Kanban VS Scrum: Difference and Complementation

If you work in enterprises or projects, you will be very familiar with Kanban and Scrum methodologies. This article will give you a brief introduction on these two methodologies.

Kanban and Scrum Methodologies

Kanban methodology is a means that is ideal for managing the development of products with the intention of continual delivery without pressuring the development team. It is aimed at assisting groups to work together effortlessly. In this methodology, work gets organized on the Kanban board.

Scrum methodology, on the other hand, is a perfectly-curated process for structuring your work. It is best known as the scrum process for taking care of how everything to be done on a project within 2-4 weeks.

Agile PM Process Mind Map

Similarities between Kanban and Scrum

Whereas Scrum project management is good for giving your organization a boost in the project progress, Kanban project management is suitable for changing your project process over time without straining the development system. These two methodologies, however, have a couple of things in common. You can find out from the list below.

  1. Kanban process and Scrum process are lean and agile project management methodologies.
  2. In both methods, the Kanban board and Scrum board are used.
  3. The work is in three categories, i.e., work that is yet to start, work that is being done (In progress), and completed work.
  4. Both methodologies are based on self-organizing teams.
  5. Work is broken down into pieces.
  6. Transparency is upheld in both to enhance process improvement.
  7. Pull scheduling is the standard in these two methodologies.

Now that we have seen their similarities, what about their differences?

Differences between Kanban and Scrum

Kanban and Scrum are work systems that depend on process flows and focus on reducing waste, however, they differ from each other in some ways. Below is a detailed comparison.

Successful Cases of Using Kanban and Scrum

a) Kanban

A team that organizes educational events both internally and externally is well known for successfully finishing their work. They realized that no transparency would hinder the team members from conceiving the idea of the ‘big picture.’ So the leader prepared a short Kanban intro for the non-agile team and sought supervisor’s approval to make a Kanban board.

This how the team brought a Kanban system to life:

Kanban Board

It was just two days later when the team learned the need for adding swim-lanes and considering tasks that were not event-related. The necessity of improving the delivery time of the group was also brought to light. Overall, the Kanban process was of immense assistance to the team.

b) Scrum

Due to competitiveness, the delivery of IT Services of Amir Arooni’s department needed robust upgrading. After carrying out a small project, it was realized that the existing Waterfall working methods and the organizational structures were no longer to meet the organization’s goals. Hence ING used the Scrum process to enhance agility.

Below is a rundown of how the firm implemented Scrum project management.

Scrum Successful Case

To improve output and have it ready as soon as possible, they had the first pilot Scrum project commenced in 2011. The time for these projects was a significant improvement from 3 to 6 months. Maintenance was also improved when the Scrum team carried out vital architectural tasks. There were also tremendous and positive changes in innovation, craftsmanship, collaboration, energy, and employee satisfaction. Trust were also enhanced in the organization thanks to communication infrastructure, facilities and team tools provided by Scrum development.

Are they complementary?

Yes! Some aspects of the Scrum process are complementary to a Kanban process. This is not new to some of you since you already put it to good use. They fit naturally and are an active part of the Kanban methodology.

Let us look at a case in which Scrum complementation is in play in a Kanban process below.

You can take, for instance, the aspects of Scrum that you do like and utilize them as ‘design patterns’ or ‘good practices.’ This doesn’t necessarily imply that you perform ‘Scrum,’ and you just make use of Scrum-related patterns. It is a slightly more advanced, experimental, and safe approach to carry out Kanban project management process. If you happen to use this approach, you often check to see if any of the other Scrum process patterns are not there and don’t think about adding them to your team process.

Don’t limit yourself in a particular project management software. Try different approaches to add Scrum to your Kanban process. Kanban is so flexible to work with that it lets you pick and choose patterns.

Complementation between Kanban and Scrum


Hope this article has quenched your thirst for knowing about Kanban and Scrum. These two are easily confused and perceived as the same project management software due to their similarities. However, you must agree that they are separate entities.

Moreover, it is now clear that you can use these two processes interchangeably. Where Kanban methodology falls short of excellent delivery, you can easily employ Scrum process patterns to ensure perfect output. Please note that this is not using the Scrum process, but are borrowing the Scrum patterns to enhance the overall result of your Kanban process.

A bonus tip is that you don’t have to get it right for the first time. Scrum can provide you with detailed and prescriptive guidance, therefore you can try it and experiment it with adding activities.

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