The explosive growth of the Kanban community and the buzz surrounding it has given raise to a steady stream of questions regarding its relation to other approaches and tools. Many with agile backgrounds expect to find a highly opinionated & pre-packaged methodology akin to Scrum, XP or the Crystal family. The profusion of “Scrum vs Kanban” themed blogs and discussions perpetuates such beliefs often missing some of the fundamental flaws in the comparison. It is inherently an apples to oranges type of comparison that can be illustrated with the following core properties:
Kanban is not your process – it’s part of your process & a meta process for improvement and guided evolution. Once a process (even an ad-hoc seat of the pants one) has been established applying Kanban to that process will help guide the further evolution and tailoring to your context. You can’t start with Kanban – you need a process to apply it to. If you’re starting from a clean slate many good well understood & tried processes exist The Crystal family, XP & Scrum for agile folks, RUP, PROPS and others for those that must. Kanban really doesn’t care. Kanban doesn’t care if you have lunch – the relative merit of roles & procedures does not make them part of Kanban. Kanban doesn’t prescribe roles or organizational design but guides your discovery in context How Kanban guides evolutionary change leading to revolutionary results
Each of these points will be illustrated by a ~10minute slice with the aim to establish the main point and a short discussion on how that relates to other well known processes and why and when comparison makes more or less sense.