Episode 18: Scrum vs Kanban War

TanksBreaking out from our normal format Craig, Tony and Renee talk about the recent flurry of tweets from the Scrum and Kanban communities.

It all started with Jeff Sutherland and his tweet and blog cross reference: Deep analysis of #kanban by Jim Coplien

The twitter feed that was captured by us (and hence is not a comprehensive feed on the subject and contains some leetspeak cleanup) includes:

David Anderson (@agilemanager):

Interesting FUD Jeff, I thought you were more professional than this?    

Jim’s post on Jeff’s blog contains lies which fly in the face of the well documented evidence with teams around the world   

Jeff and Jim, I challenge you to produce the evidence to backup claims like…   

“Kanban (the methodology) discourages teamwork and increases the risk of not completing agreed work”   

I often wonder how people without integrity go through life and live with themselves. Weirder is that others follow them turning a blind eye.   

It appears the scrum leadership declared war on kanban today. Interesting move! They must feel very threatened and cornered!   

The Kanban community will continue to focus on helping people in the daily work solve their real world problems.   

Thorsten O. Kalnin (@vinylbaustein):

 Stop fighting and start collaborating! There is no universal concept, it’s all about individuals!! 

Klaus Leopold (@klausleopold):

 I’m not sure if people who are writing something like this have ever seen a team using Kanban in the real world.

David Bland (@davidjbland):

My agile is better than your agile

Vasco Duarte (@duarte_vasco):

Another take – RT @begjaminm Jim Coplien’s Kanban peice: “Scrum to Kanban: We’re more true to Toyota than you are!”

Lasse Koskela (@lassekoskela):

Dear Santa, Please let Kanban and Scrum practitioners ignore FUD from “leaders” and distinguish method from individuals promoting method.

Rodrigo Yoshima (@rodrigoy):

Wondering… what’s the relevant and practical experience of Jim Coplien with Kanban?

Dave Rooney (@daverooneyca):

To David Anderson, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Ghandi

Tomi Juhola (@tomijuhola):

Anyways. I think kanban vs scrum is not that important discussion. How orgs solve surfaced problems and learn is more important. 

Al Shalloway (@alshalloway):

Interesting thing about the Scrum vs Kanban is many people had trouble with scrum found kanban to work. Not other way. Some like to ignore this.

Other thing is that those in the scrum camp who diss kanban have not done it, let alone be newbies. Most KB leaders are experts in scrum.

When an expert in two methods tells you 1 works in some situations another doesn’t, the right question is WHY, not don’t compare

A number of community members referring to comments being disabled on the blog, with questions as to why:

Florian (@fjeisenberg):

Through this work we have come to value individuals and interactions over processes and tools – apples vs oranges?

David Anderson (@agilemanager):

So you agree that kanban discourages teamwork and affects likelihood of delivery? Seriously?

Al Shalloway (@alshalloway):

Kanban can either improve or hurt collaboration in the same way a hammer can drive a nail or break glass

I am just reminded of my belief that only taxi drivers, barbers and bartenders should have an opinion on everything

Dan Rockwell (@leadershipfreak):

When you fall in love with the system you lose the ability to grow.

Rodrigo Yoshima (@rodrigoy):

Visualization, Pull and Limits are much more powerful tools for collaboration than timeboxes.

Kanban has definitely nothing to do with production line… it’s co-ordination and flow

Thanks lets start a healthy discussion

Yuval Yeret (@yuvalyeret):

My recent Kanban client – “First thing we saw is improved collaboration/teamwork”

Other client: looking at Cycle time is healping teams to focus on the right thing and collaborate

Yet another: With limited agendas in prog for the group we finally have a change to focus and succeed.

Wondering about lack of pointers to the real Kanban Method in Copliens’s post. Not sure I like any of the explanations.

Rob van Stekelenborg (@dumontis):

It is a misunderstanding that kanban can only be used in repetitive, anonymous situations

Dave Rooney (@daverooneyca):

@davidjbland “Oh yea?! My thought leader can beat up your thought leader 😉

Machiel Groeneveld (@machielg):

If anything kanban has raised the level of debate in agile, the theory and reasoning behind scrum are getting renewed attention

Jeff Sutherland (@jeffsutherland):

Comments disabled by an admin was an error and is now fixed

Tonianne DeMaria Barry (@sprezzatura):

Kanban is an evolutionary approach. There are no “objectives” other than improved cust. Sat and social working conditions

Jim Benson (@ourfounder):

Scrum and Kanban are both flawed. Humans are flawed. Endlessly pointing out flaws is not constructive.

Torbjörn Gyllebring (@drunkcod):

David A in many ways Coplien spells out much of our (old) knowledge about the dangers in looking blindly at manufacturing.

Liz Keogh (@lunivore):

Seeing Kanban as just the kanban signal is like seeing Scrum as just the scrum meetings. It’s not the whole picture

Mick Maguire (@mick_maguire):

@alshalloway Many teams struggling with scrum at their companies are struggling because of real problems. It is not a team != us moved to Kanban

We moved to kanban (team’s choice) for the time being because we needed to enhance team cooperation WIP tools are a good hammer for that

Team will likely settle back towards Scrum in future

Bob Marshall (@flowchainsensei):

Amidst all of today’s hoopla over “kanban or scrum?” are we losing sight of the fact that the majority of all agile adoptions fail?

Jon terry (@leankitjon)

Good scrum teams limit their WIP within sprint. Many don’t. Devs start everything at once and dump it on testers at the end.

Liz Keogh also posted an interesting post on the subject: http://lizkeogh.com/2011/11/20/scrum-and-kanban-both-the-same-only-different/

TheAgileRevolution-18 (46 minutes)

2 thoughts on “Episode 18: Scrum vs Kanban War

  1. Great discussion folks. Thanks for the very balanced viewpoints.I totally agree about the Oath of Non-allegiance – take good things from anywhere and use them where they work!CheersShane

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