Scrumban Guide for Agile Project Managers
Scrumban is the Tesla of project management methodologies. It is one of the most revolutionary concepts popularized in the 21st century. Find out why.
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I think hybrid project management is one of the most revolutionary concepts popularized in the 21st century. Scrumban is one of them. It’s like they took two great concepts and combined them to achieve perfection. Scrumban is the Tesla of project management methodologies. There’s a couple of reasons for that: Firstly, it is the next big thing. And secondly, it an extremely intelligent product.
It was developed by Corey Ladas to make the best use of both Scrum and Kanban to achieve better results. Let’s dive into the write-up and get to know what is Scrumban methodology.
Bringing the Best of Both Worlds Through Scrumban!
Precisely, that is what Scrumban is – the best of both worlds! Let’s look at it mathematically:
Scrum + Kanban = SCRUMBAN
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, if you know about Scrum and Kanban then yes, it is really simple. But if you don’t, it’s still easy to understand because we are going to tell you what Scrum and Kanban really are:
It’s a popular Agile framework used to improve production. Scrum uses sprints (iterations) to complete the work in a better, more efficient way. In other words, it divides a project into smaller parts (sprints). The benefit of this breakdown is that you can focus on individual tasks better.
You can also get feedback on a completed sprint or review it yourself before moving on with the project. This decreases the tendency of mistakes and improves project quality.
The process is repeated until you reach near-perfection in delivering a project or a product. However, it has its limitations. Listed below are the major issues with Scrum:
Issues with Scrum
- It’s not very user-friendly – it requires the services of a professional to fully utilize the potential of Scrum.
- Scrum is built for small to medium-sized teams. The breakdown method is not successful for large teams.
- It takes time to get a hang of it. To ensure smooth working with Scrum, you need to know about some basic terms like lead time, cycle time, user story, etc.
The ‘ban’ part of Scrumban is another popular methodology used to manage projects. Like Scrum, Kanban is also based on Agile. The Agile methodology has given birth to several methodologies. Lean, extreme programming, Scrum, Kanban, etc. the list goes on. The primary difference between Kanban and Scrum is that the former is more visual.
In fact, many describe Kanban as a visual-first project management methodology used widely in the business world. Kanban uses boards or cards to show the entire workflow of the project right in front of every team member to view and/or edit.
It usually has three columns:
- Work in Progress,
- Completed status mode.
Every stakeholder can view the progress of the project. Kanban method is a great help to project managers in monitoring and controlling the project activities.
Yet, Kanban comes up short in some areas.
Issues with Kanban
- More focus on visualization tends to overlook the priority of each task.
- The Kanban method doesn’t have timeframes. This can make working on a project significantly hard as projects have deadlines.
- It is prone to miscommunication. As the method emphasizes on the workflow and encourages communication via Kanban boards or cards only, team members may misunderstand each other.
Scrum + Kanban = SCRUMBAN
Now you can finally understand what is Scrumban methodology. In a nutshell, Scrumban is a project management framework/methodology that works on combines the structure of Scrum with the visualization and flexibility of Kanban to provide amazing results.
Here’s how Scrumban takes the good parts of both Scrum and Kanban and turn them into something fantastic:
The ‘Scrum’ Part of Scrumban
Scrumban takes the most vital element of Scrum i.e. breaking down the project into smaller cycles. In Scrumban the word sprints are replaced by iterations. Plus, it includes a planning meeting to list down possible items that have to be worked upon as the project progresses. You keep tackling these items till there’s none left.
The ‘Kanban’ Part of Scrumban
Similarly, Scrumban adopts the best part of Kanban – the visualization. The workflow approach used by Kanban helps Scrumban to keep up with each task’s progress. However, in Scrumban, the boards are called Scrumban boards instead of Kanban boards. But the boards function almost the same way. Moreover, Scrumban also limits the work you have in a task. This doesn’t push the team to do too much at once.
The use of diagrams, charts, and statistical figures to measure project progress is highly advantageous for Scrumban. Lastly, just as in Kanban, the users of Scrumban can view the progress of tasks in real-time. The resulting framework is nothing short of awesome. The Hybrid approach lets you improve the work process consistently and get improved results every time.
Scrumban focuses on simplification, standardization, and specialization. To unleash its full potential, a company needs to hire professionals who specialize in their field and will complete tasks in a better way.
Next, Scrumban will simplify the workflow processes and help the firm to standardize its infrastructure.
Best Tips for Scrumban Beginners
It is about time to give you what you really came here for; a comprehensive guide on Scrumban.
We have rounded up some tips for you to make your Scrumban experience better:
- Recognize when to use Scrumban. As we have just explained all three in detail, it’s gonna be easy for you to determine when to use Scrum, Kanban, or Scrumban.
- Keep the current activities in mind while working on a project. The work done or yet to be done is nothing more than just distractions that take you off the track.
- Ensure that the Scrumban board is simple and concise. Too much information can make things confusing for your team.
- Multitasking is an absolute no. It will mess up your WIP
- Always have realistic expectations from the project in terms of deadlines, resources, and deliverables.
- Analyze the process as you move from one task to another. It will help you in pinpointing potential risks and issues.
- Establish success criteria and make sure everyone in the team knows about it. The team must know if it’s moving in the right direction or not.
- Make the best use of the Scrumban board; make it as interactive and fun as you can. It will encourage the team to learn more about it.
- Always remember the Scrumban methodology and what its capable of doing. Lack of technical knowledge may put your team off from using this methodology.
The Benefits of Using Scrumban
Scrumban Methodology was created for the sole purpose of harnessing the power of both Scrum and Kanban. It would be unfair not to mention its benefits here:
- It simplifies the workflow. With the task breakdown part of Scrum and visualization of Kanban, Scrumban allows the users to swift through project activities with ease.
- The resulting output is of high quality. It goes without saying that when you take the best parts of two amazing Agile methodologies, it is destined for greatness.
- Scrumban methodology is excellent for time management as well. As everyone in the team ca view/edit the task progress, a crystal-clear picture of the overall project is always portrayed to the team.
- It reduces waste. Thanks to its Scrum part, Scumban visits each task regularly until it is perfected. Anything which is not required by customers is discarded.
- Scrumban provides increased clarity of the project tasks and activities. The board enables the team to see what is going on, what is finished, what is delayed, etc.
- Easier to execute a project. The tasks are divided and manifested on the Scrumban board. Completing tasks instead of the whole project at once gives a greater sense of achievement to the team.
- You can achieve regular improvements and reduce the lead time with Scrumban to deliver a better product.
And Some Challenges:
There might be a few challenges too:
- It may be hard to measure the output/productivity. This is because the team selects the tasks themselves and daily meetings (like in Scrum) are not required to track the progress.
- Since the Scrumban methodology gives a free hand to the team members, the project manager finds it difficult to exercise control.
Implement Scrumban the Right Way
Lastly, we won’t just leave you hanging. There’s no shadow of a doubt that Scrumban is much easier than Scrum, Kanban, or any other Agile method. Yet, you need to do it the right way to utilize it properly.
Here are a few pointers for you:
- Have a mental map of how your Scrumban board should look like. Then, work on it a few times to get the best version.
- Even with this super method, you need to do your part to make the project work. Organize each task in the best way possible.
- Track your progress while working on the project. The board will help you track all tasks. Make sure you visit it regularly.
Additionally, Scrumban works best when:
- You have a software project in your hand. It requires frequent changes and bug fixes
- The project is about working on a new product. This task requires frequent improvements too.
What Else Do You Need to Know about Scrumban?
Scrumban is the future. And you know what happens to firms which do not adopt the latest tech. Take Nokia for example – A market leader once, it’s a rare thing for someone to own a Nokia phone nowadays.
Don’t waste time looking for the best PM methodologies. Equip yourself and your company with this methodology to manage projects in the best possible way.
Published at DZone with permission of Fred Wilson, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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