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Kanban Vs Scrum

 
amit punekar
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Hello,
Welcome to the Java Ranch and congratulations on your new book.

I am interested to know your opinion comparing Kanban against Scrum. We have been using Kanban for sometime now and it seems to me a more naturally aligned process to do things than Scrum. But it seems everybody these days is after Scrum.
If you can point me to real-world examples that you might have come across, it will be more helpful.

Regards,
Amit
 
Burk Hufnagel
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Amit,
If you haven't already seen it, you may want to check out this thread where Marcus answered a similar question. Basically, he said that Kanban is a great tool that works with agile methodologies instead of replacing them.

Hoping this helps,
Burk
 
Marcus Hammarberg
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Hi Amit,

and thank you for those gratulations.
Being a bit off-hours here for me (and probably for you as well) this answer comes in late. Hope you don't mind.

Yes, Burk pointed you to a thread where we brushed on the topic.

Kanban is really just a process for processes. That is a tool that helps you and your team improve regardless of your current process.
Scrum is an excellent starting point but due to different reasons many team feel that Scrum doesn't always fit to the way that they need to work. Then the principles of kanban can guide you towards another way of working that might suit you better.

For me the biggest differences between Scrum and kanban is that Scrum is iteration-based with the sprints being the center of the delivery cycle. In kanban there's nothing like that and we instead focus on flow for the individual work items. So there's no starting and stopping but just a continuous flow of work. That gives you more flexibility but can also be a bit daunting to manage. Where's the start? When are we done? How far have we come? Questions like that can be harder to answer in kanban.

We have some sections on this in our book (chapter 9 on planning and chapter 12 on kanban pitfalls). I would also recommend our good friend Henrik Knibergs pdf on the topic: Scrum vs Kanban http://www.infoq.com/minibooks/kanban-scrum-minibook that is a great resource and contrast the two viewpoints.

Our book is better of course ;) Kidding aside our book is a introduction to kanban and it's principles. It doesn't talk to much about kanban vs scrum (or any other method for that matter), but rather tries to help you start using the kanban principles to guide you towards a better future.
 
Burk Hufnagel
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Marcus Hammarberg wrote:For me the biggest differences between Scrum and kanban is that Scrum is iteration-based with the sprints being the center of the delivery cycle. In kanban there's nothing like that and we instead focus on flow for the individual work items. So there's no starting and stopping but just a continuous flow of work. That gives you more flexibility but can also be a bit daunting to manage. Where's the start? When are we done? How far have we come? Questions like that can be harder to answer in kanban.


Marcus,
I hadn't considered that before, but that makes perfect sense to me. I remember reading something about Kanban coming out of a conveyor belt/production environment, It's what my wife (the chemical engineer) would call a continuous process, because once it starts up you don't want it to stop, OTOH, something like Scrum with its sprints would be considered a batch process where there's a natural beginning and end. Makes sense that there's some friction between the two.

Thanks!
 
amit punekar
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Thanks a lot for sharing your opinion. I completely agree to what you have said.
Moreover in my personal opinion, I felt Kanban more efficient to complete the work. It is less strict than Scrum with respect to the work to be included on the wall. I think Kanban is appropriate once you have framework ready and you want to churn more and more of the similar work out. Scrum, I believe sometimes is too strict about pulling in extra work if you have finished the stuff. But certainly Scrum can provide more metrics than Kanban ( as far as my little experience goes about these) which is what senior mgmt or stakeholders are looking for.

Regards,
Amit
 
Burk Hufnagel
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Amit,
Good point about pulling in more work during a sprint. I've wondered how that worked - especially for teams just starting out -- where the team's velocity isn't really known, or the estimate for a task was say too big. You don't want to sit there doing nothing so unless there's a groomed backlog and you can pick a prioritized story that fits the time left, what do you do?

Burk
 
amit punekar
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Hello,
I think for team just starting Scrum, more time would go in preparing the Acceptance Criteria for the groomed Backlog. ( Here I assume that groomed Backlog are just the plain user stories produced by Product Owner). Hence team (QA + DEV + BA) has to sit down and write the Acceptance criteria for the stories which will end up in their utilization.
As soon as we have these AC Done items, they are ready for writing Tests (JUnit or Gherkin ) and hence QA+DEV gets busy with that.
Regards,
Amit
 
Burk Hufnagel
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Amit,
Thanks for the information.
I appreciate it,
Burk
 
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