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Our coaching team at agilesparks runs into this question a lot.
Many of the teams we are working with are familiar with Scrum and using it. Other teams are just now going into Scrum.
Since kanban is becoming a hot buzzword, we often get asked – so what is this kanban thing? How is it related to Scrum?
We needed a good answer, that depends on the context, the amount of time you have to answer, and the maturity of the person/forum asking.
In this post, I will try to give the answer you give when someone finds you in an elevator, the last 2 minutes of a workshop, or on the way back from lunch, in short both you and him have a very short time to give an answer.
Add to that that his knowledge is quite limited.
"What you might have heard about kanban is that its scrum without sprints.
I would say that Scrum is an agile approach where the container used to protect, focus and challenge the team is the time-boxed sprint.
Kanban is another Agile approach! In Kanban the container used to protect, focus and challenge is limiting the amount of things we do in parallel – Limiting the Work in Progress. If you need to remember one thing – remember and lookup Limit the WIP"
If you are in a very high building, you can also add:
"Mixing the two can lead to beautiful results – called ScrumBan. Also one of the biggest differences is in how an Agile change usually looks like with Scrum/Kanban. Scrum is a revolutionary big change up front approach. Kanban is more of an evolutionary laser-focused approach where you find where to focus (using the WIP limit as the challenging force), do something there, continue to the next area to focus on. If you've heard of TOC, its quite similar in how it manages change. "
Now all of this is very simplistic, but probably concepts like Cycle Time, the Lean origins, and other Kanban goodies are too much for a rookie with very short attention span at the moment.
The important thing is to grow an interest for what this WIP limit means and look it up.