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4 Things you MUST Know Before Moving from Scrum to Kanban

Kanban and scrum are frameworks created to allow teams to work faster and get more things done. Scrum has been one of the most used methods by most development teams, but many other companies have recently started moving to the Kanban methodology, claiming its more agile in the face of market challenges.

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Until very recently, Scrum was the method used by many development teams to deliver value in a more efficient way. There is nothing wrong with using Scrum as a method; it certainly improves on the older waterfall approach. Scrum introduces higher agility to the entire development process. It is more of an efficient framework than a rigid methodology.

Scrum relies on sprints and an agile team. The process starts with a planning meeting, during which all team members are informed about the next goalposts in the cycle. A sprint is then guided by short-term objectives, and a thorough evaluation – a retrospective meeting – concludes the cycle.

While Scrum is agile enough for most teams, there is a growing need for an even more agile development cycle. This is why many teams now rely on the Kanban methodology as a way to be more agile in the face of market challenges. Before you decide to migrate your team to Kanban, here are some of the things you need to know about the migration.

1. Understand Why Scrum Isn’t Working

Before you make the decision to move to Kanban, you have to first understand why Scrum is not working. When I first considered a move to Kanban for my team, Scrum was working brilliantly. We pushed updates on a regular basis. We had little to no bugs to worry about. Even the quality of our code was excellent.

So, what was the issue? Not everyone was enjoying the work. It was becoming obvious that my developers were frustrated, despite maintaining their quality of work. This was a problem brewing in the background; it was only a matter of time before things started slipping away and issues started to come. A change was necessary.

You may be facing something entirely different with your team. Scrum isn’t a framework that works for everyone; in this respect, Kanban is more flexible. The fast-paced nature of Scrum may be putting too much stress on your team; Kanban offers a more relaxed approach, despite being more efficient in general.

Understanding the reason behind your decision to move from Scrum to Kanban is key since it will determine the best approach use in the migration process. Besides, the migration is meant to solve the issues you face with Scrum, so you do need to understand the issues fully before taking further steps.

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2. Spend Time Exploring Kanban

As a methodology, Kanban is incredibly flexible. You don’t have to follow a certain norm when implementing Kanban, especially if you use tools like Kanbanize. The idea is to start with what you have now and gradually evolve. Digital Kanban boards can be customized to the last detail to meet the specific requirements of your team or development projects.

To find the best form to use, however, you want to spend some time exploring Kanban as a methodology. Find out more about how Kanban fits the 12 agile principles and your own product development cycles by reading this blog. Experiment with different ways to implement Kanban into existing workflows without making big changes all at once.

Most digital Kanban boards come with trial periods; some also offer free accounts to use. Using the trial period, you can begin customizing the Kanban board and incorporating the different approaches you want to use to improve your development cycle.

You also have the option to do a trial run. Kanban works really well with existing Scrum framework, so you only need to do minor adjustments to give the system a try. After one or two cycles, you will have more insights on how the new methodology can be used to improve how your team approaches development projects.

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3. It Is Meant for Continuous Improvement

Migrating to Kanban requires the entire team to be in the right mindset. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that the move to Kanban isn’t mean to solve everything all at once. Instead, you want to approach the switch to Kanban the same way you approach software development: with continuous improvement in mind.

By not expecting the Kanban system to be perfect from the start, you are lowering your own expectations. The lower expectations lead to a clearer mind that allows you to evaluate your use of Kanban during every cycle. Don’t wait until you know all the issues to make changes; improve the system as you go along for an efficient workflow.

There are two objectives to meet when moving from Scrum to Kanban: to improve efficiency and deliver more value to the end-users. Improving efficiency is the easy part since Kanban automatically visualizes possible bottlenecks and lets you anticipate future problems. Delivering more value, on the other hand, requires a bit more effort.

A way to achieve the latter objective is by dividing development projects into smaller tasks and focusing on shorter, more refined iterations. Rather than sprinting to multiple features, direct resources to one feature at a time. This may seem counterproductive at first, but you are actually improving the performance of the entire team with this approach.

4. Not Everything Will Change

Moving to Kanban doesn’t necessarily change everything. As mentioned before, Scrum and Kanban are very similar, albeit with principal differences. You still focus on continuous improvement. You still organize projects into smaller chunks. You even still maintain weekly or bi-weekly sprints along with the daily stand-up meetings and other routines you use when Scrum is your methodology of choice.

Still, you gain a lot of benefits in return. The flexibility of the entire team is improved when Kanban is used because new work and tasks can be added at any point. The goalposts that the team aims for are also moved closer for a more effective development cycle. On top of these benefits, you gain better work visibility thanks to the visual nature of the Kanban system.

Will Kanban improve productivity? Is it the better methodology of the two? The answers to these questions depend on how you implement the Kanban system into your workflow. In most cases, careful use of Kanban will result in a substantial efficiency and effectiveness increase. Get everyone on board and plan your own migration to enjoy these benefits. 

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