Deciding to implement Agile methodologies is a major step for any software development team. It is a great way to improve the existing workflows and completely revamp the internal processes. The Agile framework also provides a way to change the company culture and help employees keep up with the quickly changing market. There are many approaches for implementing Agile principles and although by definition the method is less structured, there are tools that can help teams make sense of the practical side of things. One such tool is Kanban software that makes the cultural transition much smoother and creates a more traditional approach to the framework.
Scrum and Kanban project management software are the most widely known techniques used for Agile software development. Although most professionals may have heard of the concept, many do not know how to use it for everyday activities. There is an easy way for them to get started and overcome the challenges associated with decision-making. They should know how to choose between both tools based on the implementation process, applications, and other factors. This article outlines the methods to help managers make the decision.
This method is rooted in the Lean methodology and uses the principles of Just-In time manufacturing. Kanban software was originally used as an inventory control system by Japanese companies. It has evolved to become a tool that promotes improvement in all production industries by streamlining various processes. In simpler terms, it is a visual tool for process management and introduces the idea of continuous improvement in increments.
Kanban helps teams visualize, monitor, and manage their workflows for software development. It is not a process framework but a tool for managing resources. The Kanban software is based on virtual cardboard with columns that represent specific stages of work. The board has multiple cards which represent pieces of work at each stage of the workflow. In the software development environment, these columns can be used to categorize tasks based on their status i.e. pending, in progress, awaiting verification, and complete.
Kanban boards can be customized according to the company’s work environment. There are also horizontal rows that can further segment tasks according to their characteristics. It is easier for managers to filter work and monitor specific items. They can sort the actionable tasks based on the assigned team member, nature of the task, or other characteristics which help improve tracking and communication.
The main advantage of using Kanban software is that it removes bottlenecks and allows teams to manage their capacity. Team leads can set limits on each column and set deadlines wherever necessary. The boards also help ensure that all members are functioning at full capacity and workload distribution is equitable. The team resources should be properly utilized and not overwhelmed with too many tasks.
Meetings can be scheduled directly from the board to analyze any weaknesses in the processes. Coworkers can discuss each stage of the workflow using the visual aides and find out what they need to do to make improvements. Kanban project management software is the best tool for resource planning and it also increases transparency among teams. Each developer can focus on work quality and take measures to take it to a higher standard.
Scrum is a well-defined framework for process management and it is the alternative to Kanban software. With this methodology, teams use short fixed-length iterations to complete a goal. These are called sprints in the local terminology. They are also used as the basic unit for work in a cross-functional team. Scrum advises everyone that has adopted the practice to set up a self-organizing team.
The use of such self-sufficient teams with cross-functionalities makes the Scrum method more Agile and quickly responds to change. The Scrum environment does not provide a complete or detailed explanation of the steps users should take. It encourages teams to come up with their problem-solving methods instead. Members from various disciplines work together to reduce the frequency of handover in a project.
When problems arise, such as the client has changed their mind about the software requirements, the team members can quickly adapt to the changes. They can discuss the details in person and come up with the most fruitful solution for implementing changes. The product backlog has several priorities and it collects the requirements in the form of stories. Sprint backlogs use the documentation to set up an elaborate sprint planning and meeting schedule.
An appointed Scrum Master supports the entire group and coaches them through all phases of development. They are supposed to facilitate work and unlike a product, owners choose a goal-oriented point of view. The customer or end-user’s perspective is very important for Scrum. It focuses on planning iterations, conducting sprint review meetings, and organizing daily standup conversations to help the team remain focused on aligning towards their goal. They can incorporate feedback into the process after each separate iteration.
Kanban or Scrum?
The choice might not be obvious to those who are not familiar with the techniques but Scrum and Kanban are two entirely different techniques. While they do target the same goals and share similar values, they cannot be used to replace one another. Many teams choose a combination of both frameworks to achieve their development goals and a hybrid model of the method is referred to as Scrumban.
If a development team has processes in place that work well but require some tweaking then Kanban software would be the ideal choice. The practice helps teams gradually work towards their goals by optimizing their existing processes. But if the team is stuck in a slump and needs a fundamental change in their workflow to get back up then they should choose Scrum. It is the best way to improve efficiency across the board.
There are more reasons as to why and how Kanban project management software or Scrum can help teams achieve their goals. Each method has its pros and cons but this should give you a fair idea of both.