Becoming Agile with Kanplan
Do you ever find yourself wanting to improve the productivity of a cross-functional agile delivery team? At the same time, have you encountered product owners who insist on bringing ad-hoc changes to their business preferences?
In such situations, wouldn’t it be great to have a resource that can capture and consequently refine all ideas, and then prioritize the tasks in a list – all the while maintaining the productivity of the cross-functional teams.
You can get all of this. All you need to do is figure out which project management method would work best for your organization. For that, first, you have to ensure that the existing management methodology doesn’t fit the current team’s structure. Next, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of the Agile framework before making a choice.
So, let us start with Agile.
The software industry is a highly competitive market. Software solutions need to be continuously upgraded and scaled. This means that developers need to constantly improve and innovate their products to keep it on top of the game.
Agile is a type of project management process, mainly used for software development, where demands and solutions evolve and are met through the collaborative effort of cross-functional teams and their customers.
What is Agile?
Agile is a structured and iterative approach to project management and product development. It provides a methodology for self-organizing teams to respond to change without going off the rails.
Through the Agile Manifesto, we come to value:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Traditional agile project management can be categorized into two frameworks: Scrum and Kanban.
Scrum is a way of managing the work within defined timescales called sprints. These generally last between 1 and 4 weeks and you work through your task list in that time. It’s relatively formal as deadlines are tightly respected and whatever is scheduled for a sprint is the team’s top priority. Product teams with a clear roadmap and prioritized chunks of work typically benefit most from scrum.
Kanban is all about visualizing your work, limiting work in progress, and maximizing flow. Kanban teams focus on reducing the time it takes to take a user story from start to finish. The main objective of implementing Kanban is to identify potential bottlenecks in the process and fix them. Kanban’s goal is that workflow should proceed smoothly at an optimal speed. It encourages every team member to be a leader and shares responsibility amongst them all.
Summarizing, Kanban aims to give team members just enough work so the team is consistently working at capacity. Kanban is great for operational teams focused on continuous delivery with changing priorities. By contrast, scrum divides work into a series of fixed-length iterations called sprints; whatever is scheduled for a sprint is the team’s top priority whereas in Kanban whatever’s on the board is the top priority.
Are you confused about which method to choose?
Don’t worry. The decision doesn’t need to be so black and white. There is no silver bullet when it comes to picking an agile framework for your team. Hundreds of teams use hybrid models influenced by both scrum and kanban.
Kanplan is one the answers to what you can choose in this situation.
What is Kanplan?
The word “Kanplan” generally sounds new to many of us.
Kanplan is a mixed methodology for practicing agile software development. It combines features from both Scrum and Kanban.
Kanplan offers a convenient column backlog with issues in the form of a list. Due to this fact, the board is split into two parts:
- A backlog for refinement.
- A Kanban board that allows picking up and moving tasks through the workflow.
Kanplan is here to help people who are using Kanban to plan, work in a better way. It is ideal for teams who don’t want to work in sprints but want the ability to groom a planned backlog.
With Kanplan, teams that tried to battle their long and disorganized to-do list with daily stand-ups and weekly planning meetings, realized that what they really needed was a backlog instead of more meetings.
How Was Kanplan Invented?
Since Kanban boards traditionally don’t have backlog functionality, product managers, project managers, and development managers used issues in the first column to plan. As this list grew, it was hard to see and prioritize issues. This typically overwhelmed the team as the board was split in different areas of work. So instead of reinventing the wheel by trying to figure out different ways to reorganize the team and boards, the solution was to bring backlogs to Kanban. This is where the Kanplan feature came in.
Kanplan introduces a wide column backlog with issues in a list view. This splits the kanban board into two different screens; the Kanban backlog for backlog grooming and the Kanban board for the engineering team to select and move tasks through the workflow. This combination of the backlog screen from scrum and the kanban board into one agile board functions like a scrum board backlog and lets teams arrange the tasks as per their preference to optimize them.
Through this, you can move cards around without having a sprint in progress and enter tasks in a backlog to help you plan better. It gives Kanban teams a plan mode that hasn’t existed in a Kanban world before!
Agile evolves with ideas and we must not restrict ourselves to a set of rules.
Whether you use Kanban, Scrum, or a combination of the two, like Kanplan, agile is a team process. Every team needs to figure out which framework works best as a foundation for how to plan, track, and release great software. Luckily for you, our team of experts can provide you with the best-in-class experience when it comes to managing software products efficiently.
We believe Agile is all about experimentation. The best way to recognize the best framework for you is to experiment with various aspects of all of them in your development environment. However, in many cases, Kanplan is the hybrid approach that many Agile development teams need and want. Use the expertise of our project management team to explore Kanplan methodology and enjoy the power of the hybrid approach!
Let’s broaden our horizons and celebrate agility.