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Kanban Vs Scrum: Difference Between Kanban and Scrum

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1st Jun, 2023
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Kanban Vs Scrum: Difference Between Kanban and Scrum

If you’re in DevOps or are learning about Agile, then you would have surely heard of Kanban and Scrum. Both of them are strategies of agile development and are widely popular among developers.

Scrum focuses on well-planned and short sprints whereas Kanban focuses on fluid and continuous work. The Kanban vs Scrum discussion is quite a prominent one, and this article shed more light on it.

This article will help you understand the difference between Kanban and Scrum to help you remove any confusion. So, let’s begin.

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What Is Kanban ?

Kanban is a unique method of management where you use visual systems. With this method, you’d visualize the process and the work going through the process.

We implement Kanban to find potential bottlenecks and fix the same. Kanban focuses on ensuring that the process goes smoothly.

It focuses heavily on visualization and limiting work in progress. Such teams aim to reduce the time it takes to complete the project by using a Kanban board and optimizing their workflow.

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It is suitable for teams that receive many requests of varying sizes and priorities.

Moreover, Kanban allows you to modify the project on the go, whereas Scrum requires you to keep things planned.

Highlights Of Kanban


Kanban keeps your team ready to adapt to varying priorities as it has a continuous workflow structure. Here, you’d use cards to represent work items on Kanban boards where they flow from one stage to another.

Some of the prevalent workflow stages include In Progress, Blocked, To Do, Done, and Blocked.

The biggest highlight of Kanban is it allows you to make custom workflows for your team. Custom workflows enable you to change things up according to your project’s dynamic requirements.

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Release Method

When you’re following the Kanban methodology, you release updates as soon as they are ready. They don’t follow any predetermined schedule. Kanban doesn’t require you to fix a time limit for completing a project.

If you complete your project earlier, you can release it right away without waiting for the predetermined date.

Roles In Kanban

One of the biggest highlights of Kanban is the entire team shares equal levels of responsibility. They all own the Kanban board.

While in Scrum, you have a Scrum master who is responsible for keeping the team aligned to the principles and running things smoothly, there is nothing of that sort in Kanban.

Also Read Agile Methodology.

What Is Scrum ?

Scrum allows you to deliver value in a short time. You’d inspect the actual work repeatedly and rapidly.

Scrum teams deliver their working software through determined sets called sprints. They aim to make learning loops to get customer feedback quickly so they can integrate the same.

Scrum teams make special artifacts, adopt particular roles, and hold meetings regularly. With this methodology, your team commits to deliver some valuable increment by the end of every sprint.

It focuses on small work increments to help you learn from the customer feedback and determine the following steps.

As you would have noticed by now, there are many points of difference in Kanban vs Scrum. Here are the prominent highlights of Scrum so you can understand them better:

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Highlights Of Scrum


Scrum is fast as the sprints usually last from a week to four weeks with fixed start and end dates. Such short timeframes force you to break down complicated tasks into small stories which in turn, allows your team to learn and understand them quickly.

Sprint review, sprint planning, and retrospective meetings along with daily scrum meetings (also called standup meetings) keep the sprints punctual. These ceremonies are quite lightweight and take place regularly.

Release Method

Ad-hoc releases have become highly prevalent in Scrum these days however, it is best practice to release your product at the end of every sprint.

Your team would set a goal for every sprint and then determines whether to release the product or not in the sprint review meeting.

Roles In Scrum

There are three roles in Scrum. First is the product owner who handles the product backlog, advocates for the clients, and enables in prioritizing the work.

Then there is the Scrum master who helps the team in staying aligned to the scrum principles.

Finally, you have the development team that chooses what work is there to do and delivers the required increments.

Difference Between Kanban And Scrum

The following points illustrate the difference between Kanban and Scrum.

1. Scrum focuses on planning as it begins with sprint planning and ends with sprint retrospective. Under this methodology, you’d hold many meetings to ensure that your team is on point and understands the priorities while learning from their past sprints. Kanban, on the other hand, allows you to change things on the go. It has less rigidity than Scrum and thus, allows you to change stuff more frequently.

2. When you’re following Scrum methodology, you’d focus on keeping time measurements of every sprint whereas Kanban recommends creating graphs to track your team’s progress.

3. Because Scrum focuses a lot on planning, every estimation you make has a lot of significance in Scrum. Kanban doesn’t require you to make estimations, which is a prominent difference between Kanban and Scrum.

4. You can divide large projects into small and manageable sprints in Scrum and so it can work well with a large team as well as a small team. Kanban, however, doesn’t work well with large teams and is best with small teams.

5. Even if a team member leaves, your project in scrum wouldn’t get disturbed but with Kanban, if a team member leaves during development, it would affect your project considerably.

6. Scrum requires experienced people so, if you’re working with beginners, your project might face a lot of issues. Kanban has a different issue here. It doesn’t give specific timeframes for every phase so your team wouldn’t have an idea of how much time they would have to spend in every phase of your project.

7. Scrum keeps the total cost of the project as minimum as possible, allowing you to get cheaper results. With Kanban, if your estimate turns out to be wrong, your project cost can shoot up substantially.

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8. Scrum facilitates proper communication and performance. However, with Kanban, your team would find it easier to achieve their goals because of its focus on visuals.

9. Scrum can adapt to market changes because it allows you to create short sprints and work according to the received feedback. Kanban is not as adaptive as Scrum is. Considerable changes in demand can cause its projects to fail very easily.

10. In Scrum, the scrum master is the primary problem solver. In Kanban, every team member shares responsibility as it views every one of them as a leader.

11. Scrum focuses heavily on scheduling. So, you can’t add new things to a running iteration. Kanban doesn’t have specific timeframes, so you can add new things to the iterations whenever possible.

12. Scrum is perfect for projects whose priorities change frequently or are variable. Kanban is suitable for projects with stable priorities that wouldn’t change.

13. Under Scrum, you’d measure the production through velocity whereas, in Kanban, you would measure production through cycle time.

14. You determine the deliverables by sprints in Scrum. On the other hand, you deliver products continuously in Kanban.

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Also Read: Agile Methodology Vs Scrum Methodology.

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Difference between Scrum board vs Kanban board

While discussing the difference between Scrum and Kanban, we must consider the difference between their boards.

  • Scrum boards have sprints, each with its start and stop dates. Since Kanban is a continuous process, there are no pre-defined dates, as there is no date-based planning. 
  • The team leader handles the Scrum board, be it the Scrum master, manager, and so on, since the team roles are defined for all. The entire team owns the Kanban board, so they can make changes, deliver tasks, and collaborate accordingly. There are no pre-defined roles.
  • A Scrum board is wiped and reused after each sprint during a single project. Since Kanban is ongoing, the board is used till the project’s end.
  • Scrum operates using strict deadlines and pre-established tasks, which can be seen on the Scrum board, and there is little to no flexibility. On the other hand, Kanban boards are much more flexible since the timelines and tasks can be updated, reprioritized and reassigned as per the team’s needs.

Kanban vs Scrum: When to Choose What?

These tips should make it easier for you to choose the most suitable project management framework.

When to Choose Kanban?

If you are already working on a project and do not want to redo the entire work or make major changes, Kanban is better since it can easily merge with the pre-existing processes, including Scrum and will offer you the benefits of incorporating an Agile technique.

Studies have shown adopting Kanban increases productivity, improves the speed of delivery, enhances visibility and establishes continuous improvement in organizations.

When to Choose Scrum?

You should go with Scrum if you work in industries that are prone to change, develop new products, release regular technology updates, or if projects depend on feedback and need the space to incorporate them. The short sprints will help you adapt to frequent changes properly.

Project managers choose Scrum to take on complex projects. The technique has also been proven to drive faster delivery, higher quality, increased productivity and lower costs. 

Try Using Scrumban

If you cannot settle on one of the two, you can combine both to create Scrumban. It is a technique that uses Kanban visualization tools and the processes of Scrum to tackle projects. Research has shown 81% of Scrum Masters use Scrumban. Scrumban is a good choice if your team is familiar with at least one of the project management techniques and wants to incorporate the other to boost progress.


Kanban vs Scrum is quite a notable topic. However, with a clear understanding of the two, you can see how both of them have their distinct strengths and weaknesses.

Some projects are better suited for Kanban while some are for Scrum. In the end, it all comes down to the specific requirements of the project and the team.

We hope that you liked our article on the difference between Kanban and Scrum. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know through the comment section below.

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Overall, Agile practices/methods help create environments where the requirements are continually evolving and changing. Through a disciplined project-management approach, Agile methodology promotes and pushes the delivery of high-quality software that is aligned with customer needs.

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Explore more about the Agile software development, check out upGrad’s Executive PG Program in Full Stack Software Development Course.


Rohan Vats

Blog Author
Software Engineering Manager @ upGrad. Passionate about building large scale web apps with delightful experiences. In pursuit of transforming engineers into leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is Agile Development?

Agile development is a software development methodology with a set of values, principles, and practices. The values are: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Teamwork over contract negotiation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Working software over comprehensive documentation Responding to change over following a plan The principles and practices include: Business people and developers must work together daily to make sure the software is built the way the customer wants. Iterative development is used to build the software in series of short development cycles with review and evaluation at the end of each cycle. Requirements and design are continually reviewed and refined. Only working software is delivered at the end of the development cycle.

2What is Scrum?

Agile frameworks are an integral part of developing complex software. They serve as a common language for everyone involved in the development process. The Agile frameworks include Extreme programming, Scrum, Crystal and Feature Driven Development among others. Scrum is a framework within which knowledge workers of all kinds (software engineers, architects, project managers, business analysts, etc.) can address complex adaptive problems. It is a framework that tries to be more empirical than other frameworks. Scrum is a 'buzzword'. Many people use the label Scrum but do not actually follow the Scrum framework. When we talk about Agile frameworks, we are talking about a set of processes, mostly practices, methodologies and tools.

3What are the differences Kanban and Scrum?

Kanban primarily focuses on how to implement the software development process and how to limit the work in progress. Scrum framework focuses on how to improve the software development process and how to manage the team. The software development process is the same for both the methodologies. The 3 main differences between Kanban and scrum is that Kanban is a methodology and scrum is a framework, Kanban primarily focuses on how to implement the software development process and how to limit the work in progress, and Scrum framework focuses on how to improve the software development process and how to manage the team.