Scrum vs kanban

Scrum vs Kanban in Agile

Lots of people have had asked me this question. So I decided to write this article to clarify/simplify this topic.

Scrum and Kanban are the best-known of many Agile software development frameworks and also commonly used by Agile teams all over the world. They have so much in common and also have some significant fundamental differences too.

See some important differences below:


Scrum:  Works in a series of iterations/Sprints of 1,2 (most common) 3 or 4 weeks duration

Kanban:  Is a continues process, measured in terms of Cycle times.


Scrum: Each sprint based on the Backlog.

Kanban: Done by Workflow/Work item/Kanban card


Scrum: It is the job of the Scrum Master to help the product owner, the development team to develop and maintain good habits

Kanban: It is the job of the Agile Coach (if present – not all Kanban teams have one) to help the Product Owner and the Development Team to develop and maintain good habits.


Scrum: No changes during Sprint execution.

Kanban: At any moment.


Scrum: Done in batches – Each Sprint starts with a Sprint Planning Meeting – facilitated by the Scrum Master and attended by the Product Owner and the Development Team and (optionally) other Stakeholders. Together they select high priority items from the Product Backlog that the Development Team can commit to delivering in a single Sprint. The selected items are known as the Sprint Backlog.

Kanban: Based on single-threaded work item flows – Pulled directly from product backlog


Scrum: Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Sprint retrospective

Kanban: Daily Stand up, Demo, Retrospective


Scrum: Product is released on a particular cadence, which is determined by the length of the sprint. Typical, at the end of each sprint.

Kanban: Release occurs continuously, or whenever there is a shippable product created

 Ideal usage?

Scrum: is ideal when a team has a strict deadline to meet in finishing the project. As much as possible, the Scrum team sets the scope and limits the changes during sprints to meet the deliverable. The structure puts to mind how to handle and limit unexpected changes to avoid disrupting the incremental work delivery.

Kanban: is ideal if dates aren’t set in stone. Due to its flexible nature, there isn’t a regular schedule to follow nor predetermined due dates. Updates will only be given when things are accomplished accordingly. Unlike Scrum, which requires a release milestone for every sprint, Kanban allows leeway in terms of project completion schedule. Very common in business and operations team.

Understanding these differences is very important to choose the right tool that will work best for your project.