then works on those items, holding daily stand-up meetings to track progress and identify any obstacles that need to be addressed. At the end of the sprint, the team holds a sprint review meeting to demonstrate the completed work to the product owner and other stakeholders and a retrospective meeting to identify areas for improvement in the next sprint.


Kanban is an agile methodology that focuses on continuous delivery and a visual representation of the workflow. Kanban originated in manufacturing and has been adapted for use in software development. Kanban is based on the idea of visualizing work, limiting work in progress, and focusing on continuous delivery. A Kanban board is used to visualize the workflow, with each work item represented as a card on the board.

Kanban doesn’t have roles like Scrum; instead, it emphasizes collaboration and self-organization. The team determines which work items are a priority and works on them in a continuous flow, rather than in time-boxed sprints. The team focuses on limiting work in progress, which helps prevent overloading the team with too much work at once. Kanban also emphasizes continuous delivery, meaning that the team delivers completed work items as soon as they are ready.

Comparing Scrum and Kanban

Now that we’ve looked at the basics of Scrum and Kanban, let’s compare the two frameworks:

  1. Time-boxed sprints vs. continuous delivery: Scrum emphasizes time-boxed sprints, while Kanban focuses on continuous delivery. Scrum can help teams stay focused and on track by breaking the work down into smaller, manageable chunks. Kanban allows for more flexibility, with the team working on items as they are ready.
  2. Roles vs. collaboration: Scrum has defined roles, while Kanban emphasizes collaboration and self-organization. Scrum’s defined roles can be helpful for teams that need more structure and guidance, while Kanban’s emphasis on collaboration can be helpful for teams that are more experienced and self-directed.
  3. Sprint planning vs. continuous flow: Scrum begins each sprint with a planning meeting, while Kanban focuses on continuous flow. Sprint planning can help ensure that the team is working on the most important items, while continuous flow allows for more flexibility in prioritizing work.
  4. Sprint review and retrospective vs. continuous improvement: Scrum holds sprint review and retrospective meetings at the end of each sprint, while Kanban emphasizes continuous improvement. Sprint review and retrospective meetings can be helpful for identifying areas for improvement in the next sprint, while continuous improvement in Kanban allows for ongoing reflection and optimization of the workflow.
  5. Visual representation vs. formal process: Kanban’s emphasis on the visual representation of the workflow can make it easier for the team to understand and manage their work, while Scrum’s formal process can provide more structure and clarity.
  6. Predictability vs. flexibility: Scrum’s time-boxed sprints and defined roles can help provide predictability in terms of what work will be completed in a given sprint, while Kanban’s flexibility can allow for more adaptability to changing priorities.

Which one should you choose?

Ultimately, the choice between Scrum and Kanban will depend on your team’s specific needs and preferences. Scrum can be a good fit for teams that prefer more structure and predictability, while Kanban can be a good fit for teams that prefer more flexibility and collaboration. If your team is new to agile methodologies, Scrum may be a good place to start, as its defined roles and structured process can help provide guidance and support. If your team is more experienced and self-directed, Kanban may be a good fit, as its focus on continuous delivery and collaboration can allow for more autonomy and creativity.

In conclusion, both Scrum and Kanban offer valuable approaches to agile development, and it’s up to you to decide which one is the best fit for your team. By considering the similarities and differences between the two frameworks, you can make an informed decision that will help your team work more efficiently, collaboratively, and productively.