Kanban vs Agile

Do you like to wrap up your projects quickly yet efficiently? Do you find yourself getting stuck in a complicated project because some requirements change at the last minute? We have all been there and hoped that all our problems would get solved. And if we resort to agile methodologies, we may not even come across such issues to start with. In this blog, we will talk about Kanban vs Agile. We will learn what each of them means individually and also how they differ from each other. So, let's get started, shall we?

What is Kanban?

The Kanban method revolves around a board called "Kanban Board", which is used to display the activity workflow. It helps with task flow improvement across multiple teams.

All the work tasks are visually represented on the board. It allows the members of the team to view the update of all the tasks. In addition, a team member gains a deeper knowledge of who is responsible for which task and can reduce and resolve potential issues in the process.

You can reorganize work using the Kanban approach depending on the demands of your stakeholders. Additional work is introduced as activities move from one stage to another until the stream is stabilized. The team works together to ptimize the effectiveness of the project's workflow. 

What is Agile?

Agile software development is a relatively recent method of developing software. It is built on a continuous iteration development strategy all through the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) such that continual changes can be made in response to quick feedback, resulting in a better and more efficient software product. 

It differs from the traditional waterfall model because both the developer and the customer participate in this model, making it a cross-sectional development. It's a dynamic process in which requirements change and progress. The end goal is to offer a working product with up-to-date requirements.

How Kanban Works

Kanban is an ever-changing work management system. This signifies that the current approach is gradually enhanced. The threat to the entire process is minimized by making several little adjustments instead of one major one. Kanban's progressive methodology results in little or no pushback from the team and other stakeholders.

The first step in learning about Kanban is to envision the workflow. A Kanban board, which includes a simple board as well as post-it notes or flashcards, is used to do this. Each task is represented by a card on the board.

In a Kanban board, you will find the following:

1. Backlog: It will consist of all the product backlog.
2. To-do: It consists of the tasks that are lined up and yet to start.
3. Ongoing: It consists of the tasks that are started and are still ongoing.
4. Done: These are the tasks that have already been completed.

This technique of visualizing the tasks provides a significant amount of information regarding the task's dispersion as well as any existing bottlenecks. 

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How does Agile work?

Agile breaks down a project into smaller chunks known as 'user stories.' Each of them is a function that the user would like to see in the product. Developers treat these user stories like a to-do list, deciding which ones to prioritize and organizing them into iterations with expected completion dates.

When developers are done with iterating, they usually come up with a ready-to-ship product for the users to test. This indicates that agile projects start with something simple and then iterate on it based on user input, resulting in a product that is more tailored to users' needs.

It implies that developers rarely begin work with a complete list of needs, but rather learn about new requirements from users, which they can subsequently incorporate into the product.

The sprint time is always the same. This allows developers and users to check in on the project's progress on a frequent basis and stay focused.

Difference between kanban & agile

  • Agile is a viable tactic for projects with an open-end goal, whereas Kanban is great for minimizing waste and eliminating tasks that don't deliver team value.
  • The agile methodology emphasizes regular communication, but the Kanban methodology necessitates the items to be divided into smaller pieces to meet the sprint constraints as a result of the shorter sprint lengths.
  • The Agile approach enables an iterative development model, but the Kanban approach does not.
  • Visual check of work in progress is not possible with Agile, but it is possible with Kanban.
  • The Agile strategy's aims include development, continuous integration, and validation, but the Kanban approach aims to increase the workflow of the team.
  • In the Agile methodology, user stories or walkthroughs are employed, whereas, in the Kanban approach, Kanban Boards are utilized.
  • Agile's focus is always on technical competence and producing a high-quality product. Kanban's focus is always on collaboration amongst diverse groups.

Kanban Principles

  • The Kanban method visualizes the workflow in an easy-to-understand manner.
  • It promotes leadership amongst the team.
  • Agree to accept and adapt to changes.
  • The current process, roles, and duties must be respected.
  • Assists the team in making the process simple and transparent.

Agile Principles

  • The objective is to fulfill the customer needs and changing demands by producing a product that is always improving.
  • It is constantly open to modification, even in subsequent phases.
  • Provide a functioning system in 2 weeks to 1 month, with the goal of keeping the duration minimum.
  • Key stakeholders and the programming team will carry on the project every day until it is completed.
  • The importance of working software in the Agile Process cannot be overstated.
  • Pays acute attention to technical knowledge.

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Pros of Kanban

Let us look at some disadvantages of Kanban.

Better Visibility

Kanban's main principle is to visualize each piece of work. The Kanban board becomes a major information point in this way, and everyone can view and get an update from it. All activities are displayed so that you never lose sight of them, ensuring that the entire workflow is transparent. Every member of the team can get a timely update on the situation of any project or assignment.

Improved Efficiency

Envisioning your workflow will instantly reveal areas of inefficiency. On the Kanban board, roadblocks, delayed activities, and too much work in progress are all visible. Every barrier you remove makes your process run more smoothly and efficiently.

Balanced Work

Placing work-in-progress restrictions on every process state is one of the key Kanban strategies. Once the WIP cap is reached, no new activities can be added until another activity has been completed. WIP restrictions keep teams from working on several projects at once.

Better Focus

With WIP limitations in effect, no new activities can be brought into the process state until the previous activity has been completed. Kanban enables team members by allowing them to concentrate on the task at hand rather than being distracted by several tasks.

Cons of Kanban

Does not work in a dynamic world: Because the Kanban technique requires strategies that are constant to a certain extent, it may be ineffective in businesses where tasks are constantly changing.

The incapacity to iterate: Iterating on software is a cornerstone for most development methods, but it isn't part of Kanban at the ticket level. Iteration can be built on top of Kanban, although it winds up becoming its own process.

Pros of Agile

Let us look at some advantages of Agile.

Customer Satisfaction

Agile methodologies keep customers informed and demonstrate that they value their input by incorporating them in the development phase. Customers want to be involved all through the lifecycle of the project so that they may provide input and ensure that the end product meets their requirements. These customized offerings are likely to enhance the end-user experience and retain existing customers.

Higher quality

Agile techniques employ an iterative project management approach, which means that processes are enhanced every time an interval is redone. One of the basic ideas of Agile is to maintain a constant emphasis on excellence and quality control, which aids in the creation of high-quality products.


Agile's fundamental premise is adaptability. Agile teams are able to adapt to changes and can make changes promptly. Teams can readily evaluate their strategies and alter their objectives to align with revised goals because intended outcomes are not written in stone. Teams that are adaptive can deliver consistently and successfully handle clients' shifting needs.

Minimized Risk

Developers evaluate progress throughout sprints on a frequent basis, giving them a better view of the project and allowing them to recognize potential roadblocks sooner. These little concerns can be addressed before they become major problems, resulting in a more appropriate risk treatment procedure and a higher possibility of project success.

Cons of Agile

Inadequate resource planning: Because Agile is predicated on the premise that teams can't be sure of what their ultimate result (or even a few cycles of delivery down the road) will be like from the start, it's difficult to anticipate project costs, time, and resources from the outset.

There is no conclusion in sight: It's tempting to get distracted offering new, unanticipated features because Agile demands less planning at the start. Furthermore, because there is never a clear idea of what the "finished result" looks like, projects have no definite end.

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A Kanban approach is more than just a collection of post-it notes on the board. Embracing Kanban's concept and applying it to your normal tasks is the simplest approach to grasp it. The practical transformation would appear obvious and even unavoidable if you read, comprehend, and resonate with its key concepts.

Whereas Agile methodology is an iterative strategy that allows teams to offer value to clients efficiently with minimal hassles. An agile team will deliver work in tiny, consumable chunks rather than relying on a complete launch. Teams have a natural process for adjusting to change quickly because requirements, strategies, and outcomes are evaluated on a regular basis.

We hope you got clarity about both Kanban and Agile and understood the difference between them. Which approach did you like the best? Let us know in the comments section!

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Research Analyst
As a Senior Writer for HKR Trainings, Sai Manikanth has a great understanding of today’s data-driven environment, which includes key aspects such as Business Intelligence and data management. He manages the task of creating great content in the areas of Digital Marketing, Content Management, Project Management & Methodologies, Product Lifecycle Management Tools. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Agile methodologies emphasize ongoing communication, but Kanban processes require items to be broken up to fit inside sprint boundaries due to shorter sprint lengths. The Agile approach enables iterative development, but the Kanban process does not.

Kanban is an agile methodology that seeks continual improvement, task management adaptability, and improved workflow. 

Yes, Kanban is a pull-based approach, which means that teammates pull tasks to themselves once they wrap up their previous tasks and have the bandwidth. Here, work isn't pushed or allocated by others, which changes the entire thought process of work style.