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Scrum, Lean, or Kanban? Find out which agile system should you consider. Know the practices and values of Scrum, Lean, and Kanban.

Scrum vs Kanban vs Lean

As organisations are becoming more and more conscious about increasing efficiency, removing waste, and building cross-functional teams for faster outputs, Agile management systems are becoming increasingly popular in the modern world. These methods help organizations become more responsive, flexible, and adaptive to change. Among the most popular agile systems are Scrum, Lean, and Kanban.

scrum vs kanban vs lean

Each Agile management system has positives and negatives and can be used in different situations. The above-given picture shows statistics on which Agile method is mainly preferred. Scrum is largely used for complex projects, Lean improves flow and increases value, and Kanban is used for managing and visualizing workflow.

These skills are offered as short courses for people who want to specialize their project productions using any of these systems. We will explore the similarities and differences between these Scrum, Kanban, and Lean, and know how these three systems can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your organization. 


Scrum is an iterative and incremental framework often used in software development. It is based on small, cross-functional teams working together to deliver valuable products or services. Scrum uses a set of defined roles, ceremonies, and artefacts to guide the team’s work.

Scrum vs. Lean vs. Kanban: Which agile system is better?

The 5 key principles of Scrum include:

  • Self-organization
  • Collaboration
  • Value-based prioritization
  • Time-boxing
  • Iterative development


Lean is a philosophy that traces its origin to the principles of the Toyota Production System. Mainly, it focuses on waste reduction, flow improvement, and increasing customer value. It is often used in manufacturing and service industries.

Scrum vs. Lean vs. Kanban: Which agile system is better?

The 5 key principles of Lean include:

  • Point out the value
  • Identify value stream
  • Creating the flow
  • Pull system
  • Perfection


Kanban is a visual system for managing work and uses a Kanban board to visualize the workflow and firmly emphasizes limiting work in progress to improve flow and reduce lead times. Kanban is often used in software development and IT operations.

Scrum vs. Lean vs. Kanban: Which agile system is better?

The 4 key principles of Kanban include:

  • Visualize the flow
  • Limit work in progress (WIP)
  • Focus and flow
  • Continuous improvement

The below-given table highlights the key differences between practices and values of Scrum, Lean, and Kanban agile systems:

Scrum Lean Kanban
  • Daily stand-up meetings

 Short meetings where team members discuss what they accomplished the previous day and what they plan to work on today.

  • Sprint planning

A meeting where the team sets goals and plans for the upcoming sprint.

  • Sprint backward-looking

A meeting is held for the team to look at their previous sprint and point out areas that need improvement.

  • Product accumulation

A hierarchical list of features and tasks must be completed for the item.

  • Scrum master

A team member who acts as a facilitator and helps the team follow Scrum practices.

  • Kaizen

A continuous improvement process that encourages team members to identify and eliminate waste.

  • Value stream mapping

A tool used to identify and improve workflow from start to finish.

  • Kanban boards

A visual tool used to track the flow of work and identify bottlenecks.

  • Pull systems

A system where work is pulled into the process as needed rather than being pushed through the process.

  • 5S

 A system for organizing and maintaining a clean and efficient work environment.

  • Visualize the workflow 

Use a Kanban board to visualize the flow of work and identify bottlenecks.

  • Limit Work in Progress

Limit the number of tasks actively being worked on at any given time.

  • Manage flow

Use pull systems to manage the flow of work and minimize delays.

  • Make process policies explicit

Clearly define the process and policies that govern the workflow.

  • Implement feedback loops

Regularly gather feedback to improve the process continuously.

  • Transparency

Scrum promotes open communication and visibility of progress to all stakeholders.

  • Inspection

Scrum encourages the team to inspect their work regularly and adjust as needed.

  • Adaptation

Scrum allows changes throughout the project based on new information and feedback.

  • Courage

Scrum requires team members to speak up and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Focus

Scrum prioritizes the most critical tasks to be completed and worked on.

  • Continuous improvement

Lean encourages teams to look for ways to improve processes and reduce waste continuously.

  • Respect for people

Lean values the contributions and opinions of all team members.

  • Elimination of waste 

Lean focuses on identifying and removing unnecessary steps in a process.

  • Building quality in 

Lean emphasizes the importance of creating a high-quality product or service.

  • Creating knowledge

Lean encourages teams to learn and share knowledge to improve processes.

  • Visualizing workflow

Kanban uses a visual board to show the progress of work and identify bottlenecks.

  • Managing flow 

Kanban focuses on managing workflow to ensure a steady and consistent value delivery.

  • Making process policies explicit

Kanban encourages teams to clearly define their processes and make them visible to all team members.

  • Implementing feedback loops 

Kanban encourages teams to gather feedback regularly and make improvements accordingly.

  • Improving collaboratively

Kanban encourages team members to work together and improve processes as a team.

Scrum vs Kanban vs Lean: What are the Similarities? 

  • All three methodologies prioritize flexibility and adaptability, allowing teams to respond quickly to changing requirements or unexpected obstacles.
  • They all focus on continuous improvement and strive for efficiency in the delivery of value to customers.
  • Visualization techniques, such as boards or cards, help teams understand workflow and identify bottlenecks.
  • Use time-boxed iterations, called sprints in Scrum and iterations in Lean, to deliver incremental improvements.
  • All of them take part in promoting active communication and collaboration among the leaders, stakeholders, and the team

Final thoughts

These systems are aimed at being adaptable and flexible, allowing the team to respond quickly to changes in the business environment. By using Scrum, Lean, and Kanban, organizations can better manage their projects, improve workflow, and increase overall efficiency and productivity.


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