Choosing the correct board is simple when you understand the difference between the two. A "sprint" board has a specific duration of time for certain tasks and deliverables, where a Kanban board is not based on time duration and is typically for ongoing tasks.
Let's take a look at the similarities and the differences to help when deciding which board suits the task at hand.
Both Sprint and Kanban boards:
- are used to visualise work as it progresses through the workflow, keeping all team members in the loop on work in progress and what’s to come.
- encourage work to be broken down into manageable tasks - placing a high value on continuous improvement and optimising work and the process.
- Use POINTS and IMPACT for better prioritisation, management, and planning of the work to be done.
'Points' of effort
The complexity the delivery team feels is associated with the task. The higher the score, the more complex the task.
'Impact' for business
The amount of business value stakeholders attribute to the task. The higher the score, the more valuable to the business.
Sprint boards limit the amount of time allowed to accomplish a particular amount of work by means of time-boxed periods called sprints.
Sprint boards place a heavy emphasis on schedule. Each sprint has a start date and an end date. Before a sprint, each task in the Backlog is allocated the appropriate points of effort and impact. Tasks are then prioritised (between the delivery team and their stakeholders) and then added to the board at the beginning of each sprint. Any tasks added to the sprint should be completed by the end of the sprint for the sprint to be considered successful.
The on-going tracking of ad-hoc activity, through a defined process, to completion.
Kanban boards are not time-boxed. A Kanban board will continue to flow for as long as needed, with new tasks being added as required, and completed tasks being archived as they are completed.
Which one should you choose?
It all comes down to the team and what you are trying to achieve:
- If your team needs to track on-going, ad-hoc work that is subject to change, Kanban is a better option.
- If your team is structured, delivering packaged outputs towards an end goal then Scrum/Sprint works well.
The scope and depth of the execution required, also helps determine which is the better option. Kanban works best with smaller pieces of work and team task tracking, while Scrum/Sprint helps deliver larger pieces of work on time.
Our recommendation is to become familiar with both board types and then experiment, analyzing your needs and capabilities for the type of board that works best for your team.
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