Scrumban Explained - Definition, Examples and Process


What is Scrumban?

There's a name for the mix of Scrum and Kanban: Scrumban.

Where does it all start? In short, both Scrum and Kanban are two popular agile project management frameworks. To take the best of two worlds, companies use a hybrid framework. What makes Scrumban methodology unique is that it is both stable and dynamic at the same time: it combines the fixed structure usually found in Scrum with the flexibility that drives Kanban, making it easier for teams to be organized but agile. To give an exhaustive answer to the question “What does Scrumban look like?”, let’s disassemble the framework to the tiniest detail.

Scrumban vs Scrum

Scrum encourages teams to break their workflow into sprints: short 2-week milestones which they start with a stand-up session, followed by a review and a retrospective. There are usually quite a few sprints within one project and the bigger the project, the more sprints it will contain. In other words, Scrum is a cyclical approach to project management where your teams revisit the same stage several times before reaching the ultimate project goal. A typical Scrum board will visualize all sprints one by one, giving you detail on the constituent parts of each sprint, should you request to get more detail.

Now, where does Scrum end and Scrumban begin? Well, the easiest way to see it is that Scrumban takes the methodology of Scrum and then visualizes it in a Kanban style.

Scrumban vs Kanban

Kanban lives in a world of its own. It is another agile project management framework that repeatedly proves to be easiest to use, you don’t even need any special training to get started with Kanban boards. The trick here is in the interface, of course. There are usually three columns within a single board and each column has a name like “To-do”, “In progress”, or “Done”. All you need to do here is to create a task, give it a relevant name, add a description and attach some documents, if any. Then you put the task into the column that describes its progress status, and there you have it, a Kanban board in action.

It takes two sentences to complete a Kanban board training. Scrumban board training is not much harder, thanks to its link to Kanban.

What does the Scrumban process look like?

Learning how to do Scrumban with simple Scrumban software will only take you about 4 steps.

  1. Make a Scrumban board. To get the process in motion, you need to set up your first board and come up with relevant columns that will help you organize team workflow.
  2. Set time limits. Since Scrum gives you a specific time frame to stick to, so does Scrumban. You need to be sure not to overload your board. Remember that the team needs to be able to cover all tasks from the board within 2 weeks.
  3. Set task priorities. Shuffle your cards to visualize priorities and make it easier for team members to understand what tasks they need to tackle first.
  4. Schedule your meetings. Scrum instructs you to start every day of each sprint with a meeting, and Scrumban does that too. Remember to schedule your stand-ups in advance to keep everyone in the loop.

When to consider when implementing Scrumban

Teams that want to say goodbye to batching work and prefer to be more independent will be the most drawn to the idea of Scrumban. At its core, Scrumban allows for more flexibility in how you organize your work than Scrum provides. Many teams use Scrumban as a transition point between Scrum and Kanban. However, it is important to note that Scrumban is not a replacement for Scrum or Kanban. Instead, it provides some advantages of both methods while addressing the weaknesses. If you've noticed some glitches in your Scrum or Kanban processes, it is worth considering Scrumban as your go-to. 

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