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Kanban vs. Scrum vs. Scrumban: What are the Differences?

As you familiarize yourself with Agile methodologies, you’re bound to run into these two terms: Scrum and Kanban. But, when you think you have a grasp on those, another concept swoops in: Scrumban

Huh? Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban? What do all of these words mean? Let’s break down Scrum vs. Kanban vs. Scrumban. 

What is Scrum?

Scrum is a project framework used to implement Agile project management. Every project is broken down into short one- to four-week iterations, known as sprints. 

The Scrum team hustles to deliver some iteration of the final project at the end of each sprint so they can evaluate and improve for the next one.  

Scrum is a framework that makes even the biggest, most intimidating projects feel more manageable. It also focuses on continuous improvement — since the Scrum team (led by a person appointed as the Scrum master) is focused on learning from the previous sprint.

What is Kanban?

Kanban is another common Agile project management framework. And, much like Scrum, it breaks projects down into smaller chunks or stages.

But, how is Kanban different from Scrum? While Scrum breaks projects down based on time (one- to four-week sprints), Kanban breaks projects down based on the workflow. For example, in Kanban, you might break down your typical blog post production workflow into ideation, outlining, drafting, revisions, and publishing. It isn’t time-based, and instead views work as a continuous flow. 

The Kanban process is usually managed using a Kanban board, which is a visual representation of how tasks move through your workflow from start to finish.

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What is Scrumban?

Think Scrumban looks like you smashed the words “Scrum” and “Kanban” together? Well, that’s because that’s exactly what this is. As you think about Kanban vs. Scrum vs. Scrumban, the easiest way to approach Scrumban is to think of it as a combination of Scrum and Kanban. 

Scrumban is a great choice for teams who find Scrum to be too rigid, but Kanban to be too flexible. Here are a few notable elements of Scrumban: 

  • Scrumban uses the Scrum backlog approach to plan, prioritize, and allocate work
  • Scrumban uses Kanban boards to visualize work and progress

Some teams that use Scrumban stick with the Scrum requirement of sprints, while others choose to use Kanban rules to manage the amount of work that can be in progress at any time. Scrumban allows for that flexibility, and many teams think of it as the way to get the “best of both worlds” out of Scrum and Kanban.

Scrumban vs. Scrum vs. Kanban: Which is best for your team?

When it comes to Scrumban vs. Kanban vs. Scrum, we can’t blame you if you’re wondering which one to choose. However, it’s important to remember that there isn’t one that’s inherently better than the others. 

Each framework has its use cases not only for different teams, but for different specific projects. Your team might find Scrum to be the best fit for launching your new customer-facing knowledge base while Kanban is best for managing ongoing customer support inquiries.

Confused about how to make your choice? Here are a few helpful tips and distinctions to keep in mind: 

  • Scrum is best for projects that need to charge forward and be delivered quickly
  • Kanban is best for ongoing projects, such as providing a service
  • Scrumban is best for projects that have both product and support features

Still stuck? The best way to find what framework works best is to try one. Remember, you can always adjust once you learn more about how your team works.