Thinking of a Kanban Board as a Value Stream Map

May 13, 2018 — Posted by Al Shalloway
An obvious difference between Scrum & Kanban is that one is based on flow & the other uses iterations. A more significant difference is the use of the board.  In Scrum, the board describes the stages the work is in, but leaves a description of the workflow itself to the tasks that make up the stories. In Kanban, the board explicitly represents the agreements between team members. The board is a reflection of what the team thinks is the best way to do their work. People don’t follow the board, rather the board is updated w/ what people are doing.  
 
This is an important distinction because many teams in Scrum do not make an explicit set of agreements on how they are doing their work. Even whether you should have definitions of ready or not is a matter of debate in the Scrum community. To be effective in kaizen (continuous small improvement) one needs a baseline of what you are improving on. This is why Scrum is often limited to inspect and adapt. Kanban, however, provides a basis for plan, do, study, act on the baseline represented by the Kanban board.
 
It is important to make this connection between value stream map (the reality of what is happening) & how we can represent it visually on a Kanban board. See 1st comment for link.
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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

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