Friday, 26 November 2010

Scrum, Lean and Kanban Training

So over the first 3 days of this week I attended a Certified ScrumMaster course and a Lean & Kanban course back to back and it has been interesting to see the differences between them which I’ll get to in a bit.

Certified ScrumMaster

The course was run by Paul from Agilify with some help from Geoff and with some very good exercises demonstrated very quickly the benefits of an iterative approach to work and how retrospectives can drive continuous improvement.
Over the 2 days Paul & Geoff explained where Scrum came from, how it works, the Agile Manifesto, the 5 values of scrum, etc and how you can use all these things day to day to help you.  The second day the value of iterative working, fail fast, etc was all demonstrated by splitting us into 2 teams and building a lego city in four 11 minute sprints included planning, review and retrospectives, this gave people a compressed experience of Scrum which allowed the course attendees to see how the various parts of the process fitted together.
The course was finished with Paul & Geoff going over some of the things a ScrumMaster does & doesn’t do, Scrum Fact or Myth and a competition between the teams in relation to everything we had covered over the last couple of days.
I thought that the course was excellent and I believe that the attendees who had never heard of Scrum before went away from this course with a really good idea of what Scrum was about and how you went about doing it.

Lean and Kanban

In contrast this was a single day course covering Lean principles/practices and Kanban, it was run by Bazil Arden who has a lot of experience in Scrum and Lean.
Bazil started off by outlining how Lean has evolved from the Toyota Production System in the 1930’s through to today so you get the idea that this isn’t some new fad methodology and in fact the manufacturing industry has been using it during this time.
Lean is a comes with a toolkit of different principles, practices and techniques to help identify problems in your organisation and ways that you can tackle those problems.
Finally Bazil took us through Kanban covering its origin and how it is used today  with software development, he outlined the Kanban is used in its most basic form and then how you can ‘enhance’ Kanban to provide additional value for your organisation.

The differences & Similarities

So the main difference between them is that Lean is a complete methodology that also includes a work scheduling system where as Scrum is a lightweight process just for project management that has no proscribed techniques or practices for identifying and solving problems.
The main similarity is that both Lean & Scrum look to an empowered team to get the most of of them and this ranges from being able to come up with solutions to any problems they face.
Both Scrum and Kanban make use of a board to track the work in progress with the intention of making any problems very visible so that everybody can see there is a problem and can then look to tackle them.
After seeing how Kanban should work in practice I believe that the basic version of Kanban is not the best fit for the delivery of software projects but I can see how it would be perfect for a team handling support.


I believe that for software development Scrum is the better fit for managing the work involved in a defined project, however, if you are dealing with support I can see how Kanban would provide the same sort of benefits as Scrum but with even less overhead.
There is absolutely no reason that you couldn’t take the Lean practices and principles such as 5 Whys and use them with Scrum.
I think that ultimately it comes down to what works for you, just take the time to look into the different tools and decide what works best for you.


  1. Hope you enjoyed the training Nathan, and maybe asked some more questions as well as providing answers.

  2. Hi Nathan! Well, that training seemed to be a lot of fun! My friends had this kind of presentation in their office too. It helped them earn customer loyalty and they are more satisfied with their work.

  3. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again

    Scrum Process