Comparing Agile Methods: Scrumban, Kanban, & Kanban

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
Regular readers will be aware that I am not an expert in Agile project management. However, I know that it is something I need to learn more about.
Today, I am partnering with Eylean in order to give you an overview on three agile methodologies: Scrum and Kanban. During the research for this article, I learned a lot! Let’s get started.
Agile Methods: The Basics
Agile is agile, isn’t it? True, but all varieties of agile are part the set of project management trends as they are so important to the work that we do today. Scrum, Kanban and a method that combines the two (turning Scrum Kanban to Scrumban) are all very different.
Scrum is a method of managing work within defined timeframes called sprints. These last anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks, and you complete your task list within that time. You must adhere to deadlines and it is quite formal.
The Kanban method is a visual way to manage To-Do lists. There are no formal constraints. You can adapt your Kanban board (more about that later) to fit your workflow. There are no hard deadlines, but you can work towards a release and a larger goal.
Scrumban is a mix of both, as you would expect. The idea of a continuous flow in work with longer planning cycles that tie into your release date is what Scrumban is.
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Scrum, the most formal of these three methodologies, has two formal roles: Product Owner (and Scrum Master), and other cross-functional people who make the ‘team’.
The Product Owner is a bit like the waterfall Project Sponsor. She is responsible for setting the vision and prioritizing. My main point is that sponsors are rarely a part of the team every day. Product Owners are in the same boat as everyone else.
The Scrum Master is a person who manages and leads the Scrum process.
Kanban and Scrumban don’t have any predetermined roles. You can use what you like, or not at all. While Kanban team members are more skilled, Scrumban teams can be made up of both specialists and generalists.
Read more: 5 Structures to Support Agile Teams
How work is planned
You must determine what needs to be done for every agile method. Once you have your requirements, the approaches begin to differ.
Scrum teams draw their requirements from the product backlog. The Agile Alliance defines the backlog like:
“A list of features and technical tasks that the team maintains at any given moment and which are necessary and sufficient to complete a release or project.”
Prioritize the work for each sprint during planning. This is where there’s a lot of negotiation.
If a large task is not possible within the sprint timeframe, it will be broken down into smaller pieces. Sprint dates must be strictly respected.
Scrum teams are known for their excellent change management processes. Although no new stuff is added to a sprint, it may make it into the next sprint.
Kanban is much more relaxed. Kanban is much more relaxed. The team can add work to their task lists when they are empty or at any point. Since they don’t work in sprints, there are no fixed points where they must come together to plan.
Kanban team members are more likely to have specialisms so they can take on their next task as soon as they finish their current workload. There is no need to wait until the next formal planning cycle in order to get more work.
Scrumban teams plan when they have no work left to do or, in agile-speak, “when there is enough work.”

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