Receive weekly Agile & Scrum tips

close menu icon

Kanban practices

Table of contents

Scrum Teams increase their efficiency and effectiveness by optimizing their flow. In practice, this is accomplished by using Kanban practices in your Scrum Teams:

1. Visualizing the Workflow

The Scrum board is a commonly used tool to visualize the Workflow. It displays Sprint Backlog Items in various stages of the work process. The board is divided into columns representing the stages of work such as “To Do”, “In Progress”, and “Done”. It provides the team with a clear overview of the work and promotes transparency.

2. Limiting Work in Progress (WIP limit)

Limiting Work in Progress is also a crucial part of the Kanban practices. It sets a maximum limit for the number of work items that are being processed at any given stage of the work process simultaneously. When the Scrum Team maintains this limit, it prevents overload, promotes focus and facilitates the flow of work. The Daily Scrum and Sprint Retrospective are common events to inspect WIP.

3. Actively managing Work-in-Progress (WIP)

Actively managing Work-in-Progress (WIP) in the context of Scrum with Kanban refers to consciously limiting and controlling the work. It is again an essential part of Kanban practices and requires the following:

  • WIP limit – A limit on the number of PBIs that the Scrum Team executes at a particular stage of the work process.
  • Collaboration and coordination – The team works closely together to ensure PBIs move smoothly through the work process. Only when a PBI is completed is the next one picked up. This requires collaboration and coordination among team members.
  • Regular inspection – The team regularly inspects the status of the PBIs and the WIP limits, such as during the Daily Scrum. This allows the team to intervene quickly if limits are exceeded or other bottlenecks arise.
  • Metrics – There are various metrics that Scrum Teams with Kanban use to manage their work-in-progress. In addition to Work in Progress, this also includes Work Item Age for example.

By actively managing WIP, Scrum Teams improve the flow of work and prevent overload. It also ensures the team reduces unnecessary delays and bottlenecks, ultimately working more effectively and efficiently.

4. Inspecting and adapting the definition of Workflow

The Kanban practices are defined by the Scrum Team’s definition of Workflow. This definition describes the policy for following the Kanban practices. The joint understanding of this definition increases transparency, which promotes self-management.

Components of the definition of Workflow include:

  • Visualization policy – This policy relates to the use of visual aids to clearly and transparently display the progress of work. Examples include the Scrum board, fields, color codes or labels for user stories/issues and the charts or diagrams to be used.
  • Work agreements – Work agreements help the team structure the workflow and optimize performance. Consider agreements on Service Level Expectations, Batch Size, Work in Progress (WIP) limits and Prioritization of (ad-hoc) work.

Why Use Kanban Practices?

By integrating Kanban practices into a Scrum context, teams benefit from improved workflow, better visualization of work and steady, continuous improvement of their processes. The result is a more streamlined and effective team!

Related terms

Want to know more?

Discover concepts from the world of Agile, Scrum, Product Management and Innovation in one useful overview.

Share this explanation with your network
Sluit je aan bij 1.000+ professionals

Ontvang tips, tools en tactieken uit de Agile en Scrum community wekelijks in je inbox

Join 1,000+ professionals

Receive free tips, tools and tactics from the Agile and Scrum community in your inbox.