Scrumban is a project management framework that is a hybrid of two popular agile methodologies: Scrum and Kanban. Scrumban is a popular approach to helping businesses focus on the right strategic tasks while simultaneously strengthening their processes.
This is achieved because of the hybrid nature of Scrumban, combining:
- Kanban – an approach to workflow management using visual Kanban boards with each work item occupying a card or sticky note. This facilitates project visibility for all team members and stakeholders. Kanban teams continuously plan, review, and measure the outcomes of their work.
- Scrum – an agile approach used in software development consisting of teams with clearly defined roles such as Scrum master and product owner. Work is divided into short timeframes called sprints and the direction of each sprint is determined by daily meetings.
Developing a Scrumban framework for project teams
It’s important to note Scrumban involves the application of Kanban principles to the Scrum framework. Indeed, Scrumban borrows the prescriptive nature of Scrum to become more agile. Conversely, Scrum adopts the continual process improvement philosophy of Kanban.
Teams wishing to implement Scrumban should follow five steps:
- Develop a Scrumban board. This is similar to a Kanban board, but it should feature as many columns as the team requires to mark each phase of progress. Of course, there shouldn’t be so many columns that the board becomes difficult to read.
- Set your work-in-progress limits. In the Scrumban approach, WIP limits are placed on the total number of cards present on the board at any given time. When setting this limit, teams must be realistic and avoid overextending themselves.
- Order team priorities on the board. Although Scrum teams will assign tasks to specific individuals for each sprint, Scrumban simply establishes a project priority order. It is only at this point that the team allocates specific people to specific tasks. Once assigned, the team member moves the task from the “to do” column to the “in progress” column. No one team member works on more than one task at a time.
- Discard planning poker. Since tasks are prioritized according to importance, there is no need to use the planning poker method to estimate the time and difficulty level of each task.
- Set up daily meetings. Scrumban has no use for typical Scrum meetings based on sprint planning and review. However, daily meetings are still held so that the team can discuss their plans and identify any challenges. These meetings are important in creating team cohesion, as many individuals predominantly work alone on their assigned tasks.
When should Scrumban be used?
Scrumban is most effective for projects that incorporate both product and support features. For example, the development of a new piece of software and associated maintenance package.
However, Scrumban can also be used for:
- Ongoing project maintenance where is no definitive completion date exists.
- Teams experiencing difficulties with Scrum because of a lack of resources or incompatibility with rigid Scrum principles.
- Businesses wanting more flexibility in task and resource allocation.
- Scrumban project management is a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban agile methodologies.
- Scrumban implementation involves five simple steps. By following each step, project teams must understand that Kanban principles are applied to the Scrum framework – and not the reverse.
- Scrumban is particularly effective for projects that necessitate product and support features. They are also popular in businesses that desire more flexibility in task or resource allocation.
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