Thoughts on Agile, Scrum, Lean and Kanban
Scrum of course is an Agile practice and is based on the Agile Manifesto and accompanying principles. Kanban is a Lean practice that should be understood in the context of the Toyota Production System (TPS)
I like this diagram illustrating the shared precepts of the perishable nature of knowledge work and continuous improvement. Outside that shared space are the driving forces behind Lean: eliminating waste and emphasizing throughput; and in the Agile domain: releasing work early and often, and the need for trust and collaboration.
To elaborate further, here's a summary list of similarities I see between Scrum and Kanban:
- Pull scheduling
- WIP limits
- Transparency drives process improvement
- Deliver finished work early and often
- Self-organizing teams
- Break work into small pieces
- Continuously optimized plans based on empirical observation (velocity in Scrum; lead time in Kanban
- What experience does the organization have with Agile and Lean already? If there already is a cultural or experiential bias toward one or the other, go with it.
- How well aligned is the organizational culture with Agile or Lean principles and values? It's very difficult to succeed with an approach that is opposed by cultural norms and values.
- What's the nature of the work? Scrum works very well with software development. Kanban seems to work better than Scrum for IT Ops, reporting services, some types of marketing work, etc.