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Combining Scrum and Kanban: A Comprehensive Guide for Product Managers and Teams


In the realm of agile methodologies, Scrum and Kanban are widely recognized and adopted. Both Scrum and Kanban offer unique benefits, but what if we combined the best of both worlds?

This article will discuss the power of combining Scrum and Kanban methodologies, and aims to provide detailed insights and step-by-step strategies for product managers and teams to implement Kanban effectively within their Scrum framework.

Overview of Scrum and Kanban

Before diving into the combination, let’s establish a basic understanding of Scrum and Kanban individually:

  • Scrum is an iterative and time-boxed framework that emphasizes collaboration, self-organization, and cross-functional teams. It operates in iterations called sprints and employs ceremonies like daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprint reviews, and retrospectives.

  • Kanban, on the other hand, focuses on visualizing work and workflow optimization. It employs a pull-based system, limiting work in progress (WIP), and aims to achieve a smooth flow of work items.

Scrum and Kanban share some common principles, such as transparency, continuous improvement, and customer-centricity. However, they differ in terms of prescribed roles, ceremonies, and timeboxing. Understanding these differences will help in effectively merging the methodologies.

The similarities

Despite their differences, Scrum and Kanban share key similarities that make their combination feasible and powerful. Both methodologies value the visualization of work, ensuring transparency and enabling teams to collaborate effectively. They emphasize continuous improvement, encouraging teams to identify bottlenecks and refine their processes incrementally. The shared focus on delivering customer value and fostering a culture of collaboration creates a solid foundation for merging the methodologies.

By combining Scrum and Kanban, product managers and teams can leverage the strengths of both approaches. They can benefit from Scrum’s structured framework, iterative development, and team accountability while gaining Kanban’s emphasis on flow, flexibility, and adaptability.

Combining Scrum and Kanban: Benefits and Challenges

The combination of Scrum and Kanban brings several benefits to product management. By merging the methodologies, teams can achieve increased flexibility, adaptability, and a more seamless flow of work. The visual nature of Kanban enables transparency and provides valuable insights into the status of work items. The iterative nature of Scrum allows for regular feedback and course correction.

However, challenges may arise when merging Scrum and Kanban: Balancing the structured framework of Scrum with the flexible nature of Kanban requires careful consideration. Teams may face difficulties in striking the right balance between timeboxing and continuous flow. Ensuring effective communication and collaboration between team members who may have different preferences or experiences with the methodologies is crucial.

By anticipating these challenges and implementing strategies to address them, product managers and teams can maximize the benefits of the hybrid approach.

How to implementing Kanban in a Scrum framework

To successfully implement Kanban within a Scrum framework, product managers and teams need to follow a step-by-step process. By following these steps, product managers and teams can seamlessly integrate Kanban practices within their Scrum framework and reap the benefits of both methodologies.

Step 1: Visualize your workflow

Start by visualizing your workflow using a Kanban board. Create columns that represent the stages of your work, such as “Backlog,” “Ready for Development,” “In Progress,” “Testing,” and “Done.” Use sticky notes or digital tools to represent each work item and move them across the board as they progress through the workflow.

Step 2: Set Work-in-Progress (WIP) limits

One of the key principles of Kanban is limiting the work in progress to maintain a smooth flow. Collaborate with your team to define appropriate WIP limits for each column on the Kanban board. WIP limits prevent the team from taking on too much work at once, reducing bottlenecks and improving focus.

Step 3: Visualize work items

Add work items to your Kanban board, starting with the backlog column. Each work item should be clearly defined and broken down into smaller tasks, if necessary. Ensure that the team understands the priority and requirements of each work item.

Step 4: Implement the " pull" system

Embrace the pull-based system of Kanban, where team members pull work items into their respective columns based on their capacity and availability. This approach ensures that the team is not overwhelmed with too much work and allows for better focus and prioritization.

Step 5: Continuously monitor and improve

Regularly review your Kanban board and metrics to monitor the flow and identify bottlenecks or areas for improvement. Use metrics such as cycle time (the time it takes for a work item to move from start to finish), lead time (the time it takes for a work item to be completed from the moment it is requested), and throughput (the number of work items completed over a specific time period) to gain insights into your team’s performance and identify areas for optimization.

Step 6: Collaborate and iterate

Encourage collaboration and continuous improvement within your team. Conduct regular stand-up meetings to discuss progress, address any blockers, and make adjustments to the workflow. Leverage retrospectives to reflect on the team’s performance and identify opportunities for growth.


Combining Scrum and Kanban methodologies provides a powerful approach for product managers and teams to enhance their product management practices. By leveraging the strengths of both methodologies, teams can achieve increased flexibility, adaptability, and a more seamless flow of work. While challenges may arise during the implementation, with careful consideration and strategies, these challenges can be overcome.

By implementing Kanban within a Scrum framework, product managers and teams can visualize their workflow, set WIP limits, implement a pull system, continuously monitor and improve, collaborate, and iterate. This detailed guide equips product managers and teams with the necessary knowledge and practical steps to start implementing Kanban effectively.

Remember, successful implementation of this hybrid approach requires experimentation, continuous learning, and adaptation. Embrace the flexibility and iterative nature of Scrum and Kanban to find the perfect balance that suits your product and team dynamics. With diligent implementation, the combined power of Scrum and Kanban can significantly enhance product management processes and drive successful outcomes.

~ Thanks for reading ~


By Alban Leandri

I am an engineer and technology enthusiast working as a digital product manager in the online privacy industry. I write to disseminate my expertise and share what I consider the best practices in the fields of digital product development, online marketing, and related subjects. :)

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