A Scrum Primer for Kanban Teams

By Steve Porter

naturalpastels / Pixabay

All you need to know to improve your Kanban using Scrum

Continuing to Build Bridges

Continuing our series about the bridge connecting the Scrum and Kanban world, today Yuval Yeret is joining us again. As a reminder, Yuval is known as “Mr Kanban Israel” for his work helping establish a strong Kanban community with several enterprise product developments in the “Startup Nation.” Today, he leads the Scaled Agile practice and North America consulting services at AgileSparks, a global Agile consulting firm.Yuval and AgileSparks have been bridging Scrum and Kanban in the trenches for several years.

Yuval Yeret

Yuval Yeret

The view from the Kanban side of the bridge

Picture yourself on the Kanban side of the shore looking at the Scrum world across the bay. What is actually going on there on the other side and how can you take advantage of some of it to improve your world? What is more or less the same, but just spoken in different terms/language? And, are there real unbridgeable differences?

As you review the list of Scrum practices, you will probably recognize areas of alignment, practices that are complementary, and practices that feel unnatural in a Kanban context:

  • Areas of Alignment – Some Scrum aspects align fairly closely with Kanban principles, even if they are slightly different in the way they are practiced.
  • Complementary – Some Scrum aspects are complementary to a Kanban environment. Some of you are already using many of those aspects because they are a natural fit and have become part of de-facto Kanban practice.
  • Unnatural Aspects – A few Scrum principles/practices may not feel natural to Kanban practitioners.

Definition of Scrum

Let’s start with a high-level definition of Scrum before we dive into the specifics of how to apply it on top of your Kanban. The Scrum Guide defines Scrum as a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. I highly recommend reading the entire Scrum Guide whether you intend to implement Scrum or not.


Successful use of Scrum depends on people becoming proficient in living according to these five values:

  • Commitment
  • Courage
  • Focus
  • Openness
  • Respect

These values build a foundation of trust, which is required to bring the Scrum pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation to life. The Scrum values are beneficial to have in most contexts, including when practicing Kanban. Let’s take a concrete, grounded look at following Scrum values in the context of using Kanban.

Scrum Aspect Short Description How to apply to Kanban
Commitment People personally commit to doing their best to achieve the goals of the Scrum Team. Be committed to using Kanban to improve your performance towards delivering a continuous flow of value in a way that is sustainable.
Courage The Scrum Team members have the courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems. You might say Kanban isn’t about courage because it is evolutionary and doesn’t require many changes. However, if you have tried Limiting Work In Process, Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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