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Software Development Tools: Scrum and Kanban

“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” ― Thomas Edison, inventor

Be it an automotive manufacturing company or a software development company, thorough planning towards the goal is one of the key factors required to develop an excellent quality product that satisfies customer requirements.
Agile and Waterfall are two different approaches to a software development process. Today, most companies have started using the Agile methodology for their software development process instead of the traditional waterfall model. Companies started discarding the Waterfall model from their process because it does not allow revision of iterations compared to Agile methodology.
Scrum and kanban are the frameworks of Agile methodology with similar principles and results, yet they are different in structure and management approach. Let’s see the differences between them and which one is better to implement.

Agile is an umbrella term for different frameworks. It majorly includes planning, design, coding, and testing. There is an Agile board that helps in showcasing the progress of the tasks that are to be implemented in a particular sprint. The major advantage of such planning is that it adds predictability to the process which is one of the important factors to build trust and transparency with the customers. Fig.1 shows the overview of Agile Methodology and the flow of work within Scrum and Kanban. Let’s get a brief idea about Scrum and Kanban.

Fig. 1 Overview of Agile Methodology

Its basic idea revolves around short sprints. Sprint is the time taken to produce a functioning piece of software. Generally, sprints comprise one to four weeks. It requires proper planning based on the list of tasks. Scrum master is the key factor of this process. He/she is not a team leader but is responsible for removing the hurdles on the way to deliver the assigned tasks. The tasks need to be broken properly into tickets such that each member can contribute and add value to the work. There is a sprint planning meeting at the start of the sprint and a sprint retrospective at the end of the sprint.

As shown in the above figure, the progress can be tracked through the Scrum board for the respective sprint as the tickets move from the product backlog to the final release stage. Once the ticket is completed it remains in the Done column. At the end of the sprint, all the tickets that are done, are released. If there is any new requirement from the customer, then it goes to the product backlog and again the same process takes place till are the tickets are done.

Kanban is similar to Scrum with few differences. In Kanban, there is an Agile Coach. There is no specific sprint or time frame to complete a particular set of tickets. Every member of the development team picks up tickets and starts working on them. Each column on the Kanban board has a Work In Progress (WIP) limit.

The aim is to have control over the amount of work that enters and leaves the process to speed up the delivery. Cooperation between QA engineers and the other team members is required. High involvement of the team is necessary for Kanban. Hence tickets move faster to the Done column and are released as soon as they are done as shown in the below above figure.

It is suitable where the team size is usually 3–9 members. The product owner and the client set the rules, the Scrum Master is the coach, while the developers are assigned responsibilities. Scrum aims at simplicity and productivity.

Kanban is designed to cope up with changing requirements. It mainly focuses on continuous delivery without setting strict rules. Several teams work independently on specific tasks placed on the kanban board.

These are just the ideologies behind scrum and kanban. One can even make a hybrid model out of that depending upon the requirements and the type of project. Hence whatever method you pick, make sure you get all the value. Iterating and rephrasing the approach over time can help in improving and gaining higher success!