Scrumban – Beginner’s Guide to Scrumban Methodology

In the world of project management, there is constant evolution and transformation of one methodology into another. The combination of traditional and agile methodologies has given rise to the hybrid model of project management. In the same way, the Scrumban methodology is a hybrid of two agile project management methodologies of Scrum and Kanban.

While the methodology of Scrum is a well-known agile discipline, the Kanban methodology has its roots in Lean. The Scrumban methodology combines the advantages of Scrum and Kanban to face the challenges faced by organizations in managing modern projects. This methodology is flexible and adaptable. It promotes continuous improvement along with value addition.

What is Scrumban?

Scrumban, Scrumban Methodology
Scrumban

Scrumban is an agile project management framework that combines the benefits of Scrum and Kanban methodologies. It was originally created as a transitional method for teams using Scrum that needed to transition into Kanban. However, due to some of the major advantages offered by the Scrumban methodology, it has been since used as a standalone agile framework.

Before elaborating on the methodology of Scrumban, here is a brief outline of Scrum and Kanban:

Scrum

It is an agile methodology that helps organizations run projects in 1-4 weeks iterations or sprints. Scrum focuses on maximizing the organizational team’s capabilities to deliver results fast, become flexible, and adapt to changes in the market quickly.

Scrum teams are responsible for breaking the work into small manageable tasks on a priority basis. These teams are small, cross-functional, and self-organizing. Its main objective is to complete the goals set by the product owner within the fixed-length development cycles.

Kanban

It is a Lean approach to delivering projects that focuses on increasing the efficiency of the workflow. Kanban is represented as boards used by organizational teams to visualize the workflow as well as the progress of the projects.

Teams using Kanban use the Kanban boards to manage the tasks at hand. Here the tasks are depicted by cards and the process steps are represented by lanes. The team manages the work through the WIP (work-in-progress) limits tool.

Both Scrum and Kanban have their advantages and disadvantages. The Scrumban methodology combines the advantages of these two disciplines to fulfill the requirements of the organization in delivering modern projects that are more complex and have multiple levels.

What is the need for Scrumban?

The methodology of Scrumban is best suited for modern projects having multidisciplinary requirements. These modern projects are much more complex and require elaborate planning. The Scrumban method helps organizational teams deliver projects successfully using the structure of Scrum along with the flexibility of Kanban. It uses the best features of both disciplines to meet the requirements of the organization and its stakeholders.

How does Scrumban combine Scrum and Kanban?

As we know from the above sections that Scrumban combines the best elements of both the Scrum and Kanban methodology. This helps organizations deliver projects according to the requirements of the market or the stakeholders.

Here are some of the best features of Scrum that are incorporated in the Scrumban methodology:

  • Planning and reviewing of the work
  • Determining the complexity of the work and the length of the iteration
  • Deciding how much work can be done within fixed-length development cycles
  • Prioritization of tasks to be completed
  • Conducting work analysis before starting development using the ‘ready’ list

The Scrumban methodology adopts the process improvement techniques of Kanban that add value to the overall project. Some of the best elements of Kanban that are included in Scrumban are as follows:

  • Pull system that promotes continuous workflow
  • WIP limits to set the limits for how many tasks are progressing at a particular time
  • Flexibility to the workflow since individual roles are not clearly defined
  • Just-in-time analysis to create shorter lead times instead of batch-processing for iteration planning estimation
  • Reduce bottlenecks and identify areas of improvement through process buffers and flow diagrams

These advantageous practices of Scrum and Kanban make the Scrumban methodology a powerful agile framework. Thus, it is not surprising that more and more organizations are adopting Scrumban to cancel out the limitations of using only one method- Scrum or Kanban. The Scrumban methodology can be used for projects that require certain levels of structured and continuous workflow.

Benefits of Scrumban

There are many benefits of using the Scrumban methodology. More organizational teams are discovering the advantages of using Scrumban in their project development processes. The use of the methodology has increased a lot in the past decade.

Listed below are some of the major advantages of the Scrumban methodology:

  • It saves time and increases efficiency – One of the best benefits of the Scrumban methodology is that it saves time. That is because it does not require sprint planning every week. Plans or estimations are only made when the teams demand them. This then increases the efficiency of the workflow.
  • It is best suited for large-scale projects – Large-scale projects require proper planning and estimations. They are also complex and require multiple levels of discipline. Scrumban can be used to prioritize tasks that need to be completed first and so on. It helps in managing the project objectives effectively.
  • It is easy to adopt – The benefits of the visualization of Kanban make adopting Scrumban very easy. Every team member can update their tasks and keep track of the work. This makes the work more visible and helps in completing the projects in time.
  • It is flexible and has a better success rate – In Scrumban, team members are free from the hassles of individual roles, planning, and reporting meetings. The flexibility that comes from the transparency of the tasks at hand helps them to perform better. Thus, improving the overall project success.

Drawbacks of Scrumban

Despite the various advantages of Scrumban, there are some drawbacks of adopting this methodology in practice. Being a relatively new agile methodology there are no defined best practices for using Scrumban.

Here are some of the disadvantages of using the Scrumban methodology:

  • It has no set guidelines – Scrumban is a new methodology and is not tested enough in practice. Thus, team members choose the task they want to perform and manage on their own without having any idea which is the best way to achieve the project goals.
  • It makes tracking the progress difficult – Since there are no scrum daily meetings and reports, it becomes difficult for managers to keep track of the progress.
  • Project managers lose control over the Scrumban teams – Scrumban makes the project manager’s job very difficult. Since the tasks are assigned and managed by individual Scrumban team members with less or no tracking, project managers have no control over the project.

Conclusion

The Scrumban methodology is designed to limit the control of project managers and provide decision-making autonomy to the individual team members of the project. While this makes the work of a project manager a little difficult, however, the advantages of Scrumban cannot be neglected. The structured approach of Scrum combined with the continuous improvement approach of Kanban makes Scrumban a very powerful agile project management methodology. Hence, organizations and their teams need to weigh the pros and cons of Scrumban before deciding on adopting the methodology.