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What is Kanban?

There seems to be a disjointed view of reprioritization within the agile SCRUM world. In reality; SCRUM cannot usually work with late breaking additions to the work stream without the addition of KANBAN principles which can sit on top of SCRUM as a means of governance as well as prioritization.

Kanban with Scrum (Scrumban) evolved to meet the needs of teams wanting to minimize the batching of work and adopt a pull-based system. A hybrid of Scrum and Kanban gives teams the flexibility to adapt and change to stakeholder and production needs, without feeling overburdened by their project methodology. Scrumban provides the structure of Scrum with the flexibility and visualization of Kanban, making it a highly versatile approach to workflow management.

It offers teams a healthy, familiar way of learning how to practice continuous improvement in Kanban without abandoning the familiar structure of Scrum. It also combines the structure of Scrum with the flow-based methods of Kanban.

KANBAN provides the following benefits:

  • Pull system and continuous workflow: pull items from the backlog into Doing as the team has capacity
  • Explicit limits on how many items are in progress at any time
  • Individual roles not clearly specified – everyone is a stake holder
  • Short lead times -- emphasize just-in-time analysis and planning (rather than batch-processing for iteration planning estimations). Reduce the number of meetings that are required which allow people to get on with development
  • Use process buffers and flow diagrams to expose process weaknesses and identify opportunities for improvement
  • Focus more on cycle time than burndown (if cycle time is predictable, burndown is predictable)
  • Use policies to make process step transitions clearer
  • Lean development

 Here are the elements of Scrum that are incorporated with KANBAN:

  • Iteration planning at regular intervals, synchronized with reviews and retrospectives
  • Decide how much work they can pull into the sprint based on the complexity of the work and the length of the sprint (prefill the sprint backlog)
  • Prioritization on demand -- provides team with the best thing to work on next -- no more or less
  • Assure necessary level of analysis before starting development (Definition of Ready)
  • Use “ready” queue (between Backlog and Doing) to organize
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