Even though it has been thrown around the project management world for a while now, Scrum-ban is still a foggy concept to most of us. Some see it as improved scrum, others as improved kanban and while this train of thought is on the right path, it is not quite correct. Let us try and explain the hype of scrum-ban.

By definition scrum-ban is a mix of scrum and kanban. However, instead of being an improvement of either, it is a brand new approach especially dedicated to the teams working in fast-paced and fast-changing environments that require flexibility. This the event-driven approach is designed to push practices only when they are needed and no sooner. Compared to the traditional agile approaches, it offers wiggle room for teams that have to change their priorities often.

Alongside the flexibility in the planning process, scrum-ban brings structure on the day to day basis. The team roles are clearly defined, tasks prioritized, WIP (work in progress) limits set and daily meetings held. This ensures that the team is working effectively and moving forward. The empowered team roles and cross-functional teams, mean that team members can pull tasks from the backlog themselves and help each other in the case of a bottleneck situation.

To understand this a little better, let us take a look at a software development company that has to often adjust their goals based on the customers’ requirements. With an event-driven approach like scrum-ban, they would work in short iterations, planning only one iteration ahead. This, compared to the traditional agile approaches,  would allow them to change the course of action quickly and with little to no loss of time and resources. Keeping the planning flexible, the daily operations would be structured – holding daily meetings, setting clear priorities and each team member pulling their own tasks to complete. This would provide clarity and certainty for the team in the fast-moving environment. 

By mixing structure and flexibility in this way, scrum-ban embraces the uncertain environment that a lot of us are working in these days. It is one of the first approaches that is built to work in these conditions, instead of trying to fight them.  

To find out more about scrum-ban practices, check out our detailed guide “Step into scrum-ban”.