A Great Pair: 5 Ways You Can Enhance Scrum with Kanban
As far as Agile methodologies go, both Scrum and Kanban are effective frameworks for managing projects and teams. Scrum provides structure, transparency, and iterative development. Kanban offers visual management, continuous flow, and flexibility.
While it is often considered that the choice is Scrum OR Kanban, the fact is you can consider adopting both and maybe you should! As our Kanban expert, Van Wray, puts it, Scrum is like a game and Kanban is a game design toolkit.
Improved Workflow Visualization:
Scrum relies on time-boxed sprints, but it can sometimes be challenging to track the progress of individual work items within a sprint. By integrating Kanban’s visualization practice, Scrum teams can create a Kanban board to visualize the flow of work. Each Sprint work item can be represented as a card, moving through various stages, providing real-time visibility into the team’s workflow. This transparency helps identify bottlenecks, optimize the process, and enables better collaboration.
Flexibility and Work-in-Progress (WIP) Limits:
One of the strengths of Kanban is limiting work in progress. By introducing WIP limits to Scrum, teams can maintain a controlled flow of work and avoid overburdening team members. This approach promotes better focus, reduces multitasking, and ensures smoother Sprint completion. The team can establish WIP limits for each stage of the workflow, helping them understand capacity and optimize resource allocation.
Kanban embraces the concept of continuous improvement; like Scrum. By incorporating a Kanban mindset into Scrum, teams can actively seek additional ways to refine their processes, eliminate waste, and enhance productivity. Through regular retrospectives, the Scrum team can identify areas for improvement and experiment with small changes. This iterative approach aligns with the spirit of Scrum, enabling the team to adapt and evolve their practices over time.
Enhanced Focus on Flow and Lead Time:
Scrum focuses on delivering a potentially shippable product increment at the end of each sprint. By integrating Kanban’s emphasis on flow and lead time, Scrum teams can gain deeper insights into their development process. Ideally we finish everything planned in a Sprint; sometimes that is a challenge. By tracking lead time—the time taken to complete a work item from start to finish—allows teams to identify patterns, estimate more accurately, and make data-driven decisions. Particularly when it takes more than a single Sprint. It facilitates predictability and empowers the team to set more realistic expectations for stakeholders.
Pull Based Demand Management:
Kanban’s emphasis on leveraging WIP Limits can complement Scrum’s sprint planning process. By utilizing Kanban’s pull-based system, teams can have a clear signal capacity is available to take on new work and manage demand accordingly. This integration helps avoid overloading the team or underutilizing their capabilities, leading to optimized resource allocation and improved delivery speed.
Combining the strengths of Scrum and Kanban can bring numerous benefits to teams. If you or your team are looking for the next step in improving your Scrum, if your team is stuck, if you are a Scrum Master or Product Owner who feels your projects are inhibited in any way, you may consider Team Kanban Practitioner training. Message us if this seems interesting to you.