The Need for Cross Method Training

February 24, 2012 — Posted by Al Shalloway

I just finished teaching a Lean-Agile Project Manager course. Had an interesting conversation with one of the participants who was already fairly advanced with Scrum. He already had several teams running with it, now, he was interested in Kanban and how that might help. We were having a discussion about the difference between Scrum and Kanban. Some of these are detailed in The Real Difference Between Kanban and Scrum. They include: explicit policies, manage work in progress, inclusion of management, extend the value stream to include the work that takes place before the team starts (and after the team as well, i.e., include ops), and, perhaps most importantly, how transition is managed.

It seems natural to start by looking at differences. But there are points of convergence and that is important, too. As a pragmatic learner, you don't want to get into a contest, you want to see what will help you get the job done. For example, having explicit policies is critical for Kanban. Now, you are seeing Scrum practitioners incorporate into their practice the notion of explicit policies. They have formal definitions of what is required for stories to both get into and out of a sprint.

No longer content to learn and re-learn what is already known to work, they are requiring their Scrum practice to include certain standard work practices such as test-first, continuous integration, and managing work-in-progress (to some extent). I think there are many others to be incorporated into both Kanban and the basic Scrum framework, particularly Acceptance Test-Driven Development.

Start with what works

It doesn't matter whether you are using Scrum or Kanban or some hybrid, every Agile teams should be basing their practice on the laws of software development that should be followed. And you should expect whoever is teaching your Scrum Masters to have this mindset, too. Here are some questions to ask in selecting a Trainer for your ScrumMaster Training.

Learn what works best from both worlds and put that into your practice.

Start by asking, what can you include? What should you include? Since Scrum is a framework, there are many Kanban practices that can be included in it. There are only a few Kanban practices that would not fit into Scrum. For example, Kanban typically does not have iterations (although it can), Scrum requires these. Scrum also requires cross-functional teams while Kanban does not.

What is this blend? Well, of course, it depends on your situation. To help you, we have put together the Lean-Agile Project Manager course. It incorporates what is core to both Kanban and Scrum and wraps it in Lean principles. It is entirely consistent with Kanban. It shows you how to extend Scrum consistently and effectively. It helps you think about transitions.

What's the difference?

Perhaps the real difference between Kanban and Scrum is more a matter of mindset, something that can be hard to put your finger on. I'll continue these thoughts with blogs in the next few weeks:

  • Transition Methods, Respect and Stagnation
  • Why I like Certification but don't like any current Scrum Certification approaches

Here are some related blogs and articles you might find helpful:

Subscribe to our blog Net Objectives Thoughts Blog

Share this:

About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With over 40 years of experience, Alan is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, SAFe, Scrum and agile design.


Blog Authors

Al Shalloway
Business, Operations, Process, Sales, Agile Design and Patterns, Personal Development, Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Cory Foy
Change Management, Innovation Games, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Guy Beaver
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, Operations, DevOps, Planning/Estimation, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Transitioning to Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Scrum
Israel Gat
Business and Strategy Development, DevOps, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean, Kanban, Scrum
Jim Trott
Business and Strategy Development, Analysis and Design Methods, Change Management, Knowledge Management, Lean Implementation, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile, Workflow, Technical Writing, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, SAFe, Kanban
Ken Pugh
Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, C++, C#, Java, Technical Writing, TDD, ATDD, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Marc Danziger
Business and Strategy Development, Change Management, Team Agility, Online Communities, Promotional Initiatives, Sales and Marketing Collateral
Max Guernsey
Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Database Agility, Design Patterns, TDD, TDD Databases, ATDD, Lean-Agile, Scrum
Scott Bain
Analysis and Design Methods, Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, Technical Writing, TDD, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile
Tom Grant
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, DevOps, Analyst, Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Innovation Games, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, Kanban