How to Move from Scrum to Kanban?

Dimitar Karaivanov

Dimitar Karaivanov

CEO and Co-founder of Businessmap

Table of Contents:

Many of our work management platform's users are software guys who have been practicing SCRUM for a while and for some reason (which we all understand very well), want to move to Kanban. As an Agile methodology, SCRUM has its own advantages.

However, by moving to Kanban, Ex-scrummers, you're on the right track to be looking for something new. If you are hesitant to throw away Scrum, take a look here and continue reading :)

Now that we've decided to ditch the purest form of Scrum, let's figure out what makes the most sense in an organization that is making baby-kanban-steps and has a Scrum background. We would by no means scratch Scrum completely but rather steer everyone's mindset towards more important things than planning and delivering on commitments.

Daily Meetings

Even if you decide to throw away everything, please keep the daily stand-up meetings. This is the only thing that we like about Scrum and you must never ever abandon this practice. It brings discipline into the team, ensures people talk to each other at least once a day, makes it clear if someone is having issues and most of all – just works.

Actually, a great idea is to have your dailies in-front of the Kanban board, be it physical or electronic. It's a great feeling for people to move things to Done in front of everyone, why taking it from them?

Retrospection Meetings

Not a great fan, sorry. Before everyone disagrees, let me clarify. Lean culture relies on relentless continuous improvements, which is what Scrum enforces with these meetings. The key here is the word “enforces.” We've participated in way too many of these and we have seen what happens.

You have a few very vocal guys that always have something to say and the rest is just being there. You would be happy if the vocal guys are actually constructive and not whining about stuff, but this is a topic of another post.

Even if your team is super mature and doesn't do all the stupid things we've seen happening, it still doesn't make sense to wait for the retrospection meeting to figure out what to improve.

I'm getting to the bottom of it – improve immediately. It may not be possible but want it. Strive for it. Do not postpone it for the retrospection meeting where you fill the huge excel with issues that never ever get fixed. Improve. Now. This is what we believe in.


This one is easy – ditch them. You don't need someone to be smarter than you on paper. The fancy title in front of someone's name doesn't make them exceptional.

Leaders and knowledge keepers are never anonymous. Use the amazing people around you to get where you want to be as fast as you can.

To Commit or Not to Commit

Even easier – don't. There is something very important about lean that we had to figure out by ourselves, even though it's in every book on the subject. Lean is only possible with people who trust in it.

People who care about achieving their goals and people that feel rewarded when their job is done. A commitment will not make people perform better. It will make them hide more garbage under the carpet – unfortunate, but it's true. Great managers know how to unite their teams towards a bigger goal and this is where your attention should be.

Release Planning

We would recommend doing some form of release planning. How you do it exactly is a personal choice, but still, do it. You will not get a great team if you don't give them the bigger picture.

Smart people don't like working on pieces of something unknown, but rather want to contribute to a better product, better company, a better universe or whatever it is that you are doing. The release planning is a good way not to keep them in the dark and we believe it is a good thing.


We hope our message is clear. Irrespective of how you do things, do not confine people. Enable them to contribute without creating useless rules. Make their transition from Scrum to Kanban easy-going and teach them how to be true lean practitioners (even if this creates some pain). All it takes is to support them along the way. It may not be easy, but it’s worth the try.




Dimitar Karaivanov

Dimitar Karaivanov

CEO and Co-founder of Businessmap

Dimitar is a lean thinker and a Kanban practitioner with a solid background in the areas of software development and process improvement. He is passionate about achieving extreme performance at scale and applying Lean/Agile principles outside IT.