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Kanban vs. Scrum: Which Agile Framework Should You Use?

Compare Kanban and Scrum to find the best agile framework for your team's needs in this brief, insightful guide.

February 24, 2024 by Maria Garcia

Agile methodologies have become the cornerstone for teams striving to improve their workflow and productivity. Among the plethora of Agile frameworks available, Kanban and Scrum stand out as two of the most popular and widely adopted methods. While both aim to enhance project management and execution, they differ significantly in their approach, structure, and flexibility. This blog post delves into the key features of Kanban and Scrum, providing insights to help you decide which framework best suits your team’s needs.

Understanding Scrum

Scrum is a structured framework that organizes work into fixed-length iterations called Sprints, typically lasting two to four weeks. The Scrum framework is designed around three primary roles: the Product Owner, who defines the project goals; the Scrum Master, who facilitates the process and addresses obstacles; and the Development Team, who execute the work. Scrum emphasizes planning, scheduling, and delivering work in small, shippable increments, with frequent reassessments and adjustments through regular meetings like Daily Stand-ups, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective.

Pros of Scrum:

  • Structured Process: Scrum provides a clear structure and set of roles, making it easier for teams to organize and manage their work.
  • Regular Deliverables: The Sprint cycle ensures regular deliveries, making it easier to track progress and make iterative improvements.
  • Team Collaboration: Regular meetings foster better communication and collaboration within the team.

Cons of Scrum:

  • Less Flexibility: Due to its structured nature, making changes mid-Sprint can be challenging.
  • Overhead: The various roles and meetings required in Scrum can add administrative overhead.

Exploring Kanban

Kanban is a more flexible Agile framework that focuses on visualizing the entire project on a Kanban board, allowing teams to see the status of every piece of work at any time. It operates on the principles of visual management, limiting work in progress (WIP), and flow. Unlike Scrum, Kanban does not have fixed iterations. Instead, work items are continuously pulled from the backlog as soon as there is capacity to start new tasks, aiming for a steady flow of work through the development process.

Pros of Kanban:

  • Flexibility: Kanban allows for changes to be made at any time, making it easier to adapt to new information or priorities.
  • Continuous Delivery: Work is delivered continuously, which can lead to faster completion of individual tasks.
  • Reduced Overhead: Without the fixed roles and regular meetings required in Scrum, Kanban can be simpler to adopt and maintain.

Cons of Kanban:

  • Less Predictability: Without fixed iterations, it can be harder to predict when work will be completed.
  • Requires Discipline: The lack of structured meetings and roles means that Kanban requires a high level of discipline and self-organization from the team.

Which Framework Should You Use?

The decision between Kanban and Scrum should be based on your team’s specific needs, the nature of the project, and the working style of your team members. Here are some considerations to guide your choice:

  • Project Complexity and Size: Scrum is often better suited for complex projects that can benefit from the structure and regularity it provides. Kanban, on the other hand, may be more suitable for simpler or ongoing maintenance projects where flexibility is key.
  • Team Size and Composition: Scrum works well with dedicated teams focused on the same project, while Kanban can be more effective for smaller or more fluid teams.
  • Change Frequency: If your project requirements change frequently, Kanban’s flexibility might be more advantageous. For projects with stable requirements, Scrum’s structured approach can help keep the team focused and on track.
  • Delivery Expectations: If continuous delivery is important, Kanban’s flow-based approach can facilitate a steady stream of completed work. For projects where deliverables are expected at intervals, Scrum’s sprint-based delivery can provide a predictable schedule.


Ultimately, the choice between Kanban and Scrum is not about which framework is better, but which is more suited to your project’s needs and your team’s working style. Some teams even adopt a hybrid approach, combining elements of both Kanban and Scrum to tailor a methodology that best fits their requirements. Regardless of the framework you choose, the goal is to enhance efficiency, improve collaboration, and deliver value to your customers more effectively.

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