How is Kanban different from SCRUM?

Kanban and SCRUM are two very popular systems that many facilities are adopting to try to facilitate improvement in their production or other areas of operation. While both have many benefits associated with them, and even many similarities in terms of the goals that they work to accomplish, there are also some key differences that a company needs to be aware of before choosing which will be right for them.

The Role of the Team

When using Kanban, there are no set roles for your team members. Instead, you simply implement a particular set of strategies related to how to make sure proper inventory levels are maintained. Employees will have responsibilities related to this, but there aren’t any titles or names associated with those responsibilities.

SCRUM, on the other hand, assigns a SCRUM Master, a Product Owner, and Team Members to make up a team. This team is assigned to plan, implement, and ensure the success of a given SCRUM project within the facility.

Scheduling & Cadence

When using the Kanban methodology there are no set time boxes or iterations. Instead, it uses continuous improvement strategies to spot waste and other problems and address them as efficiently as possible. This is more of an evolution within the facility than a set roadmap.

With SCRUM, however, there is an emphasis on planning out ‘story points’ that have prioritized events along the way. It is an iterative process that allows a facility to produce accurate estimates of a given work flow as well as managing multiple projects at one time without significant issues.

Kanban & SCRUM Boards

Both Kanban and SCRUM use boards to help facilitate their success, but the way they are used is quite different. SCRUM boards have columns that have labels to help identify reflect periods along the work flow. This begins with any type of backlog that is present, and ends when the team accomplishes their set goals. Kanban, on the other hand, has a set maximum number of ‘stories’ that can be present within any one column at any given time. This helps to ensure the teams are able to determine the goals and get them accomplished with the continuous improvement strategy.

Which is Right for You

Both Kanban and SCRUM are effective strategies that have a lot to offer almost any facility. Some facilities even use both options to accomplish different goals. Take some time to weigh out the pros and cons for each situation and choose which one will work best for your facility.


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