Project Management Simplified: The Power of Scrumban

What is Scrumban?

Scrumban is a hybrid Agile development methodology that has the combined blend of the important features of Scrum and Kanban.

Let's walk through the essence of Scrum, Kanban, and Scrumban here in this blog.


Origin of Scrumban

Corey Ladas first introduced the Scrumban concept in 2009 when he published “Scrumban: Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development”. He explained Scrumban as a way to transition from Scrum to a more evolved framework.


What are Scrum and Kanban?

Primarily, let's figure out Scrum and Kanban as distinct concepts.

Scrum and Kanban are two well-known Agile development methodologies that have set their benchmark in the industry.


Scrum methodology focuses on delivering the project via an iterative and incremental process through time-boxed cycles called Sprints.

Each sprint is carried out for a fixed duration of time. It starts with prioritizing the list of features in Sprint Backlog, distributing the features under different sprints via sprint planning, and running daily scrum meetings to discuss the progress of the work.


Kanban methodology focuses on the 'Pull' method based on the demand. It is more about using cards similar to sticky notes to help manage just-in-time delivery.

These cards enable the team members to easily see what is completed and what still needs to be done. The Kanban board is a virtual board that shows how tasks move through it from beginning to completion.

The most basic Kanban board only has three workflows: To Do, In Progress, and Complete. But, columns can be added or changed to suit your project.

Why Scrumban?

Though Scrum and Kanban are big-league agile development methodologies, why did the industry unfold a new way of working called Scrumban? Let's elaborate here.

Scrumban evolved to aid the project management that aimed at minimizing the batching of work and adopting a pull-based system. Many teams use Scrumban as a transition point between a less mature and more mature agile practice.

This framework combines the Scrum structure with Kanban's flexibility to make teams more agile, efficient, and productive.

A scrumban board mainly helps to find those potential bottlenecks in the workflow and resolve them before they become a problem. It allows the project managers to see where the most tasks are and address the slackening at the earliest.

Scrum is usually divided into multiple sprints with ages varying from 1-4 weeks to 1-8 weeks and so handling small projects with less tenure is easy here. Whereas, Scrumban is a good choice for long-term projects that has a tenure of 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year.

Kanban Board basically has only 'To Do', 'Work In Progress', and 'Done'. In the Scrumban board, we can insert the required development levels as per the project's need.


Scrumban approach is the mixture of the best working features of Scrum and Kanban and discards the adverse features of both.

Scrum features in Scrumban  

  • Conducting sprint retrospectives and sprint review meetings at the end of each sprint aids in implementing process iteration at consistent intervals.

  • Based on the task complexity and the business demand, the workload is prioritized.

  • The 'Definition of Done' - The whole team agrees and aligns on the acceptance and exit criteria, this means the results are clearly defined.

Kanban features in Scrumban  

  • Items to be completed are maintained in the 'To Do Level', which enables a team member to 'Pull' the required tasks, as and when the current workload is completed anytime.

  • Upper/Lower limits are set for the number of tasks that are currently in progress to ensure none of the team members are overloaded or undercharged.

  • Visual representation of the tasks in the Kanban board shows the different stages of the process the tasks are moving throughout the development.


How Scrumban can be beneficial?

Let's discuss the Scrumban project management benefits.

  • It cuts out the weaknesses of Scrum and Kanban and executes the strengths of both.

  • The blend of scrum and kanban brings more flexibility to the workflow and hence helps the management to react faster and better to potential changes, do necessary amendments, and see the results in a short span of time.

  • It enforces the transparency of the work being done and hence improves the efficiency of the team.

  • It eliminates the delay in a workflow. The scrumban board can clearly visualize where the items are stagnant and alarms the team to act upon them.

  • Great for long-term or large-scale projects. Project needs will change as time goes on and scrumban method helps to iterate and improve the process to keep up with those changes.

  • It allows team members the opportunity to make decisions and prioritize work as they see fit, rather than just completing work that’s assigned by a Scrum master or product owner.


Any cons in using Scrumban  ?

Yes, there are a few, but those can be mitigated by adopting the relevant features from Scrum and Kandan based on the project requirement.

  • Since the teams have the freedom to choose what task they work on it will be difficult to track the effort and contribution of individual team members on the scrumban board.

  • Project managers have less control over the board.

  • Scrumban is dependent on the way the team work. It only works if the team has at least some degree of control over their workload.

  • Since it is a new methodology, we cannot find any established process.


To Wrap Up

At Infinijith, we are using Scrumban in project management and it aids us to manage and track the projects under multiple sprints effectively.

Additionally, eliminating certain cons of Scrumban and the combination of scrum and kanban processes along with daily stand-ups, sprint retrospectives, sprint reviews, etc., brings more value to the management.

However, this methodology is an exercise in itself to figure out if a particular framework is working out.

If something is being tried out, stick with it for a few sprints, track the progress, get feedback from the team, and learn about their experiences.

It often takes time to see the actual effect when a team is transitioning to a new way of working completely.

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A Senior Project Manager handling multiple Agile Development Projects. Certified in Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.