Agile Development

Kanban versus Scrum: A Comprehensive Guide to Agile Development

Kanban versus Scrum: A Comprehensive Guide to Agile Development

In the world of software development, two methodologies often stand out: Kanban and Scrum. Both are popular Agile frameworks, but they have distinct differences, advantages, and disadvantages. In this article, we will explore these methodologies, answer some common questions, and provide key comparisons to help you decide which is best for your project, and can Zeren Software best accommodate your needs.

Kanban vs. Scrum: What’s the Difference?

Software development is the process of creating and maintaining computer programs. There are many different ways to develop software, but two of the most popular methods are Kanban and Scrum.

Both Kanban and Scrum are Agile frameworks, which means that they focus on delivering small increments of work frequently, rather than trying to complete a large project all at once. This allows teams to be more flexible and responsive to change.


Kanban is a visual workflow management system that emphasizes continuous delivery without overloading the development team. It uses a Kanban board to visualize the flow of work, allowing teams to see the status of tasks and identify bottlenecks.

Kanban uses a visual board to track the flow of work. The board is divided into columns, each of which represents a different stage of the development process. For example, there might be columns for “To Do”, “In Progress”, and “Done”.

Teams use Kanban to limit the amount of work in progress at any given time. This helps to improve focus and reduce the risk of bottlenecks. Kanban is also a good choice for teams that have a lot of incoming requests, as it allows them to prioritize work and focus on the most important things.

Imagine a restaurant kitchen. The chef and kitchen staff use a Kanban board to track the orders that are coming in. They have columns for “New Orders”, “Being Prepared”, and “Ready to Serve”. The chef and kitchen staff work on the orders in the order that they come in, but they also make sure not to have too many orders in progress at the same time. This helps to ensure that the food is cooked quickly and efficiently.


Scrum, on the other hand, is an iterative framework that divides the aproject into time-boxed iterations called sprints. Each sprint lasts typically two weeks, and the team commits to completing a set of tasks within that time frame.

Scrum is a more structured framework than Kanban. It involves working in short, fixed-length time periods called sprints. At the beginning of each sprint, the team selects a set of user stories to complete by the end of the sprint.

During the sprint, the team works together to deliver the user stories. They meet regularly to discuss their progress and identify any roadblocks. At the end of the sprint, the team demonstrates the completed work to stakeholders and gathers feedback.

Imagine a construction team. The team is working on building a new house. They have divided the project into sprints, each of which is two weeks long. At the beginning of each sprint, the team meets with the homeowner to discuss the work that needs to be done. The team then selects a set of tasks to complete by the end of the sprint.

Key Differences

  • Flexibility: Kanban is more flexible, allowing changes to be made mid-stream, while Scrum requires planning and commitment to specific tasks during a sprint.
  • Roles: Scrum has defined roles (Scrum Master, Product Owner, Development Team), while Kanban does not prescribe specific roles.
  • Meetings: Scrum includes regular ceremonies like Daily Standups and Sprint Reviews, whereas Kanban focuses more on the flow of work.

Kanban or Scrum

Which is Better, Kanban or Scrum?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The best methodology for your project will depend on a number of factors, such as the size and complexity of the project, the team’s experience, and the level of customer involvement.

If you are unsure which methodology to choose, it is a good idea to talk to your team and stakeholders. You can also experiment with different methodologies to see what works best for you.

The choice between Kanban and Scrum depends on the project’s needs, team dynamics, and organizational goals.

  • Kanban is suitable for teams that require flexibility and continuous delivery, such as support or maintenance projects.
  • Scrum is ideal for projects with clear milestones and deliverables, where iterative development and regular feedback are essential.

Why Move from Kanban to Scrum?

There are a few reasons why a team might choose to move from Kanban to Scrum:

  • To gain more structure and predictability. Scrum has a more defined framework than Kanban, with set roles, ceremonies, and timeboxes. This can be helpful for teams that need more structure and predictability in their work.
  • To improve their ability to deliver on commitments. Scrum’s sprint structure helps teams to break down their work into smaller, more manageable chunks, and to commit to delivering those chunks within a set timeframe. This can be helpful for teams that need to be able to reliably deliver on commitments to stakeholders.
  • To increase their focus on collaboration and communication. Scrum’s daily standups, sprint reviews, and retrospectives help to ensure that team members are aligned on their goals and priorities, and that they are communicating and collaborating effectively. This can be helpful for teams that need to improve their collaboration and communication.

Here are some specific examples of situations where a team might choose to move from Kanban to Scrum:

  • A team is working on a complex project with many dependencies. Scrum’s sprint structure can help the team to break down the project into smaller, more manageable chunks, and to coordinate their work more effectively.
  • A team is working on a project with a tight deadline. Scrum’s sprint structure can help the team to commit to delivering specific pieces of work within a set timeframe.
  • A team is struggling to collaborate and communicate effectively. Scrum’s ceremonies can help the team to improve their alignment and communication.

If you are considering moving from Kanban to Scrum, it’s important to do your research and to transition carefully. It’s also important to involve your team in the decision-making process and to get their buy-in on the move.

Why Move from Scrum to Kanban?

Scrum and Kanban are two different ways to manage projects. Scrum is more rigid and has fixed timelines, while Kanban is more flexible and allows for continuous delivery.

Why might a team want to move from Scrum to Kanban?

  • If the team struggles with rigid timelines and needs more flexibility. Scrum teams have to commit to a certain amount of work for each sprint, and this can be difficult if the team is constantly getting interrupted or if the requirements change. Kanban teams are not committed to a set amount of work for each time period, so they can be more flexible and respond to changes more easily.
  • If there is a need for continuous delivery rather than iterative development. Scrum teams work in sprints, which are typically 2-4 weeks long. At the end of each sprint, the team delivers a working product increment. Kanban teams can deliver work as soon as it is finished, so they can be a good fit for teams that need to deliver work continuously.
  • If the team wants to focus on flow efficiency and reduce bottlenecks. Kanban boards help teams to visualize their work and identify bottlenecks. This can help teams to improve their flow efficiency and get work done more quickly.

Imagine that you are working on a group project for school. Scrum would be like being given a set of instructions for the project and having to complete it within a certain amount of time. Kanban would be like being given a list of tasks for the project and being able to work on them in any order, as long as you are finished with all of the tasks by the end of the semester.

How Does Kanban Differ from Agile?

Kanban is a subset of Agile. While Agile is a set of principles and values that guide the development process, Kanban is a specific method that implements those principles through visual management and continuous improvement.

Is Kanban Agile or Not?

Yes, Kanban is considered an Agile methodology. It embraces the Agile principles of customer collaboration, responding to change, and delivering value continuously.

Pros, Cons, and Key Comparisons


  • Pros: Flexibility, continuous delivery, visual management.
  • Cons: Less structure, potential for scope creep.


  • Pros: Clear roles and responsibilities, regular feedback, iterative development.
  • Cons: Rigid timelines, more meetings.


Is Scrum More Complex Than Kanban?

Scrum is often considered more complex due to its defined roles, ceremonies, and time-boxed iterations. Kanban’s simplicity and flexibility can make it easier to adopt.

Can Kanban and Scrum Be Used Together?

Yes, Scrumban is a hybrid approach that combines elements of both methodologies, offering the structure of Scrum with the flexibility of Kanban.


Kanban and Scrum are powerful methodologies that can drive success in software development. The choice between them should align with the team’s needs, project requirements, and organizational culture. At Zeren Software, understanding these methodologies can lead to more efficient, responsive, and successful projects. We take great pride in using both of these methodologies to navigate the needs and wants of our clients, and create longstanding software solutions, so that projects and companies can thrive.