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Kanban vs. scrum

Kainat Asif


kanban is a project management system that manages work by identifying and fixing bottlenecks in a workflow.

The required processes are divided into 3 columns:

  • to be done
  • in progress
  • done

In the beginning, all processes are placed in the ‘to be done’ column. The ongoing processes are placed in the ‘in progress’ column, and the completed processes are placed in the ‘done’ column.

Suppose there are nine processes to be completed, named Process 1, Process 2, … Process 9.

  • Initially, all nine processes are placed in the “to be done” column.
  • Let’s say the team members start working on processes 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9. These processes will be moved from the “to be done” column to “in progress”.
  • The processes that were in progress and are now completed will be moved from the “in progress” column to the “done” column. If processes 1, 3, 4, and 9 are completed, they will be moved to the “done” column.


Scrum is a project management system that is used to develop projects with unclear requirements and aggressive deadlines. Scrum divides a project into time-boxed deliverables called sprints. These sprints are usually three weeks long. The project is developed iteratively, with each sprint delivering a number of features of the project required.

Scrum roles

  • Product owner: Decides what features to add and the order of features.
  • Scrum master: Provides guidance to the team.
  • Development team: Developers developing the project.

Scrum artifacts

  • Product backlog: Features to be implemented in a project.
  • Sprint backlog: Features to be implemented in a sprint.
  • Potentially ship-able product increment: Result of a sprint if it is good enough to be shipped to the client.

Scrum activities

  • Sprint: Two to four week period in which a part of the project is implemented and sprint goals are achieved.
  • Sprint planning: Defining sprint goals, such as adding features to sprint backlog from the product backlog.
  • Daily scrum: A short daily meeting to keep the team on track.
  • Sprint execution: The members of the development teams take tasks from the sprint backlog. The progress of the sprint is recorded on “burn down” charts.
  • Sprint review: Meeting after the sprint in which the development team shows their progress.
  • Sprint retrospective: Meeting after the sprint to discuss how scrum is going.
  • Product backlog grooming: Session in which items in the product backlog are reviewed and prioritized.
Side-by-side comparison




Openness to change

Open to changes.

Closed to changes during a sprint.


The roles of team members are not fixed.

The roles of the team members are fixed. The types of roles in scrum are:

  • Product Owner
  • Scrum Master
  • Development team

Time Boxing

Completion of processes are not time boxed.

The sprints are time boxed, generally two weeks.


  • Visualize work
  • Limit work in progress
  • Focus on flow
  • Continuous improvement.
  • Sprint Planning
  • Sprint
  • Daily scrum
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective


The processes are delivered as soon as a process is completed.

After a sprint is completed, it is checked whether the sprint has enough features to be ship-able.

Key metrics

The progress is measured using cycle time and throughput. Cycle time is the time take to complete a single process. Throughput is the number of processes completed in a unit time.

The progress is measured using velocity. Velocity is the rate at which sprints are delivered as compared to the time estimated in sprint planning.

Team meetings

The team meetings are recommended for the members.

The team meetings are mandatory for the members.

Team dependent

Development may be affected if a member leaves the team.

Development is not affected if a member leaves the team.

When to use

Works best with small teams.

Large projects can be broken down into sprints.



Kainat Asif
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