What is Kanban?

Project work is steadily expanding and growing in all countries and industries – this is a trend that has been observed over the past 20 years.

The goal of project management methods is to improve the efficiency and purposeful actions of employees. This means that different approaches have a greater bottom line, both for obtaining a quality product and for building a team of participants.

Today, not only classical methods are widely used, but also new approaches, including flexible project management.

What is Kanban Methodology?

Kanban is originally from Japan. Toyota developed the system for itself back in 1947. This explains the name: a combination of the two Japanese syllables kan and ban, which roughly means "signal card".

Kanban is a flexible method for evolutionary change management in projects. This means that the existing process is improved in small steps (evolutionary). As a result, by making many small changes (and not one big one), we reduce risks for the entire project as a whole.

In addition, Kanban's rather bland style tends to result in less resistance from the participants involved.

Benefits of Kanban Methods

  1. This approach has its own advantages over the Scrum methodology.
  2. Quickly creates a high level of transparency in the course of work on a project and in the event of acute problems.
  3. Leads to reduced throughput times for work packets.
  4. It can be used not only in pure software development, but also in areas such as maintenance, system administration, marketing or sales.
  5. Provides a low level of resistance when introduced to a command.

How does the kanban board work?

The first step in introducing Kanban is to visualize your existing workflow, work, and issues.

This is in the form of a Kanban board, which, for example, consists of a simple board and notes or index cards. Each card on the board represents a challenge – completed, unfulfilled, or pending.

This simple measure alone results in great transparency in the distribution of work and existing bottlenecks.

Further, work in process (WIP) is limited, that is, there is a limit to the number of parallel tasks.

On the one hand, it reduces multitasking, on the other hand, fewer WIPs means that each individual task can be completed faster than before. Kanban knows various WIP constraint mechanisms, the most common of which are called column constraints. For example, in the “Stories” column, only 3 applications can be posted. Constraints mean that we must actively tackle problems, not bypass them.

Kanban is based on the concept of Flow. This means that tickets must pass through the system as evenly as possible, without long waiting times or blocking. Anything that impedes the flow must be critically examined. To do this, Kanban knows different techniques, metrics and models. If applied consistently, Kanban can lead to a culture of continuous improvement (kaizen) in a company.

Kanban vs scrum methodology

The two most common agile project management techniques are Scrum and Kanban.

Both support the principles and values of the flexible manifesto. And both methods are aimed at solving complex problems with a clear understanding of the scope, quality and timing of the project, as well as effective and humane solutions, being flexible about changes and having more control than other methods.

However, it should not be forgotten that these principles alone do not guarantee the success of an agile approach. This is the biggest misunderstanding when using rapid product development tools. Only discipline, communication and high motivation can remove obstacles, avoid losses and lead the project to success.

Agile methods are easy to understand but difficult to master because they are based on a system of collaboration components, especially people who work together on a project.

Kanban and Scrum - similarities

  1. Both methods work on the principle of pull: in Scrum, the workspace is used for sprint planning, in Kanban, for the entire board.
  2. Scrum and Kanban both provide fast problem solving.
  3. The teams organize themselves.
  4. The release plan is optimized in Scrum and Kanban: for this, Scrum uses team speed, Kanban uses lead time.
  5. "Limit your WIP" is a kanban for changing your status. WIP stands for Work In Progress, and essentially the request reads: not too much at once. In Scrum, a sprint limits the number of tasks that need to be done.
  6. Both process models rely on increments of delivered software that will be released quickly and frequently.
  7. Transparency is intended to show the potential for optimization and therefore improve efficiency. In Scrum, the Scrum Master essentially demonstrates it, and in Kanban it is driven by stakeholders and leadership, provided bottlenecks are shown outside the WIP.

Kanban and Scrum - the main difference

Kanban has no specific role in corporate culture. Experience with it shows that implementing an agile method without the mentoring of a trained trainer often leads to a decrease in efficiency and does not lead to the desired success.

Responsibility for a product in Scrum lies with the product owner. Kanban does not specify who is responsible for identifying and prioritizing requirements.

Kanban and Scrum – comparison of methodology

The main difference between the two is that Scrum focuses on iterative product development, while Kanban focuses on continual process improvement.

With Scrum, you can develop a product at the request of the client. At Kanban, the focus of the project is on short lead times and waste optimization. It focuses on identifying weaknesses and bottlenecks in the process.

While Scrum Pro Sprint is working on building a standalone product, Kanban is looking to streamline the process itself.


In software development, Scrum is still the most commonly used. Kanban is recommended for use in support or maintenance teams where the tasks being solved are technically complex, but usually not complex in terms of execution structure.

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