Difference between Kanban and Scrum

Kanban and Scrum are both process tools used in Agile software development. The primary goal of the two is to increase efficiency in software development processes.

Kanban is an approach that involves breaking down work into small deliverables and assigning specific tasks to team members. The Kanban method aids in the perception of software development as a whole system. Its primary goal is to gradually improve the entire development system.

Read through this article to find out more about Kanban and Scrum and how they are different from each other.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a visual management approach used for the workplace. It is able to visualize both the process itself as well as the work that is going through that process. The primary goal of putting in place a Kanban system is to locate and eliminate any potential bottlenecks that may exist in the process. The purpose of Kanban is to ensure that work flow is carried out in an easily understandable way.

Other important Kanban ideas include −

  • Definition of Workflow (DoW) − The DoW is responsible for defining essential aspects of the Kanban workflow, such as what units are being moved around the board, what it means for an item to be "started" or "completed," and the appropriate amount of time for an item to go through each column.

  • Work in Progress (WIP) Limits − A WIP restriction can be imposed by a team on a single column, on many columns at once, or on the entire board. Because of this, a column that has a WIP limit of five cannot have more than five cards in it at any given moment. If there are five, then the team needs to complete the tasks in that column before adding any more. It is possible for WIP limitations to assist in bringing to light production bottlenecks.

  • Kaizen − The Japanese word kaizen, which literally translates to "improvement," promotes an attitude of continuously enhancing the quality of a process. This motivates not just the managers but also all of the team members to offer their perspectives and work toward improving the team.

The Kanban Method

Everything is gradually enhanced throughout the Kanban process, whether it's software development, staffing, marketing, sales, procurement, or something else entirely.

In order to effectively manage and enhance the flow of work, the Kanban Method adheres to the following guiding principle −

  • Visualize Work
  • Limit work in process
  • Focus on flow
  • Continuous Improvement

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a kind of Agile technique that was developed specifically for large-scale projects in which it is regularly necessary to adjust to new circumstances.

  • Sprints are brief iterations of product development that typically span between one and four weeks and are the foundation on which Scrum is built.

  • A Scrum team is one that is self-organized, relatively small (usually consisting of no more than nine individuals), and contains a "Scrum Master" and a "Product Owner". The remaining members of the team make up what is known as the development team.

  • Scrum, being an Agile framework, employs an iterative approach to the completion of projects, as is characteristic of Agile frameworks. Teams typically work to complete and hand off responsibilities in stages rather than delivering an entire project at once. This makes it much simpler to adjust to shifting priorities and different circumstances.

Scrum is constructed on the following three pillars −

  • Adaptation − Scrum is a flexible framework that welcomes and adapts to new circumstances. Scrum is flexible enough to easily adapt to the shifting strategic priorities of a project.

  • Transparency − Everyone on the team should be kept informed of what is happening and why it is happening through transparency.

  • Inspection − Team members and stakeholders inspect projects on a regular basis. This encourages an improvement culture.

The Scrum Methodology

The Scrum methodology encourages members of the team to assess what aspects of the process are working well and what aspects are not. The approach known as scrum places a significant emphasis on communication. It is accomplished through gatherings that are referred to as Events.

Scrum Events comprise the following −

  • Daily Scrum
  • Sprint Planning Meeting
  • Sprint Retrospective

Difference between Kanban and Scrum

The following table highlights the major differences between Kanban and Scrum −

Basis of ComparisonKanbanScrum
PrioritiesIdeal for teams with consistent priorities that are unlikely to shift over time.It is an excellent strategy for undertaking projects with a wide range of priorities.
TeamThe Kanban board can be shared by multiple teams.Only one team can claim ownership of a sprint backlog at a time.
Key conceptsEffectiveness, efficiency, and predictabilityTransparency, adaptation, inspection
ResponsibilitiesThere are no predetermined roles, which allows for more freedom with regard to individual responsibilities.Every single person is responsible for the function that they play in the group.
CommitmentThere is no requirement for commitment. It is up to the discretion of the teams.The amount of effort that each team is needed to commit must be specified.


Kanban is an excellent choice for managing lightweight projects due to the limited number of restrictions it imposes on its users. Scrum is a very involved process that is best suited for major projects that are expected to be completed over an extended period of time, in most cases, many months.

Kanban is straightforward and easy to understand because to its continuous improvement plan. Project owners are given the ability to prioritise the feature requests they submit using Kanban. In addition, Kanban makes it possible for project owners to interact closely and personally with the development team in order to have a deeper comprehension of how the team operates. Hence, they can improve the process and make it more efficient.

Kanban allows engineers to collaborate more effectively as a group and finish what they started much more quickly. When developers are obliged to spend resources into other aspects of the project in order to assist with it, they begin to view the project as a whole and are able to discover the difficulties that might benefit the project as a whole.

Scrum places a significant amount of emphasis on the many procedures and iterations involved. Kanban is all about keeping things simple while imposing minimal restrictions.