Agile vs Kanban: A Beginner’s Guide in 5 Easy Points

IT has become the mainstay and heart for managing businesses around the world. And with large projects, managing and handling activities can become a hurdle in the overall process. Here, Project Management methods play a crucial role in guiding professionals to work on their specific tasks and coordinate with organizations seamlessly. Many methods, techniques, and models have been implemented across various organizations such as Agile, Kanban, Scrum, DevOps, Lean, Agile Modelling, Agile Unified Process(AUP), etc. Depending on requirements, companies use them to manage their workforce and deliver the product at high performance.

Agile started at the beginning of this century in 2001 and now several agile frameworks have come up in the industry for specific purposes such as Lean, Kanban, Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), and more. Each method follows different principles with the primary objective of handling iteration at regular intervals. Especially for freshers, Project Management methods are necessary to learn and understand going forward in their career. 

In this post, we will provide thorough information about the main difference between Agile vs Kanban. These two (Agile and Kanban) represent the most popular Project Management methods used in Software Development today.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Agile?
  2. Why Use Agile in the Software Development Life Cycle?
  3. What is Kanban?
  4. Why use the Kanban Boards for Project Management?
  5. What is the difference between Agile and Kanban?

1. What is Agile?

Agile development practices are among the most used approaches for Project Management that aids organizations to deliver work at high performance with minimum hassles. Agile success lies in continuous development, continuous feedback, and overall continuous improvement in the development methods or techniques. One must understand that there are no set of rules that defines Agile, but it’s the process that delivers higher performance and qualitative work.

Another essential part of Agile is the inclusion of stakeholders (investors) and developers to include customer feedback to match the product goals for optimized results.

Essential Agile Principles

There are no preset rules that define the Agile methodology. However, it follows principles part of each Agile implementation. But the original Manifesto for the Agile Software development was developed with twelve principles.

  1. The main goal that defines Agile is the continuous improvement to match with customer satisfaction as trends change.
  2. Agile uses an elementary process for its working software.
  3. Agile gives more value and focus to the technical expertise and skills of an individual.
  4. Agile allows continuous improvement from its current development and accepts changes even in the latter part of their stage for satisfying customers.
  5. Short stages of development from a minimum of weeks or 15 days to a month keep the process in control for time and better results. 
  6. Agile uses a sustainable development approach in their procedures throughout the product delivery.
  7. Maintain cooperation between management people and developers
  8. Have faith around motivated people to lead the projects
  9. Keep sharp attention to good design practices and excellent work performance.
  10. Agile encourages collaboration among cross-functional teams.

With the scope of work changing to add more innovation to production methods and development, we might see several changes in Agile development.

2. Why Use Agile in the Software Development Life Cycle?

Organizations use Agile in keeping themselves updated with the market changes and be ready for product deliverable to avoid losing years of planning. So each customer feedback and market acceptance gets integrated for the next product development cycle, thus allowing better results in the future.

Thus Agile teams work collectively on a shared vision for both sides from the development and customers front. Teams define their standards to bring more visibility in keeping the product more usable, complete and adheres to the highest quality for getting more attention from the customer. Even the management puts their trust in Agile teams to maintain customer satisfaction and product quality at the same level. 

Agile practices can differ from one organization to another depending on their requirements and market changes. Teams build their sprints and prioritize activities to deliver parts at a set point to keep producing at a higher rate. Let us have a view on Kanban before deliberating on the Agile vs Kanban difference. 

3. What is Kanban?

Kanban follows the lean method approach for managing workload across the teams using boards known as ‘Kanban Boards.’ Here, complete visibility of the system workload allows creating a smooth balance between the capacity and demands of the requirements. And also discover bottlenecks that create hurdles in the overall process. In Kanban, work procedures have a visual print so all team members can assess across the development stage. Every member can check the procedure of each process, individual involved in that activity and offer solutions for any issues coming in that specific process.

The Kanban method adds more value in prioritizing things by keeping a strict check on the resources, thus allowing more flexibility across the system to cover a backlog of activities. Team members can check each other’s activities and collaborate smoothly to enhance the performance across the project. Kanban Boards allow new workload to be added as per the capacity and not pushed as the request comes in.

Kanban Board Principles

Kanban Boards play an essential role in the overall implementation of the procedure. Kanban Boards can be used for personal or organization depending on the requirements. Boards are visual, i.e, open to all and allow work stages for all team members across the organizations. They use small cards for stories, features, or procedures as an item that is movable across horizontal or vertical showing its stage at that particular duration. Simple items or cards may include a to-do list, waiting, Work In Progress (WIP) column, doing, completed, or many as per the preference of the organization.

Kanban Boards have been successfully implemented across various industry verticals with the main focus on knowledge-based procedures and manufacturing processes.

Here are the best practices/principles involved in the Kanban process that are common:

  • Kanban focuses on the visual workflow of the development process.
  • With Kanban, you can allow swift management of the workload & thus effective utilization of the resources.
  • Each column or vertical will have limitations of workload, thus maintaining higher efficiency & performance.
  • Kanban encourages leadership across all items/columns or workloads to deliver optimized results across the organization.
  • Kanban visual workflow check keeps the team collaboration at the highest level.
  • With Kanban, management can make smooth decisions subject to roles, procedures, & responsibilities.  
, Agile vs Kanban: A Beginner’s Guide in 5 Easy Points

A practical Kanban Board showing a complete procedure


4. Why use the Kanban Boards for Project Management?

Kanban methods are highly successful for projects with specific goals and have an achievable scope. Kanban allows more tasks organization across the team and based on their capabilities to deliver at an exceptional level.

Agile Kanban Boards are also used for automating Recurring tasks to enhance the workflow management system. You can further check the workflow metrics and gain insights to improve quality across the boards.

Another significant aspect of the Kanban Boards is visualizing work blockers that help to discover and remove issues arising in the procedures.

5. What is the difference between Agile and Kanban?

With projects becoming more and more complex, Project Management is one of the essential requirements for organizations today. These two techniques present a way for organizations to bring forth simple methods in their work procedure to enhance productivity and solve more modern solutions seamlessly. Atlassian Agile and Kanban Jira are quite popular project frameworks used by experts across industries in multiple verticals. Still, there are several differences between Agile and Kanban that you should understand for implementing them on real-world problems.

Table Showing Difference between Agile vs Kanban

Specifics Agile Kanban
Focus With Agile, there is always a focus to keep communication constant. Kanban uses shorter sprints and boundaries to clear stages early with higher performance.
Agile vs Kanban board The Agile process follows story boards. Kanban’s whole procedure follows a visual Kanban Board.
Goal The agile process works with the main aim of continuous integration, continuous development, and continuous training. Overall, the Kanban procedure is always a vision to improve the team performance.
Communication Agile methods are always keen on keeping the communication constant. Here visual communication takes more preference.
Iteration Here procedures follow the iterative development. Kanban procedures don’t follow iterative development.
Planning Sprint planning can be time consuming. So making changes can take most of the day in case of arrangements. On the other hand, Kanban takes minimum arrangements to start delivering at the highest performance.
Visual Check Agile development methodology has no support for any visual check on the work progress. Kanban follows the principle for visual check across the board.
QA Involvement Though in the beginning, QA has almost no involvement. Still, in the end, QA is overworked across the procedures. While in Kanban, QA procedures are involved across each stage and continuously system tested for more development.
Ideal Applications Agile methods are ideal for projects with no specific goals set. So the project can advance as per the business owners and stakeholders to deliver the product with frequent changes at the end. Kanban is ideal for projects with specific goals. And thus allows removing activities as well as procedures with no significant value to the Kanban Board. 
Agile vs Kanban Advantages Agile methodology has several advantages.Transparency for clients, customers, and developersAdds more Stakeholders engagement across the procedureAgile can help in estimating delivery at a more predictable timeAgile help estimate Costs and ScheduleMore focus on business value and customersAgile enhances the work quality and brings a more optimized solution for future            Kanban also offers many advantages.Enhances team productivityImproves team efficiencyKanban procedures help remove wasted activities across the boardImproves team focus overall for better resultsKanban offers more flexibilityKanban integrates with the main focus on continuous delivery.Enhanced visibility across the Kanban BoardsRemoves overburdening teamEnhances team culture and collaboration to deliver more



On a professional front choosing between an agile vs Kanban methodology, agile Project Management can be quite tricky. But skilled and experienced professionals can provide reasons and factors for choosing the ideal method for better performance for any specific project. And for freshers understanding these differences of Agile vs Kanban will help them to establish an organization handling large projects. 

When comparing agile vs Kanban Board, the main difference lies as Agile boards provide in-depth information about the various procedures involved in the process while in Kanban Boards play a crucial role in the overall procedure as all activities, monitoring, work request, demand, and almost everything are there on the board itself.

Professionals looking to make a career in Project Management must undergo Agile Kanban training to understand the fundamentals and work at their potential. Jigsaw Academy offers several courses and programs in Project Management that students, freshers, and working professionals can undergo to enhance their career opportunities.

Interested to learn all about Product Management from the best minds in the industry? Check out our Product Management Course. This 6-month-long program takes place online through live instructor-led sessions. It is the only program in India that offers the ‘Bring Your Own Product (BYOP)’ feature so that learners can build their product idea into a full-blown product, and go through an entire Product Development lifecycle. Not only this, but this is the only program in India with a curriculum that conforms to the 5i Framework. Post completion, learners receive a joint certification from the Indian Institute of Management, Indore, and Jigsaw Academy. 



Related Articles

Please wait while your application is being created.
Request Callback