Scrumban is an Agile method of management that is a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban, both of which are Lean manufacturing principles. Agile methods traditionally apply to software development, and they encourage teamwork, communication, and accountability. Rather than implementing in-depth planning as a project begins, they adopt changing requirements as time goes on.

Originally, Scrumban was utilized as a way to help organizations make the transition from Scrum to Kanban, but over the years it has developed into its own practice. Essentially, Scrumban aims to be the best of both worlds. The method takes bits and pieces from both Scrum and Kanban and is mainly used in maintenance and development projects. Development teams use Scrumban to manage their development process from start to finish, while maintenance teams use it to help conduct repairs and updates.

Scrum is a Lean method that was first used in software development. It serves as a guide for teams to carry out a process with defined roles and tasks. Undertaking a process is deemed a “sprint”, which occurs over several weeks. Daily meetings are conducted to make sure that workers are completing their tasks according to schedule. Scrum takes its name from the game of rugby; a “scrum” is a method of restarting the play with players packed closely together and their heads down.

Kanban is a separate Lean method that differs from Scrum mainly in that it is not conducted in short periods of time but rather operates continuously. There is no beginning or end; instead, every successful project or development is followed by another one. “Kanban” is a Japanese word that means sign/signboard, and this method is a scheduling system that incorporates visual cues to trigger action. It aims to meet demand while also eliminating downtime, overproduction, and inefficiency.

Scrumban utilizes the following from Scrum:

  • Daily meetings are conducted
  • A definite team is established
  • Implementing a “feature freeze”—a cut-off time where additional features or changes can’t be added due to a deadline approaching
  • It is critical for the project manager to determine which essential features must be completed first

Scrumban utilizes the following from Kanban:

  • The fundamental approach of a continuous process; no time constraint
  • Roles are as needed (not pre-defined as in Scrum)
  • Relies on a visual board for maintaining workflow and communication
  • Change is responded to instantaneously rather than put on hold for the next project (except in the case of a feature freeze)
  • Lead time (time between a customer request to delivery) and cycle time (from the beginning of work to delivery) are key metrics adopted from Kanban

Kanban and Scrum both have their pros and cons, and many companies have found that implementing Scrumban as the middle ground is the best way to achieve success and efficiency.


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