Kanban Methodology

Kanban promotes continuous collaboration and encourages active, ongoing learning and improving by defining the best possible team workflow.

Kanban is based on 3 basic principles

  • Visualize what you do today (workflow): seeing all the items in context of each other can be very informative
  • Limit the amount of work in progress (WIP): this helps balance the flow-based approach so teams don’t start and commit to too much work at once
  • Enhance flow: when something is finished, the next highest thing from the backlog is pulled into play

How is kanban different from scrum?

Both kanban and scrum focus on releasing software early and often. Both require highly collaborative and self-managed teams. There are, however, differences between the approaches:

Kanban Scrum
No prescribed roles kanban-different-from-scrum-icon Pre-defined roles of scrum master, product owner, and team member
Continuous delivery kanban-different-from-scrum-icon Time-boxed sprints
Work is “pulled” through the system (single piece flow) kanban-different-from-scrum-icon Work is “pulled” through the system in batches (the sprint backlog)
Changes can be made at any time kanban-different-from-scrum-icon No changes allowed mid-sprint
Cycle time kanban-different-from-scrum-icon Velocity
More appropriate in operational environments with a high degree of variability in priority kanban-different-from-scrum-icon More appropriate in situations where work can be prioritized in batches that can be left alone

Organization, culture, and team dynamics often determine which method is the best fit.

Benefits of kanban

Kanban and scrum at their core are summarized by the premise: stop starting, start finishing. The entire team’s focus is on getting to “done” for the tasks in progress.


  • Shorter cycle times can deliver features faster
  • Responsiveness to change:
    • When priorities change very frequently, kanban is ideal
  • Balancing demand against throughput guarantees that most the customer-centric features are always being worked
  • Requires less organization and fewer room set-up changes to get started
  • Reducing waste and removing activities that don’t add value to the team/department/organization
  • Rapid feedback loops improve the chances of more motivated, empowered, and higher-performing team members

Kanban and Digital.ai Agility

Digital.ai Agility, formerly VersionOne, supports multiple teams using multiple agile methodologies. Teams use Digital.ai Agility to track the status of their items, setting WIP limits for each process stage to help them identify, manage, and mitigate constraints with the goal of optimizing the team’s flow.

Teams interested in kanban benefit from Digital.ai Agility’s customizable kanban board and collaboration capabilities. You should have a look at Digital.ai Agility if your kanban teams are:

  • Distributed
  • Using multiple development methodologies across the entire “larger” team (scrum, XP, DSDM)
  • Seeking to automate the tracking of your projects
  • Gaining insight from roll-up reporting via multiple teams and projects
  • Searching to improve delivery performance.