: Handle a mixture of project and unrelated work, in an agile manner, by implementing a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban rules.

  • What is not urgent must be done quickly in order to take care of the urgent things calmly
  • Cut your coat according to your cloth
Also Known As:
  • Fast Track (when used in a Scrum context)
Motivation: An organization might not have the resources to dedicate a project team to the development of a product. These constraints often lead to Scrum Teams being given work to do that is unrelated to their Product Backlog and/or which may compromise their Sprint Backlog. This work can include maintenance (BAU) activities or emergency incident response.

Structure: A project supports multiple iterations each of which is time-boxed. The team will plan backlog items into each time-box, and with the intention of actioning them at some point in the corresponding iteration. Only a limited number of those planned items can be work in progress at any one time. Each item has a defined Quality of Service that determines how it will be actioned. Items that were not on the backlog, and which were not planned into the time-box, may be done within the time-box if they have a Quality of Service that mandates their immediate attention. However, a suitable backlog item must be traded out of the time-box in order to accommodate it.

Applicability: Scrumban is a compromise to the problem of limited resources and competing demands for project and unrelated work. It therefore finds wide application across the IT industry.

Consequences: Scrum is predicated on the ability of a team to plan their work for a time-box. Pre-empting that plan with other (unplanned) work may therefore compromise a team’s ability to meet their Sprint Goal. All stakeholders must therefore be informed if such pre-emption will be allowed to occur. 

: Many organizations that claim to have implemented Scrum are in fact allowing the quality of service to vary by means of a fast-track lane or similar, and are thereby implementing Scrumban.

See Also: