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Agile Frameworks - num:5 Scrum-ban


Scrum-ban is an Agile development methodology that is a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban frameworks. Scrum-ban emerged using Kanban as a lens through which to view and manage a Scrum work process and to meet the needs of teams wanting minimize the batching of work and adopt a pull-based system.

Recognized Manifestations of Scrum-ban - note that it not restricted in practice to only software development

  1. A framework for evolving Scrum to a unique set of processes and practices.
  2. A framework for introducing and adapting Scrum as a software development methodology.
  3. A framework for overcoming common challenges with scaling Scrum across an enterprise.

Benefits of Scrum-ban:

  • Communication of Scrum
  • Continuous improvement of Kanban
  • Fosters cross-functional teams
  • Demos in every sprint
  • QA involved from the beginning
  • WIP limits remove bottlenecks
  • Retrospectives provide process improvements

Review: Scrum vs. Kanban - Roles:

Scrum: There are 3 Roles: Product Owner; Scrum Master; Development Team

  • Roles: Product owner is responsible for the product vision and priorities and who decides which items or user stories are the most important to work on and complete in a sprint. The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum process is going as agreed, removes any issues in the process and provides leadership with regards to the way it works. The team actually builds and implements the product.

Kanban & Scrum-ban: There are not clearly defined roles for team members – so the roles may vary and it is up to the team whether any roles should be used at all.

  • In some circumstances; the term Agile Coach is used interchangeably with Scrum Master with Kanban and/or Scrum-ban.
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Scrum vs. Kanban into Scrum-ban Flow

Scrum - Elements include Iterations; stand-ups; demos; retrospectives

  • Board/Artifacts: Basic Board; Product Backlog; Sprint Backlog; Product Increment; Burndown Chart
  • Ceremonies: Daily Scrum; Sprint Planning; Sprint Review; Sprint Retrospective
  • Prioritization: Part of Backlog Grooming; done by the Product Owner
  • Who brings WIP: Product Owner
  • Impediments: Dealt with immediately
  • Iterations: Yes

Kanban - Elements include Just in Time planning and WIP

  • Board/Artifacts: Mapped on Process Board
  • Ceremonies: None Required
  • Prioritization: Out of the process; backlog should be prioritized.
  • Who brings WIP: Depends on defined roles and responsibilities
  • Iterations: No - Continuous Flow


  • Board/Artifacts: Mapped on Process Board
  • Ceremonies: Daily Scrum and other scrum related ceremonies as needed
  • Prioritization: Out of the process; backlog should be prioritized.
  • Who brings WIP: Depends on defined roles and responsibilities
  • Impediments: Avoided
  • Iterations: Not mandatory - Continuous Flow; could have sprints

Scrum-ban: The basics of combining Scrum and Kanban

Kanban is an effective visual management system where the whole team can visibly see a board that shows where work items are in the workflow. For this reason, some teams utilize it within the context of other frameworks such as Scrum. For example, a team interested in combining the agility of Scrum with concepts of flow and a "pull" system of work. These teams may start to evolve their use of Scrum as a planning framework, while utilizing Kanban to limit work in process, achieve flow, and have work items be continually prioritized.

Visualizing Scrum-ban

  • Need based and short Iterations (similar to Scrum and Kanban)
  • Definite team and roles as needed
  • On Demand and Bucket Planning
  • Lead and Cycle time as key metric
  • Workflow defined added to board based on highest priority, task limits using WIP
  • New tasks allowed in a live iteration
  • Persistent Kanban Board - only tasks and priorities change

Bucket size planning basically means that within a given time period, we understand the capacity or the average capacity or throughput of a team, and we ensure that the items or the number of items that we put inside that duration do not exceed that capacity

  1. The 1-year bucket: may have a number of high-level ideas. Lessons learned/previous experience shows limit capacity for high-level ideas/year at 4
  2. The 6-month bucket: where we know that once we've translated those high-level ideas to goals which translate to number of teams. being careful not to push capacity.
  3. The 3-month bucket: translate those requirements or stories to our production board.

In Scrum-ban, team members use the Pull principle to choose tasks. The "Doing" column usually has a WIP limit. If the limit has not been reached, and maybe for example our limit in this example is three, and we only have two items in the "Doing" column, then team members know that they can pull something from the "To-Do" column. They will focus on pulling the highest priority item and start working on that. The Pull principle means is they are not waiting for a supervisor to come and tell them that it is time to pull an item from the "To-Do" Column". The concept of "Feature Freeze" is used near the project deadline in order to ensure that items that won't get completed in time are pulled.

In Scrum-ban the general rule of thumb is once you've completed about two-thirds of your way through to the project deadline, it's a good idea to start implementing a feature freeze. The concept of triage is implemented in Scrum-ban, where directly after feature freeze, teams assess which items that are in progress may not make it to Done, and then those items are removed from the release plan and communicated to stakeholders.

Scrum-Ban Terms

  • AVERAGE CYCLE TIME: Calculates the average time from task started to it being delivered.
  • TRIAGE TRIGGER: Notifies the team if there is only 5-15% of the overall time to release date.
  • TRIAGE: An event where the team decides which tasks will be completed and which will not.
  • FEATURE FREEZE: Done after triage, the team stops planning and adding any new features.
  • PLANNING BUCKETS: Used to introduce long-term planning; includes 1-year, 6-month, 3-month options.
  • PLANNING TRIGGER: Determines how many tasks should be left in the backlog before planning session occurs.


Published at with the consent of the author

Bill Washinski

About author

The Agile Financial: Project Manager and Consultant

Bill is business process improvement professional with over 7 Professional Designations and Certifications in financial industries, traditional and agile project management frameworks. Bill in analyzing data, mitigating risks and eliminating waste for organizations and people while implementing strategic plans that maximize profit, growth, protection and stability.

Bill began his agile journey in 2009 while incorporating agile practices of research projects into deliverables guiding companies, organizations and individuals through the impact of the Great Recession. Through a model of continuous improvement, Bill has established unique methods to successfully integrate agile practices of Scrum, Lean and Kanban frameworks into operations, sales, research and training projects across multiple industries and with different teams.

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