How can Scrumban make you more agile?

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We know Scrum and Kanban as flavors of Agile methods. Scrum is best suited for product and development projects. Kanban is better for production support.

Scrumban is an Agile development methodology that is a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban. Scrumban is becoming very popular in the service industries where we have development and maintenance projects.

The union of Scrum and Kanban brings the best version of both methodologies. At first, the activities of now are taken into account along with the search for continuous improvement, as Scrum brings in its essence.

However, Scrumban doesn’t stop there. Kanban contributes to the way of visually organizing processes, establishing deadlines, and monitoring the ongoing workflow.

In this article, you will learn what is Scrumban and how it fits your organization to be more agile. And GitScrum has a perfect combination for you to work with this tool using its best features!

What is Scrumban?

Created by Corey Ladas, Scrumban is a methodology that joins the processes of the two others mentioned to create a Scrum application process with the visualization and control of Kanban.

Scrum is an agile methodology that proposes the following actions:

  • Division of work into lean teams, which can be multidisciplinary or specialized;
  • Organization of short term objective deliveries, the sprints;
  • Discussion of sprints for quick and effective improvements.

The secret to project optimization is using an agile method. The Scrum framework, for example, is a method used for project management, based on software development, which benefits the company and customers with agility and flexibility in its development.

Kanban, on the other hand, can be synthesized through the following topics:

  • Focus on ongoing workflow development, WIP (Work In Progress);
  • Quality control and project evolution through clear and quantitative metrics.

Scrum is an iterative, prescriptive process that uses the Agile methodology.

  • Small, cross-functional, and self-organized teams
  • The work is divided into a list of small concrete deliverables
  • A list by priority is sorted and the relative effort of each item is estimated.
  • Time is divided into short iterations of fixed duration (sprints, typically 2 to 4 weeks), with potentially usable code demonstrated after each iteration.
  • Based on the information obtained by inspecting the release after each iteration, the release plan is optimized and priorities updated in collaboration with the customer
  • A retrospective is done after each iteration.

Kanban is a signaling methodology for operation flow control.

  • The work is divided into cards and placed on a panel.
  • Named columns are used to illustrate where each item is in the workflow.
  • Work in process or work in process is limited by assigning explicit limits to how many items can be in progress in each state of the workflow.
  • Lead time (average time to complete an item, sometimes called “cycle time”) is measured and the process is optimized to make the lead time as short and predictable as possible.

Why combine the two methodologies?

Using Scrumban is a way to create a pull system focused on increasing productivity, without neglecting the quality of services and products. Despite being an agile methodology, it also brings together several aspects of production control and therefore tends to continuous improvement.

Thus, Scrumban allows the development team to be able to work in shorter times:

1) Processes based on clear and effective metrics;
2) Lead time reduction;
3) Facilitating monitoring and continuous improvement;
4) Possibility of sprint validations;
5) Monitoring of tasks and their stages of development.
6) Given all these advantages, it’s time to understand when and how to use Scrumban in your daily life. 

How and when to use Scrumban?

Despite being an easily adaptable methodology for most projects, Scrumban has some major advantages over processes that involve:

  • Project maintenance and control;
  • Support of a project;
  • Management of projects that historically generate failures;
  • Development of new products and services with short deliveries and validations;
  • Activities that develop the continuous improvement of existing processes.
  • Thinking about these situations, it is easy to see that Scrumban follows from the idealization of a project to the final deliveries and their periodic improvements.

Another important point is the fact that Scrumban is suitable for teams that do not yet have as much experience with agile methodologies or in processes that generate a lot of failures. After all, it is very difficult for us to follow a closed sprint schedule.

Advantages of Scrumban

  • Quality
  • Just-in-time (decisions and facts just when they are needed)
  • Short delivery time
  • Kaizen (continuous improvement)
  • Minimization of waste (anything that does not add value to the customer)
  • Process improvement, adding some Scrum values as and when needed

When to consider Scrumban

  • Maintenance projects
  • Event-oriented work, such as help desk/support or in the packaging phase
  • Projects with frequent and unexpected user stories or programming errors
  • Teams focused on new product development
  • Work before sprint development (backlog, research, and development)
  • Work after sprint development (testing, packaging, and system deployment)
  • If Scrum has workflow, resource, and process issues
  • Manage improvement communities during/after you start using Scrum

Differences between Scrumban and Kanban

In general, you can notice the differences between Scrumban and Kanban in many ways. After all, the basis of the first methodology is more like Scrum than Kanban.

Among these differences, it is possible to list some main ones:

  • Kanban does not have roles established in teams, while Scrumban must have the team and roles necessary for the development of the project;
  • Scrumban has planned sprints, while Kanban does not formalize periodic meetings in the methodology;
  • Kanban focuses only on specialized teams, whereas Scrumban can have multidisciplinary groups;
  • While both methodologies have continuous workflows, Scrumban focuses on limiting concurrent activities.

Differences between Scrumban and Scrum

The first difference between Scrumban and Scrum is related to the roles of the collaborators on each team. In the first methodology, they can be diverse, while in the second they are divided into only three categories: product owner, scrum master, and development team.

In addition, Scrum has necessarily multidisciplinary teams, while its union with Kanban also makes room for the union of professionals specialized in the same theme.

Another important point is the fact that Scrumban allows processes to be more dynamic and flexible, giving space for the workflow to be continuous and focused mainly on what is being performed at present.

Scrum, on the other hand, has stricter flow characteristics. After all, the methodology is based only on what was planned and instituted sprints.

Does Scrumban work? 

Kanban is compatible with Scrum mechanics, the project management method. Adding WIP (work-in-process) and visualization to Scrum (ie Scrumban) helps improve Sprint effectiveness.

Scrumban is an interesting alternative for teams in transition from a low maturity with agile methodologies, in addition to those who have difficulty in “closing sprints”, due to frequent unexpected stories input, high uncertainty environments, and maintenance or support projects.

With this scenario, introducing some points of Kanban, such as workflow visualization, limitation of work in progress (WIP), and also continuous work (pulled), can bring the necessary confidence for the team to develop towards greater maturity in agile development.

However, it is noteworthy that many product teams (especially those in fast-changing environments) do not need to follow agile methods to the letter because, in some cases, it “sticks the team” rather than speeds up. In this case, many stay on Scrumban for serving their needs very well.

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