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