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Demystifying Kanban and Scrum

January 16, 2010

»Do not develop an attachment to any one weapon or any one school of fighting.« (Miyamoto Musashi) – this is directly cited from a very readable free pdf book by Henrik Kniberg & Mattias Skarin about two popular agile practices: Kanban and Scrum. Not only do the authors compare Kanban and Scrum to each other, they also make a strong case for thinking of them as tools – just basic tools that may help your organisation to accomplish tasks, rather than enforcing the dogma of one particular »school« that dictates how you should do your work. The more prescriptive rules of Scrum may not necessarily fit your team, so taking only few Scrum practices and leaning more towards the Kanban or event-driven approach might work much better in some situations. Generally, the Kanban way of doing things feels more natural to me. It always depends, though.

I guess one could draw a parallel to applying design patterns in software development. Some argue that when you are new to patterns, you try to put them into a system, no matter if it really makes sense or if there might be more straightforward solutions. Then, when you’ve got more experience and you can better judge how to tackle a problem, you may choose to use a certain pattern, modify an existing one, or choose none at all – i.e. working pragmatically and depending on the context without blindly sticking to pre-built solutions.

Overall, »Kanban and Scrum – making the most of both« is a quick and entertaining read and I highly recommend it. If you don’t have the time to read the whole pdf, look at least at »One day in Kanban-land« on pages 44 – 46 and 49 – 51…and most importantly, as the authors keep saying, »Experiment until you find something that works for you« ;)

Filed under: Reading, Software Development

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