Go Agile: Scrum vs Kanban

Go Agile: Scrum vs Kanban

When looking for an Agile framework for their dev departments, many companies face a choice: Scrum vs Kanban.
These are the pros and cons of each option and how to decide.

When our customers decide to take the plunge to implement Agile methodologies, the first thing on the to-do list is choosing a winner: Scrum vs. Kanban. These are the main pros and cons of each option. Both Scrum and Kanban are Agile methods. But what does that mean exactly?

What is Agile?

If you have been following us for a while, you already know we are Agile. And you also already know we have our own interpretation of Agile—see what Agile means to us. Now, this might seem strange, but that is the beauty of Agile: it is not a rigid method. Instead, Agile is mutable and adaptable to every team’s needs. See how Agile got us through COVID19.

That being said, a small Agile recap:

Agile is a set of practices, processes, and tools used in product creation and project development. It is commonly adopted within, but not limited to, software development. The Agile methodologies and frameworks provide a conceptual structure for project development, by breaking down a large project into smaller tasks. Essentially, Agile is less about software and more about problem solving.

There are a few important principles in Agile that represent a huge shift in traditional project management:

  1. Early and continuous delivery of incremental improvements (evolution, not revolution)
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Businesspeople and developers working together daily throughout the project.
  4. Face-to-face conversation, as the most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team.
  5. Working software is the primary measure of progress
  6. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile framework. The keyword in understanding Scrum is iteration. In a nutshell, this is how Scrum works:

  1. A product owner sets up a Backlog—a priority list of all the work needed to develop the product.
  2. The Scrum Master assigns dev teams (smaller) tasks in the Backlog to be developed in Sprints—a period usually between 1 to 4 weeks.
  3. The Sprint Backlog goes on a Board and the Scrum Master divides into steps, for example, “To do”, “In progress”, “Blocked”, and “Done”.
  4. During the Sprint, there is a daily Scrum (15-minute meeting) where the development team gathers and discusses progress and roadblocks, and how to adjust from there.
  5. At the end of the Sprint, the Scrum Team and its stakeholders verify the results and adjust for the next Sprint.
  6. Repeat until the project is finished and ready to go.

Sounds simple enough, right? Kanban works in a similar way, but with a few vital differences.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is also an Agile framework and a Japanese word that means “visual board” or “visual sign” . While Kanban is a very visual framework, the keyword here is continuous.

Just like in Scrum, there is a Backlog with tasks and a Board with steps such as “To do”, “In Progress”, “Test” and “Done”. The dev team selects high priority tasks from the Backlog and into the Board. Every time a task moves along in the Board, another gets pulled into it.

There are also optional Daily Stand-up meetings, Demos for Stakeholders and Retrospectives.

Daily Scrums and Daily Stand-ups aside, an office tip: experience the power of having One-on-Ones.

Scrum vs Kanban: what’s the difference?

Both Scrum and Kanban are frameworks of the same methodology that start with a Backlog and end with a finished, functional product. However, the entire process in between is quite different.

While Scrum is more goal-oriented, structured, and focused, the Kanban approach is more about visualising the entire process from beginning to end.

These are the differences between Scrum vs Kanban side by side.

differences scrum vs kanban


In few words, Scrum is more planned and set than Kanban, which is more relaxed and adaptative. However, note that these “rules” are guidelines rather than actual set-in-stone rules. They’re Agile.

Scrum vs Kanban: what’s the right fit?

Now that you know the basic differences between Scrum vs Kanban, which one is better for you? There is actually not a real definitive answer; It would be like comparing an aeroplane and a boat. It all depends on your business, projects, teams, and goals.

From our experience with customers from various industries, Scrum should be your weapon of choice if your business needs a fundamental shift towards a structured and efficient process. On the other hand, if your business already has working, effective processes that you want to improve, then Kanban might be just what you need.

Option three: you are stuck and have no idea which method is right for your business, nor which tool (of the dozens of Scrum or Kanban tools available) you should choose. Then maybe you need a (Near) Partner to guide you through—do you know how to choose the right outsourcing partner?


Let’s talk Agile. Let’s talk Scrum vs Kanban, Jira vs Asana, or even the lovechild of Scrum and Kanban: Scrumban! Yep, project development is also fun. Get in touch and let’s get your business up and running at its potential. Meanwhile, check our Project Cost Simulator.

Nelson André

I'm amazed how tech can simplify peoples life's and help us focus on the really important things: the ones around us and our relationships.