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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, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Feb 21, 2023

This week’s Trainer Talk is with Olatunde, SAFe Program Consultant (SPC). Tunde shares some reflections on how to merge the best of Kanban with the best of Scrum in an approach called “Scrumban.”

Key Takeaways:

Somebody asked me a question. The question was, “why do you need to Implement Scrumban?” First, I always ask, “what do you know about Scrumban?”  They think it's a buzzword, a nice-sounding framework. But to answer their question, I've always encouraged them: What do you like about Kanban? They said they loved the transparency. Fantastic. They said they love the implementation of the WIP limits. They love the fact that they can see throughput. Throughput is the amount of work they have completed based on past data. What don't you like about Kanban? They will say, “we don't like that you don't have immediate benefit realization.” Their releases are two months. They don't like the fact that it doesn't have defined roles. They don't like that it is the delivery team, the Kanban team, and then the product owner. Then I pivot.  What do you like about Scrum? Well, now they say they like the defined three roles. The Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Delivery team, the Scrum Team. They also like transparency and accountability. Well, if you like the best things that you love about Scrum added to the best thing that you love about Kanban, then merge them. Now you have Scrumban.

How do you implement it? Scrum always talks about early validation of working software as our greatest priority. That's principle number one behind the Agile Manifesto. So, for early validation, instead of three months in Kanban, move it to two weeks. Instead of two weeks, move it to three weeks. Instead of three weeks, you can move it to a month.  Thirty days. That's it. And then you have backlog refinement. So, practice continuous refinement of your backlog and its priorities. Keep the WIP limit. Keep it. Do you like the Retrospective? Let's add it. You have daily stand-up, which creates daily accountability in Scrumban. You have backlog refinement and continuous refining of the product backlog. You have retrospectives, you'll always find other ways that we can get better. And once a month, always do a demo. Always do a demo to leaders. Always do a demo to stakeholders. And that is some of the biggest benefits of Scrumban. This is the way to go any time you want to merge the benefits of Scrum, plus the transparency and the continuous work-in-process of Kanban. Merge them, then you have Scrumban.


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