In parts 1 and 2 of our Kanban Frequently Asked Questions series, we covered more of what Kanban is and how to implement it. For those who are already practicing Agile methodologies, you might be wondering how Kanban fits into the puzzle. We’ve rounded up the most common questions around Kanban being an Agile project management methodology. This can help you get started with Kanban especially when you are transitioning from Scrum.

Is Kanban Agile?

To answer this question, it’s important that we have a common understanding of what Agile is. For some, when they hear the word Agile, they immediately equate it to Scrum. But Agile is much more than Scrum.

Agile is an overarching concept that encompasses methodologies such as Scrum. Agile is a set of values and principles that guide how product development should be done. Being an iterative and incremental approach to product development, Agile gives importance to collaboration, adapting to changes, and working software.


Given this, we can conclude that Agile is not a framework or process. It is a mindset. There are a number of methodologies that are within the umbrella of Agile and Kanban is one of them. While Kanban may not be iterative, it is most certainly incremental and follows the 12 principles of the Agile manifesto.

Do I have to know Scrum to use Kanban?

The answer is NO. You don’t need to know Scrum to use Kanban, read on to explore their differences.

What is the difference between Kanban and Scrum?

There are a number of key differences between Kanban and Scrum. These two Agile methodologies are always being compared with each other because of their seeming similarities. But to be fair, they are different approaches. Here are the key areas of comparison between Kanban and Scrum:

Kanban Zone Kanban Vs Scrum Board

Read a more in-depth comparison of these two Agile methodologies in another Kanban Zone blog post.

Which is better: Kanban or Scrum?

While this is one of the most common questions we hear, we believe that these methodologies shouldn’t be in a battle. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. However, one of these methodologies could be more appropriate depending on the needs of the team.

If your product is in its conception phase or initial development stages, you might find the structure of Scrum appealing and beneficial. This is because the scope of work is more controlled. For more mature products where requirements and change require high responsiveness, Kanban may be more appropriate. If a production issue comes up, your Kanban system is flexible enough to accommodate it. You don’t have to wait for the next sprint to get it done.

You also need to assess your team’s tolerance to change. Are you ready for a radical transformation or are you more inclined to work with evolution or gradual changes? Another good way to know what methodology would work best for you is to experiment. For a specific period of time, try Kanban and then Scrum next. You might even find that there are properties of both Scrum and Kanban that you’d like to merge.

What is ScrumBan?

If you’ve tried out both Scrum and Kanban and wondered, “Wait! Can I do this (from Kanban) with that (from Scrum)?” The good thing is YOU CAN. ScrumBan provides the best of both worlds. Teams can explore ScrumBan to get the flexibility and powerful visualization of Kanban along with the enhanced collaboration and familiar structure of Scrum. Teams who are also looking to transition from Scrum to Kanban and vice-versa can do ScrumBan first to make the change less drastic.

We’ve highlighted a more detailed look into ScrumBan in this blogpost and we discuss how you can smoothly transition from either methodology by using ScrumBan.

You’re All Set!

Whether you’re just getting started with Kanban or coming from another project management approach, we hope our three-part series helped you get things moving. What other questions do you think we need to answer? Let us know!

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About the Author: Lena Boiser

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Lena Boiser is an Agile enthusiast. Starting off her career as a Software Business Analyst in 2010, she eventually performed other roles including Project Manager and IT Business Manager. When she was immersed in Agile methodologies in 2014, Lena found her way through honing her craft and eventually became a Certified Scrum Product Owner. In 2017, after 7 years of working in the corporate world, Lena started her own remote consulting practice. Today, she provides project management and Scrum Product Ownership services to various businesses including software development companies, e-Commerce business owners, and small to medium sized companies. She believes that even teams working remotely can harness the benefits of Agile in order to deliver results for their companies. In her free time she likes to write. One day she could be writing about Agile, the next she could be writing anything about fashion or travel.

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