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The Ultimate Guide To Scrumban (2020)

The Ultimate Guide To Scrumban (2020)


Want to learn about Scrumban?

While it may sound like Marie Kondo’s new approach to spring cleaning, it’s not!

So what is Scrumban?

It’s a hybrid management method that combines the Scrum and Kanban approach to project management. It’ll help you boost project flexibility, clean up workflows, and get more work done quickly.

And while it may not help you clean your closet, it’s definitely going to spark joy in your engineering team!

And since Scrumban is all about combining unlikely partners, we’re going to combine our Marie Kondo references with examples from Breaking Bad!

Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you?

 

This Article Contains 

Let’s get started.

 

What Is Scrumban?

Scrumban is a project management framework that combines the structure of Scrum with the flexibility of Kanban. Project teams use Scrumban to quickly visualize project progress for efficient process improvement.

But wait…what are Scrum and Kanban?!

Don’t worry. 

You didn’t think we’d leave you hanging, did you?

A. The Scrum methodology

Scrum is an Agile software development method that divides a project into smaller cycles called sprints. Each of these sprints lasts about 2-4 weeks and allows you to work on separate sections of the project individually. 

After each sprint is completed, you present it to your customers for feedback. You then incorporate their feedback before moving on to the next sprint.

This process is repeated until all your sprints are completed and you’re left with a product that sparks joy in a customer:

So what are the benefits of using the Agile Scrum software development method?

A. More adaptability

As you’re dividing your project into cycles, it’s easier to make project changes according to stakeholder needs. If there’s an issue, you only have to redo one cycle — not the whole project.

B. Better customer satisfaction

The sprint approach helps you actively involve customers in the development process. This ensures that you can incorporate their feedback at all levels for continuous improvement (Kaizen).

C. Better teamwork

The small and cross-functional team composition ensures that everyone can collaborate effectively to get things done.

D. Increased motivation

Since an Agile team works on smaller, short-term goals with each Scrum sprint, members feel a stronger sense of accomplishment with each completed sprint.

However, Scrum isn’t perfect.

Here are some issues with the Scrum project management framework:

  1. Requires experience: any successful Scrum ceremony requires an experienced project manager or an Agile coach. Inexperienced project team members can often slow things down, leading to unsuccessful sprints.
  2. Mainly built for small teams: a Scrum team should ideally consist of three to nine members. For large teams, you’ll have to break them into multiple individual Scrum teams.
  3. Steep learning curve: Scrum is a relatively complex framework where the Scrum team members must be familiar with terminologies like cycle time, lead time, work item, user story, and story point

B. The Kanban method 

The Kanban method is another popular management framework based on the Agile methodology.

Wait, what do you mean another?

The Agile methodology is a broad management framework. 

There are tons of different methodologies based on it. 

Scrum, Lean, Kanban, and Extreme Programming are just some of the frameworks that stem from the Agile methodology!

Now back to the Kanban method

Kanban is a visual-first management methodology that focuses on process improvement by streamlining your visual workflow. In Kanban, your tasks are laid out on a Kanban board to visualize the various progress stages they’re in. 

Usually, a Kanban board has three columns:

  • To-do: the tasks that you haven’t started work on
  • Work in progress (WIP): the tasks that are underway 
  • Done: the tasks that you’ve completed

As each task progresses, you move the card to the corresponding column on the visual board to ensure that everyone keeps up with its development.

When you compare Scrum vs Kanban, Kanban also offers some benefits:

A. Increased focus

A Kanban team must focus on one task at a time, which increases their efficiency and overall quality of work.

B. Increased flexibility

Since the Kanban team is only focussed on current tasks, the project manager can easily shuffle things around without disrupting their team’s workflow.

C. Super simple to use

Kanban makes it easy to visualize everything. The Kanban board allows each team member to quickly see what’s going on and who is working on what. This way, anyone can become a master at it in no time!

D. Reduced cycle time

Since Kanban is an Agile method, it’s good at reducing cycle times and increasing project efficiency. 

E. Reduces bottlenecks

Kanban has a WIP limit (limit Work In Progress) where you can only have a specific number of tasks going on simultaneously. This way, you can avoid clogging up your workflow. 

However, from Scrum to Kanban, every system has its flaws. 

After all, there’s no perfect Agile framework

Let’s look at some issues with the Kanban system:

  1. Risk of poor prioritization: as you’re simply moving tasks from one column to the other, it’s easy for the Kanban framework to overlook the priority factor of each task
  2. Potential miscommunications: since Kanban focuses more on the workflow instead of the team, there could be communication issues due to poor monitoring
  3. Lack of timeframes: unlike in a Scrum board, Kanban doesn’t have any timeframes. This can make it hard to keep up with deadlines.

Understanding Scrumban

While Scrum and Kanban have their pros, they also have their cons. 

But what if you could get the best of both worlds?

That’s exactly why you have Scrumban!

Scrumban is essentially a combination of Scrum and Kanban.

Think of it like combining Walter and Jesse from Breaking Bad!

Walter’s super talented, but doesn’t really know the market very well.

Jesse, on the other hand, doesn’t have the talent but has the connections.

When they both come together, they more than makeup for their deficiencies and create the perfect team!

But how does all this relate to Scrumban?!

Let’s break it down further:

1. The Scrum part of Scrumban

Scrumban borrows Scrum’s process of quickly adapting to project changes by breaking down the project into smaller cycles. However, in Scrumban, these cycles are termed as iterations instead of sprints.

Also, like the Scrum framework, Scrumban projects are based on first having a planning meeting and creating a backlog. This is a list of items that need to be tackled across the whole project. With each cycle, you complete some of these backlog items until there are no items left.

Note: While Scrumban does borrow some things from Scrum, there’s a lot that it leaves out too! 

Scrumban doesn’t adopt a lot of Scrum’s key concepts, such as incorporating customer feedback, the Scrum master, user story, and daily Scrum meetings like the sprint review.

2. The Kanban part of Scrumban

Scrumban adopts Kanban’s visual workflow approach for process improvement

An essential part of the Kanban methodology is visualizing your project workflow to keep up with each task’s progress. 

Scrumban adopts that approach completely!

In the Kanban framework, your tasks are visualized on a Kanban board, and in Scrumban, that board is…… (drumroll) ….. a Scrumban board!

Both boards are similar, with columns representing project stages and cards representing your tasks. You then move these cards into the respective columns as your tasks develop.

Additionally, Scrumban borrows Kanban’s principle of limiting the number of work in progress tasks you have at a time. This ensures that your team doesn’t attempt too much at once!

The Scrumban Process

Remember, like Walter and Jesse from Breaking Bad, Scrum and Kanban have their differences, but when they come together, they’re a force to be reckoned with!

Here’s an example to illustrate how Scrumban comes together as a management process:

Let’s say Walter White is creating a tool to track his shipments.

If he and Jesse use Scrumban to develop this, this is how it’ll go:

  1. They develop the total list of items that will go into creating this piece of software
  2. They then transform those items into tasks and place them in the “To-Do” column of their Scrumban board
  3. Then, they prioritize the items and start to plan their iterations. Each iteration has a deadline and a list of tasks that need to be completed.
  4. Walter and Jesse then start work on each iteration — one at a time. The relevant task cards are moved to the “In-Progress” column.
  5. Once they’re done with each task, it’s moved to the done-column of the task board
  6. After they’re done with all the tasks they had planned for one iteration, they start work on the next one
  7. They repeat this process until their software is finally complete

It’s that easy!

Scrumban principles and practices for success

To make Scrumban easier to follow, here’s a list of principles and practices you should keep in mind:

  • Only focus on activities you’re currently working on. Do not get distracted by other activities that are unrelated to the tasks that are underway.
  • Keep your Scrumban board simple. Do not clutter it and overcomplicate the process 
  • Always finish a task before moving onto the next one. Avoid multitasking whenever you can.
  • Don’t forget to prioritize your list of items. Attempt the most important items first to ensure that the most vital tasks are always completed on time.
  • Plan each iteration carefully to ensure that your deadlines are reasonable and you’re not attempting too many items at once
  • Do not overload the WIP column of your Scrumban board. An overcrowded WIP column is a tell-tale sign that you’re facing a bottleneck.

Just follow these principles and practices, and you’ll have no trouble adapting to Scrumban!

 

How Does Scrumban Differ From Kanban And Scrum

Sure, Scrumban borrows a lot from Kanban and Scrum, but it doesn’t mean it’s a cheap knock off.

It’s still as unique as Walter’s signature stuff!

It’s a unique management style with its own traits that differ from most other management styles.

Here’s a quick look at the differences between Scrumban and other Agile software development methods like Scrum and Kanban:

Scrumban The Scrum framework The Kanban methodology
Team Size No specific team size. However, it’s recommended that teams remain under 12 members. Scrum teams have to be very small. 

Most Scrum teams only consist of  3 to 9 members.

Unlike other Agile teams, there’s no limit to a Kanban team’s size.
Roles While there usually is a project manager, there are no rigid team roles. A Scrum team has three key roles:

  • Product owner
  • Scrum master
  • Development team
While there usually is a project manager, there are no rigid team roles.
Project Meetings There’s an initial planning meeting conducted — similar to a sprint planning meeting. 

All other daily meetings are optional.

Involves 5 mandatory meetings:

Daily stand-ups (short meetings) in front of the Kanban board.
Work Cycles Involves short work cycles called iterations that don’t last longer than 2 weeks. Involves short work cycles called sprints that last 2-4 weeks. During each sprint you work on various user stories until your project is completed. The flow of work isn’t broken down into separate cycles.

 

The Benefits Of The Scrumban Methodology

So what makes Scrumban as popular as Breaking Bad?

Here are the three key benefits of using the Scrumban methodology:

A. Simplifies project management

While any Agile method like Scrum can help you streamline your work processes, it can also complicate things.

Remember, there are:

  • New roles you’ll have to learn such as the product owner and Scrum master
  • New meetings you’ll have to conduct such as sprint planning and the sprint review
  • New certifications you have to earn such as becoming a certified Scrum master 
  • New concepts you have to grasp such as user story
  • The list goes on!

This can make the Scrum methodology a complicated process that takes a while to get used to. And when you have tons of work, you don’t have time to get used to something!

However, Scrumban doesn’t have any of this.

There are no complicated processes, no new meetings, and no certified Scrum courses to go for.

This makes Scrumban an Agile project management method that’s ridiculously easy to adopt!

B. Increased clarity

As Scrumban emphasizes on Kanban’s visual workflow process, it’s easy to keep track of your progress.

Whenever someone is confused about how a project is progressing, all they need to do is look at your Scrumban board for an idea of:

  • What’s going on
  • What’s finished
  • What’s to come

Additionally, this makes it easier for you to spot project hiccups and bottlenecks.

For example, if you see that cards in your “WIP” column are adding up, and there aren’t enough cards in your “Done” column, there’s something holding up your progress.

C. Increased feelings of motivation and achievement

One of the problems with tackling huge projects is that they can seem extremely challenging to attempt. Also, if you’re tackling a large project entirely at once, it might go on for ages! 

This can demotivate your team as they’ll have to wait forever to finally see what they’ve accomplished.

However, as Scrumban breaks down your project into smaller cycles, projects become far more approachable. Additionally, as these cycles are easier to complete, your team can feel a sense of achievement quickly, motivating them to push harder to cross the finish line.

However, we are not at the end yet. 

The truth is, Scrumban isn’t the perfect lab experiment. 

In its defense, Walter White’s chemicals aren’t 100% pure either.

Here are some of the challenges you might face while using Scrumban:

  • Can be hard to measure productivity: a Scrumban team chooses their tasks themselves, and there are no mandatory daily meetings (like the daily Scrum) for tracking progress or further iteration planning
  • Less control for the Scrum Master or project manager: since there’s no daily planning meeting and everyone can pick their tasks, the function and control of the Scrum master is limited

Apart from these minor drawbacks, Scrumban is still a pretty effective Agile framework.

Plus, for a lot of projects out there, these drawbacks are minimal. 

So now you might be wondering;

When Should I Consider Scrumban For My Projects?

Not every chemical goes well with each other, right?

You mix the wrong chemical, and things might go… 

So will Scrumban mix well with your business? 

Here are some situations in which Scrumban works best:

  • Software projects with frequent user story changes or programming bugs
  • Teams focusing on new product development
  • When Scrum doesn’t work efficiently due to workflow problems, processes, or resources

 

How To Implement Scrumban Effectively

While Scrumban is easier to implement than Agile methods like the Scrum framework, it doesn’t mean you can get started right away.

Think about it.

You need a Scrum and Kanban tool to:

  • Map out your Scrumban board
  • Organize your tasks
  • Track your progress

So what Scrum and Kanban tool should you use to make managing this a piece of cake?

 

The Best Scrum And Kanban Tool For 2020: ClickUp

ClickUp is the world’s highest-rated Scrumban project management software

Used by over 100,000 teams, including folks from startups as well as giants like Netflix, Google, Airbnb, and Nike, it’ll help you adopt the Scrumban approach easily. 

Here’s a look at some of ClickUp’s features that are essential to Scrumban management: 

A. Use ClickUp’s Board view as your personal Scrumban board

You can’t manage Scrumban without a Scrumban board, right?

That’d be like Walter White without his chemicals!

You’re missing out on the most essential part!

Luckily, ClickUp’s Board view is the perfect Scrumban board for your Scrumban team.

Use this view to visualize your tasks and projects — just like you would with a regular Scrumban board!

Except, ClickUp’s Board view is no regular Scrumban board. 

It’s packed with features to make it the perfect solution for your Agile project!

1. Drag and drop functionality for maximum ease of use

ClickUp’s Board view has a drag-and-drop interface to make moving your cards around a piece of cake!

Whenever you need to move your card to a separate column, just click on it and drag it to where you want to move it.

It’s that easy!

2. Custom Task Statuses for added adaptability

Let’s face it.

Most Scrumban boards are super-boring.

They usually have just three columns:

  • To do
  • Work in progress
  • Done

While this does get the job done for most teams, it’s highly limiting.

Think about it.

You’re going to be using the same column names for every project you work on. This means that your Agile marketing projects are going to have to follow the same structure as your software development projects!

Exactly.

Luckily ClickUp has a solution.

Based on your project, you can create Customized Statuses. You can create as many statuses you want, and save them as a template for future usage.

This way, each Scrumban project can have multiple columns to make progress tracking easier and more accurate!

3. Sort and filter features to make categorization easier

In ClickUp, your Scrumban board columns aren’t just organized from left to right like a boring, regular Scrumban board.

You can even sort columns individually to highlight important tasks at the top of each column. 

You can also organize your tasks based on their status, task name, priority, and more!

How does this help?

With these categorization features, you can quickly take stock of particular tasks in an instant! You won’t have to sift through all the cards in your Scrumban board to find the one that you were looking for!

Here are some of the filters ClickUp provides:

  • Status: view only tasks within a particular status
  • Due date: identify tasks that need to be completed in the near future
  • Assignee: view tasks assigned to a particular Scrum team member
  • Tags: sort your tasks by the tags you’ve attached to them

B. Lists to keep track of everything you have to do

Do you think Walter White could’ve kept track of everything he had to do without a list?

A core part about Scrumban is creating a list of tasks to keep track of what you’ll work on during your iterations. 

That’s why ClickUp has a powerful Lists feature to help you break down the sprint backlog items or deliverables for each iteration

As these are basically checklists, you can quickly check off each task as you progress. This way, it’s going to be super easy to keep track of the number of tasks you have remaining in an iteration

C. Priorities to always attempt what’s most important first

Walter White’s priority was always building up enough money for his family, right?

Everything else was secondary.

And that’s exactly what Scrumban is about.

No, not the money part…the part about a singular focus.

Why?

You have to attempt your most vital tasks first to maximize your chances of success.

But how do you do that when you have a ton of tasks building up in your “To-do” column?

By using ClickUp to prioritize them!

ClickUp lets you add Priorities to every task to make it easier for your Scrumban team to identify what’s most important. ClickUp’s Priority system is also color-coded to make it easier to read:

  • Red: your most urgent tasks
  • Yellow: important tasks
  • Blue: normal tasks
  • Grey: low priority tasks

However, that isn’t all.

You can even sort your tasks by Priority to quickly identify your most important tasks. You can even add Dependencies to them to ensure that your team can’t attempt a low priority task until the higher priority ones are completed!

D. Everything else you need to manage your Agile project effectively!

Project management features are like episodes of Breaking Bad — you can never get enough of them!

That’s why ClickUp has tons of other features to help you manage your Agile project, such as:

For a more detailed look at all of ClickUp’s features, click here.

 

Conclusion

While Scrum and Kanban seem like unlikely partners, they’re the perfect combination!

Much like these two here:

Scrumban is one of the easiest project management methods to adopt and will help you quickly streamline your workflows.

And since you can’t manage Scrumban without the right Scrumban tool, why not sign up for ClickUp today? It has all the features you need to get started with Scrumban right away!

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