Kanban, Scrum, and Lean in Agile projects

Kanban, Scrum, and Lean are popular terms in Agile teams and projects. But what exactly do they mean?

Let’s take a look at when and how Kanban and the Scrum Board are used and what exactly Lean is.


Kanban is a popular Agile framework used in software development today. Kanban is a “Just in Time” (JIT) continuous production planning system. There are no sprints or roles in Kanban.

The teams’ tasks are presented visually on a “kanban board”, which allows team members to see the status of the work at any time. Source: https://www.policymatters.net/scrum-and-kanban-similarities-and-differences/

Kanban puts a limit on work in process by simply putting a limit on the number of tasks you can put in a column.

When a task (card) is completely ready, it must be removed from the board and a new one added in its place. The Kanban board is used continuously throughout the product development life cycle by simply changing the cards (tasks).

Scrum Board

When working with the Scrum framework, your dashboard usually has no limit on the exact number of tasks. The number of “cards” (tasks) is planned by you and your team during the Sprint Planning meeting. Reference: “Kanban or Scrum as a project management methodology“, https://www.islandjournal.net/kanban-or-scrum-as-a-project-management-methodology/

Scrum has Sprints and roles (Scrum Master and Product Owner).
In Scrum, at the end of each sprint, the board is cleaned and restarted (the Sprint is closed and a new one is prepared). Reference: “Scrum and Kanban: Differences and Similarities“, https://www.powerhp.net/scrum-and-kanban-differences-and-similarities/

New tasks are added and remain there until the end of the sprint. They are also often found in columns and have a corresponding status. In both cases, the teams are self-organizing. Reference: “Differences between Scrum and Kanban in Agile”, – https://www.kievpress.info/differences-between-scrum-and-kanban-agile/


First of all, it should be clear what LEAN is. Lean is a principle that minimizes “waste” and maximizes user value. In other words, Lean provides customers with products and/or services of high value (not cost, value, not cost) using fewer resources. Reference: “Lean thinking and implementation of Agile management“, https://wikipedia-lab.org/lean-thinking-and-implementation-of-agile-management/

The first step to implementing Lean thinking is to think about how the product/service path can be optimized from the beginning to the moment it reaches the consumer, it is also necessary to think about which processes are “waste” and how to eliminate them. Reference: “Lean and Agile software development”, https://mpmu.org/lean-and-agile-software-development/

Lean cannot be learned through PowerPoint, the only way is by doing.
One of the approaches is Value Stream Models – it is used to understand whether a given process is considered “waste” and how to eliminate it.

The next approach is the introduction of Kaizen, which means focusing on a given problem, looking for a way to fix it, improving the process, and removing old practices. We must constantly develop and improve. Reference: “Lean training and integration in organizations”, https://stc-montreal.org/lean-training-and-integration-in-organizations/

The next step is to create good channels of communication and feedback so that people from different teams and different levels of the organization can share ideas and views about the product, and the feedback helps to see the views of the customers about the product and to improve them.

It is also important to create a “blame-free” environment, it is normal to make mistakes, but we must accept and learn from them. Managers need to be understanding and patient, but this is a slow process. Reference: “Strategy for Lean Thinking and Learning in Organizations”, https://customessaysonline.net/strategy-for-lean-thinking/

Senior managers and Lean

Lean has to start with senior managers. Many organizations fail to implement Lean precisely because managers do not understand the concept and fail to use the method properly.

Once we have introduced the senior management to Lean thinking, we can move on to the next units and teams. For the transition to Lean practice to be successful, it is necessary for everyone to understand the importance and to participate with “open hearts and minds”.

To improve the product and eliminate “waste” practices, everyone needs to be involved in making decisions about product improvements and eliminating practices. Any idea for improvement is welcome, no matter where it comes from the customer, engineer, friend, student, or support.

The main problem we will encounter is The reluctance to use new work methods and the misunderstanding of why it is necessary to eliminate the previous practices and processes, especially if they have been working with them for a long time.

One of the approaches that can be used to deal with this problem is: gradually introducing Lean and creating a sense of commitment and participation of the opposing employees. Reference: “Lean integration in organizations – a real example“, https://mstsnl.net/lean-integration-in-organizations-example/

Another problem is the lack of support from the “top”. A team losing control can prevent Lean from being fully implemented, or at least reaching its full potential.

To deal with this problem, it is necessary to show them the qualities of Lean, show them the shortcomings of the previous work method, and to win their trust.

“Lean is a journey, not a destination”. He focuses on constant learning and development. Often teams stop developing when they achieve some success.
An appropriate method to deal with this is to reward teams or team members who do not stop developing, thus incentivizing the continuation of this development and motivating others to do the same.