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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to podcast@agilethought.com, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

May 12, 2020

In this episode, Professional Scrum Trainer Eric Landes addresses the questions: "Can Scrum and Kanban work together?"

Introduction

In my classes I often get asked about the differences between Scrum and Kanban.   Can Scrum and Kanban work together, how can that work?  Typically people will talk about one team doing and Kanban, typically an Operations type team along with other Scrum teams, typically feature teams.

Scrum and Kanban can Coexist

The short answer is Kanban and Scrum can coexist.  Scrum.org has a class called Prfessional Scrum with Kanban.  This was created by Kanban expert Daniel Vcante and Yuval Yevet a Professional Scrum Trainer.  Both of Daniel and Yuval have extensive kanban experience and have been working in the Kanban community

Yes, Kanban and scrum can coexist. How does that actually work, you are asking? Let's think about this. Kanban is about flow and Kanban principles and practices do not conflict with the Scrum framework.  The principles for Kanban are: start with what you know and agree to pursue incremental evolutionary change and respect the current process, rules responsibilities and titles. Within Scrum, we  have a built in way to achieve evolutionary change, because we inspect and adapt.  The retrospective and daily scrum are ways that this can be achieved. 

Limit Work In Progress

There is some limit work in process in Scrum, in Kaban it is more explicit.  Making processes explicit is another Kanban practice that makes sense, Kanban implements feedback loops and we improve collaboratively and evolve experimentally.  Again all of these seem very compatible with the scrum framework

So we're not staying with Kanban and scrum together, you are  getting rid of anything within the framework.  We are saying kanban practices and some of those tools can help you achieve flow within a scrum framework.   And you get the benefits of the focus of scrum what scrum team practices that they're used to.

Getting Started

How will scrum team begin with what they do?  What is one thing they can do is begin with Kanban in scrum.  For instance, if the teams forecasts five stories done in the current sprint, but the team  consistently misses one or two stories in a sprint, these Kanban metrics can help with the cause. 

Metrics for Scrum with Kanban

For instance the Aging working process metrics used in a daily scrum so that can help the scrum team focus on that question with data, are we going to meet our forecast or not?  If not the team can decide to focus and swarm on one item, get that item to done and continue to finish PBIs in the sprint. 

Hopefully this helps the team focus on getting to done, and issues that prevent the team from achieving their forecast.  I would recommend the aging working process metric as a great way to start work with your scrum team using Kanban in your daily scrum. Other practices like visualizing your workflow and limiting WIP will help that focus as well. 

Conclusion

If you are want to increase your teams focus, I recommend reading up on Scrum and Kanban.  Even taking the Scrum with Kanban course, which goes in depth on methods to help Scrum team utilize metrics to increase their focus. 

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