Kanban or Scrum?
TL;DR Which should I use, Kanban or Scrum? Use Scrum when you need to accurately estimate how long development will take. Use Kanban when you have a running list of work and don’t need to see the finish line.
The great thing about Scrum projects is that when you do them right, you’ll be able to accurately estimate when you will complete the work. You can easily see how scope creep changes the estimated finish time. Scrum is a well-defined Agile process with three specific roles, a built-in release cycle, and mechanisms to change and improve the process itself.
Typically you will want to use Scrum when you have multiple team members with the same roles and general capabilities. For instance, having several front-end and several back-end developers will let you share work between them, resulting in better estimates.
Point your stories the right way (more on that in a future post), stick to your calculated velocities, and you’ll end up with good data that tells you when you’ll reach the finish line.
In a Kanban project, you don’t have the overhead of planning meetings, and often don’t have retrospectives or daily standups. I recommend at least having a retrospective every couple of weeks so that you can look back on the work and the processes, adjusting them to remove blockers and speed bumps. I also recommend at least a Slack or Teams standup post if not an actual meeting.
Kanban is well suited to continuous deployment engineering. Since you don’t have a specific release cadence, then you should be pushing your updates to at least a development or QA environment as you finish each ticket. Use feature flags judiciously so that production releases don’t expose half-finished features.
If you aren’t using CICD, then add some tickets into your Kanban board that indicate release points. All the tickets above will be some feature that you are working toward, and all the tickets below will be feature flag hidden for production releases. This gives you a feature-based release cadence rather than the sprint theme-based release cadence.
Kicking Off A Project?
Contact us at Five Pack and we’ll help you set your project up for success, whether you use Scrum or Kanban. You can sign up for a Launch Lab to help define your project, get a good time and money estimate, and walk away with well-defined epics, stories and designs that you can use with Five Pack or any other development house.
We can also come alongside your team and demonstrate great story writing and Scrum or Kanban processes, managing your project entirely or just helping to train your team. Complete this form to start the conversation.
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About the author
Matt truly is a developer’s developer, having worked on hundreds of projects since his programming career started in 1982. His deep knowledge of multiple technologies led him to work for companies such as TAASC, Cartera Commerce, and Intuit, where he was a founding architect of the company’s innovation lab. On top of being Five Pack’s Chief Innovation Officer, Matt is a certified Scrum Product Owner, holds 14 patents, and is our resident mariner.