Scrum or Kanban?

Nima is Technical Project Manager/ScrumMaster at RBM Technologies in Boston. He is also responsible for coaching Scrum and building up an agile culture.

You apply agile to software development project management because you and your team believe it fits today’s business needs better than how other framework. But you are not sure what methodology is the best for your project. Should you always use Scrum in some way? Is it versatile enough to adapt to any situation? Or are there other agile methodologies that work more efficiently under some conditions?

Many organizations always stick to one agile methodology, mostly Scrum (after all, it is more convenient to train and manage one methodology). This approach reduces complexity and makes management easier. Great idea, right? Wrong.

Like many other things in life, the easiest solution is not always the best. It is more effective if you choose the best methodology for each single project based on its nature. Scrum doesn’t fit all projects’ needs. Kanban is another agile methodology that, believe it or not, works more smoothly for at least one type of project. But what type? 

Kanban, Continuous Work
In contrast to Scrum, which is time-boxed, Kanban advocates continuous work on tasks. When new tasks come up, the team evaluates the scope and creates acceptance criteria. Then each task goes to a queue (called “not started yet” or “to do”), waiting to be grabbed by a team member.

Once a developer takes that task, it will move to …

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