• Article
  • Mar.23.2016

JIRA Agile (Software): scrum or kanban – revisited

  • Mar.23.2016
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After the popularity of my previous blog a couple of years ago, I thought it was only fair that I revisit this topic and update you on what has changed with both scrum and kanban in the meantime.

The comparison of both scrum and kanban remains pretty much the same, but in this blog I’d like to concentrate on the features that both have to offer, and the benefits your team will gain from using each.

What has changed with JIRA Agile?

Since JIRA 7, as a lot of you know, JIRA Agile has been incorporated with JIRA Core to make it JIRA Software. If you are still using JIRA version 6.x or below, it is still referred to as JIRA Agile and can be download as normal here .

With these changes come new features, as well as bug fixes. One quite obvious feature is the project summary page. This no longer produces the summary that we are all used to with Created vs Resolved charts – instead you will be presented with either the kanban board (if you have an active sprint) or the scrum board (to see your backlog).

browse_project_summary_single_column  Backlog@2x


Scrum or Kanban?

Scrum Boards

The scrum board, as explained in my previous blog, is where a team plans its work. It is used for backlog management, which a scrum master would typically use for tracking a current sprint and planning future sprints.

Scrum is more for large scale projects where the project has to be divided into small iterations to produce the end product.

With a scrum board, you no longer have “Work” mode under the Board menu – this is now embedded on the left hand side of navigation for a project, labelled as “Active Sprints”.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 11.35.29

The same applies to Reports – this is not longer under the Board menu, but on the left hand side.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 11.35.39

Kanban Boards

Kanban is less structured than scrum, allowing users to get on with their work and view their progress rather than wasting all their time planning (although that’s not to say that planning isn’t helpful! :-)). Kanban is suited to non-technical projects or short projects which do not split into iterations to produce the end product.

Comparison of features

Below is a list of features that both scrum and kanban have to offer to help you decide which suits your needs.

Scrum Kanban
Plan sprints Quick filters to view certain types of issues
Map issues to epics using the epics panel Configure columns to map to statuses
Map issues to versions using the versions panel Swimlanes to organise issues
Estimate issues using either story points or the in-built original estimate feature Constraints to limit minimum and maximum number of issues
Priorities backlog. created by dragging and dropping issues Version release
Quick filters to view certain types of issues at a time Create issues
Active sprints board (kanban board) to track active sprints Limited reports i.e. no velocity chart, epic report etc
Configure columns in active sprints
Swimlanes for active sprints
Column constraints, adding a minimum and maximum number of issues
Active sprint board to release a version
Issue creation from backlog view
Configure working days per board
Reporting capabilities

How do you decide?

It may sound complicated, but actually it’s quite simple.

How do you know if you should opt for Scrum?

  • Your project involves sprints
  • You want to estimate issues
  • You have a large scale project
  • You want to do a lot of reporting
  • You want to prioritise work
  • You are using epics and user stories
  • You’re looking to change your team’s habits (i.e. delivering on time)
  • You want to have a clear structure of what will be delivered during each phase

How do you know if you should opt for Kanban?

  • You have a small scale project
  • You want to have a quick setup – just a few clicks
  • You want something that is relatively easy to use
  • You don’t follow an agile methodology and want a work in progress view
  • You want something that is not perfect but allows you to improve your process

So there you have it – scrum an kanban in a nutshell. I hope you found this blog helpful, and if you have any questions, drop me a comment!

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