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What is a Scrum Board? Difference Between a Scrum and Kanban Board?

What is a Scrum Board?

As Scrum is one of the popular frameworks to break down complex problems into smaller tasks, Scrum board is a project management software used to represent these tasks and Scrum sprints visually. The scrum board is the center of every sprint meeting to get regular updates and your work split across different workflow stages.

The Scrum board constantly gets updated by the team members and displays all the tasks that should be completed by the end of the Scrum project.

Mitul Makadia, CEO & Founder of Maruti Techlabs, talks about his Agile implementation, strategy, and process during the nascent stages of the company.

Like dashboards and timeline views, the Scrum board is a project management tool that helps you analyze what’s going on with your Scrum project and team members.

Scrum board is specifically designed to support Scrum as the report suggested that 84% of the company adopt the Agile methodologies, and 78% use the Scrum framework to implement it.

Scrum boards can be created both virtually and physically. However, virtual Scrum boards come with numerous benefits, such as it being pretty easy to update and display the task status in real-time.

In short, the Scrum board can:

  • Help to organize the Scrum and sprint backlog along with the individual user stories
  • Define the workflow for the Scrum team
  • Enable to identify the potential bottlenecks in the project process.

Structure of a Scrum Board

The Scrum board usually consists of a big whiteboard or wall space with multiple columns and sticky notes displaying various phases/status of the tasks and Scrum project. A basic Scrum board has four columns:

  1. To Do
  2. Work in Progress
  3. Work in Review
  4. Completed

In addition, you can also add a column named User Stories to denote the purpose of the rows in the Scrum board table. Inside the Scrum task board, each note represents the task for the sprint or Scrum project. The task which is yet to get started is tagged under the “To Do” category. At the same time, the ”Work in Progress” section consists of the ongoing task of the Scrum project. The tasks tested or reviewed by the team’s experts are under “Work in Review,” whereas the successfully finished work is tagged under the “Done” category.

If you are new to dealing with the Scrum project, these Scrum board columns will make you realize how effective your work can become when you follow these strategies. Analyzing your work across the status columns of the Scrum board can help you with instant insights into your current and pending tasks.

Just like a clean desk drives you with more efficient work, the Scrum board will help you visualize your task list properly without clutter and decide what needs to be done next to achieve your final goal.

Structure of scrum board

Types of Scrum Board

Scrum teams always face one common issue of deciding whether to go with the online Scrum board or the physical Scrum board. Both have their advantages; however, the online Scrum board is always one step ahead of the physical Scrum task board. Let’s see why:

1. Physical Scrum Board

Physical Scrum Board

Whether it is a whiteboard or a corkboard, the best advantage of a physical Scrum board is that you can create it on any surface. It can help you hold the daily standups around the board and serve as a constant visual reminder for your sprints or Scrum project.

If your team works on the same floor, keeping the board in the center of your workspace is convenient to help your teammates stay focused on their tasks and goals. At the same time, the space around the board can serve as the meeting place for quick meets and discussions.

The physical Scrum board is customizable. As the team continues to work on the Scrum project, they can move the notes inside the Scrum board to their respective columns in the task board.

2. Online Scrum Board

Online Scrum Board

Even though the companies prefer physical Scrum boards for their project management purpose, an online Scrum board is the best alternative to a physical Scrum task board, considering all activities being done by digital platforms these days.

Instead of sticky notes, the online Scrum board uses a digital task card. It is easier to schedule your long-term projects using the online Scrum board, as working with the data across the sprints is seamless.

Online Scrum board is the best choice while working with Distributed Scrum teams. Whether your teammate is on another floor or in another country across the globe, an online Scrum board is much more feasible than a physical Scrum board.

Compared to the physical Scrum Board, the online Scrum board is entirely customizable. With online Scrum software, you are enabled with various features and filters to view your items on the board and automate your task to move it from one column to another.

Read also: Guide to Scrum of Scrums: An Answer to Large-Scale Agile.

The most important advantage of the online Scrum board is that it helps you with real-time updates about the changes. The QA team doesn’t have to update you personally with every minor modification on the board. Also, more than one person can operate the online Scrum board at a time and view it on multiple devices on the go, unlike physical Scrum boards.

Scrum Master requires the sprint reports to evaluate the progress and performance of workers. Using an online Scrum board, you can generate automatic reports and manage your project dashboard efficiently. These reports can be easily shared and stored using the online Scrum board, which gives a clear edge to the physical ones.

What is the Difference Between a Scrum and Kanban Board?

Kanban board is a project management tool started at Toyota and is quite similar to Scrum boards. The Kanban board divides the workflow of the sprint into different sections, such as:

  • To do
  • Work in progress
  • Work under testing
  • Complete

The primary aim of the Kanban board is to manage the volume of work through each section of the project. Your Scrum board will be similar to the Kanban board, depending on how your team works with Scrum methodology.

Kanban Board

However, the significant difference between the Scrum board and the Kanban board is that the Scrum board is frequently used in Agile Software development; in contrast, Kanban boards are often used by every team in organizations.

Let us discuss some other differences between Kanban Board and Scrum board in detail below:

differences between Kanban Board and Scrum board

1. Scope of Work

Kanban board: Using the Kanban board, you can trace the workflow of team members working on the project. Further, the team members add and update all the tasks from the “to-do” to the “complete” section.

Scrum board: Simultaneously, the Scrum board traces and manages a single Scrum team’s discrete part of a single sprint.

2. Timeline

Kanban board: It works continuously and usually has a fixed limit to the number of tasks that the team can have. Being customizable, the Kanban board always avoids working as iterations and getting its jobs done by the team members.

Scrum Board: Scrum boards have a fixed timeline. Each sprint process consists of two weeks, and therefore, the Scrum board lasts for two weeks to finish its task.

3. Work in Progress

Kanban Board: The primary aim of the Kanban board is to improve the productivity of the Scrum team. Therefore, the “work in progress” column has a fixed number of tasks.

Scrum Board: As discussed earlier, the Scrum team has to finish a lot of work under a single sprint cycle. Even though there is no limit, you have to finish each task at the end of the sprint. Hence, there are no restrictions to add the number of tasks in the “work in progress” section.

4. Board Content

Kanban Board: As the Kanban board is used by every organization, which also includes the non-technical teams, it does not consider user stories and sprint backlogs as sections or rows.

Scrum Board: Scrum team members break down the user stories and add them to the sprint backlog. Later, you can work on these sprint backlogs when correct.

5. Reports

Kanban Board: It is rarely used for creating reports and graphs for the project. The main objective of the Kanban board is to provide the workflow for the project’s progress to the team.

Scrum Board: On the other hand, you can use the Scrum data from the Scrum task board to create the reports and velocity charts of the project. Later, these charts measure the progress and number of tasks finished in a sprint cycle.

6. Ownership

Kanban Board: Every member of the organization uses a kanban board whether he belongs to technical background. Hence, it is owned by a department or the whole company.

Scrum Board: As a single team handles Scrum projects under any organization, only a few people have ownership of the Scrum board.

Learn more about 5 Handy Tips on Creating an Effective Scrum Board



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