The "Hows" and "Whys" of Scrumban

Yomal Gunarathna

March 27, 2023

Operations

4 Mins

Project management is a critical component of software development that can often determine the success or failure of a project. Two popular project management methodologies in the software development industry are Kanban and Scrum. However, there is a third methodology that combines the benefits of both, known as Scrumban. In this article, we will explore what Kanban and Scrum are, and how they work together in Scrumban.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is a Lean manufacturing methodology that originated in Japan. It emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement and reducing waste in the production process. In the context of software development, Kanban is a visual system that helps teams manage their workflow by visualizing work in progress (WIP) and limiting the number of tasks that can be in progress at any given time. A Kanban board typically consists of three columns: To Do, In Progress, and Done. This allows team members to see what tasks are in progress, what tasks need to be started, and what tasks have been completed.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is an Agile methodology that emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and rapid iteration. It is based on the idea of breaking down complex projects into smaller, more manageable pieces called sprints. Each sprint is typically one to four weeks long, and at the end of each sprint, the team delivers a working product increment. Scrum has three key roles: the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Development Team. The Product Owner is responsible for prioritizing the product backlog, which is a list of all the work that needs to be done. The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring that the team follows the Scrum framework and removing any impediments that may be blocking progress. It is the responsibility of the Development Team to ensure that a functional product increment is delivered by the end of each sprint.

What is Scrumban?

Scrumban is a hybrid methodology that combines the principles of Kanban and Scrum. It is designed for teams that are already using Scrum but are experiencing some of the common pain points associated with the methodology. Scrumban provides a more flexible approach to project management that allows teams to adapt to changing requirements and priorities.

How Scrumban works

Scrumban uses the Kanban board to visualize the work in progress and limit the number of tasks that can be in progress at any given time. However, instead of sprints, Scrumban uses a continuous flow approach, where work is pulled into the system when capacity is available. This allows teams to be more responsive to changing requirements and priorities. Scrumban also incorporates some of the key ceremonies from Scrum, such as daily stand-ups and retrospective meetings, to ensure that the team is communicating effectively and continuously improving.

One of the key benefits of Scrumban is that it allows teams to maintain the structure and discipline of Scrum while also incorporating the flexibility of Kanban. For example, if the team is struggling to meet the sprint goals, they can switch to a continuous flow approach and focus on delivering value as quickly as possible. On the other hand, if the team is consistently delivering high-quality product increments at the end of each sprint, they can stick with the Scrum framework and continue to improve their processes over time.

Benefits of Scrumban

There are several benefits to using Scrumban as a project management methodology.

Flexibility

Scrumban is more flexible than Scrum because it allows teams to adapt to changing requirements and priorities. This means that teams can switch from a sprint-based approach to a continuous flow approach when necessary, or they can adjust the number of tasks in progress based on their capacity.

Improved flow

As it uses the Kanban board to visualize work in progress and limit the number of tasks that can be in progress at any given time. This helps teams identify bottlenecks and areas of improvement, which can lead to a smoother flow of work and faster delivery of product increments.

Continuous improvement

Since it incorporates some of the key ceremonies from Scrum, such as daily stand-ups and retrospective meetings, to ensure that the team is communicating effectively and continuously improving. This means that teams are constantly looking for ways to improve their processes and deliver higher quality products more efficiently.

Reduced waste

It is based on Lean manufacturing principles, which emphasize the importance of reducing waste in the production process. By limiting the number of tasks in progress and identifying bottlenecks, teams can reduce the amount of time and resources wasted on non-value-added activities.

Improved team morale

Scrumban encourages collaboration and communication among team members, which can lead to improved morale and job satisfaction. When team members feel that their contributions are valued and that they are working towards a common goal, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Scrumban is a hybrid project management methodology that combines the principles of Kanban and Scrum. It is designed for teams that are already using Scrum but are experiencing some of the common pain points associated with the methodology. Scrumban provides a more flexible approach to project management that allows teams to adapt to changing requirements and priorities while maintaining the structure and discipline of Scrum. By using Scrumban, teams can improve their processes and deliver high-quality products more quickly and efficiently.

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