Articles, Blog

Kanban or Scrum? Our Product Management Process & Favorite Product Management Tools || Crema

November 2, 2019


Welcome to “Winding Down With Product Managers.” One of the things that we get asked quite a bit is
about our process. Especially in earlier conversations in the sales process Crema is known
pretty well for our process and getting things done. And so I think it’s important for us to talk a
little bit about that now and why we use the processes that we use. So maybe elaborate a little bit there on what we
use here at Crema and why. There will be certain projects that we need to use
Kanban on like I’ve mentioned previously. Sometimes that includes design sprints or design
and prototyping engagements. When you first engage with a client or begin
building out a product, you’re not doing much development work. You’re doing a lot of strategy,
a lot of design, a lot of maybe user testing and feedback. So at that stage of the engagement or relationship
with the product its fairly common for us to use Kanban. And that’s OK. And it runs really smoothly. It’s worked well, but
once that kind of moves into development we defer to Scrum including some of the, you know, kind of
molded and pulled in pieces from Kanban as needed and as applicable. There are a lot of reasons why we’ve chosen to go
that route. But from you know the PMs here, we really care
about our team, about our product. And a part of that team, like Tuck mentioned, is
the client and sometimes they need protecting too and sometimes, being protected from themselves. Right. So scrum really allows us to do that by default. We use scrum and a lot of it at large in fact is
around the fact that we want to protect our team, protect our client, protect our product, and
honestly also protect ourselves. Right. As product managers, we need time to think about
things. We need time to do our own jobs. And if we’re constantly triaging every little request
that’s coming in and trying to get it over the team immediately and all that, it doesn’t really
give us much space to do our jobs. And so I would also argue that Scrum really helps
us prioritize our own work and helps us be able to write all the stories that we need to write along
with the team of course and then do effective planning for the project which can go to the
wayside if we’re just constantly taking in requests and not really having that time to do it. I love it. I also love incorporating Scrum and Kanban
together. Whatever gets you the best outcome. And that happens pretty frequently, especially if
we have projects where, you know, design continues to happen. Obviously there are projects where we
work in an ideal world. Right. So those design tasks for example. We don’t always
work, at least with my projects, we don’t story point the design tasks whereas
anything development related of course we do. But that’s kind of outside of what was normal process
for Scrum. Some businesses (and rightly so) create the story and then all your design involvement and
everything is all wrapped up in that. We do have to take some special considerations on
our products since we are in an agency and the processes may look a little bit differently
because of that. And so that’s why sometimes we have design tasks
separated out which is not traditional for the Scrum method, but that’s another example of
something that’s a little bit combined that works to the better of the team. I love that! You know, I love the flexibility to
do what you need to do to get the job done. Yeah it’s pretty great. So one question we get a lot is, “What tools are
we going to use for the projects?” You’ll have to subscribe to us obviously to get big deep dives
into all of these, but we can give you a quick general overview of what tools we do use for these
processes and why. The first big one is Asana. So that has
traditionally been our go-to tool for all of our projects and most recently we’ve started to move
away from it for anything that is more Scrum related. Kanban works great. It’s a great task manager.
It’s great for collaboration and visibility amongst all the teams. But really, at the end of
the day, it doesn’t do everything we need to do for Scrum and so we’ve kind of shied away from it
because of that. We still think it’s a great tool. It’s designed
very well, it’s very quick, and honestly most of our team still really loves it. It just doesn’t do
all the things we need it to do in order to support the Scrum process. But overall if you’re going to be set up in more
of a Kanban environment it’s a great tool to go ahead and use. And then we also use on some of our engagements, we used Jira and I’m a little bit biased. I love
Jira. It’s my favorite tool for development projects. It is so flexible, it’s so robust. But because of
that, that impedes a lot of people from using it. They’re working on it. I know they’re working on it, and the UI and the
overall UX is starting to change because of that. But it has a lot to take in because because of how
inherently flexible it is, there are so many different triggers you can pull, so many
customizations you can do, and so when you’re first getting into it especially as an entire
organization, It can be very daunting to move everything over to
it to get all your processes set up in it, to get your users set up in it. But it is the go to. I mean, a lot of a lot of
products use it for their product development and that’s why it’s used throughout the globe is
because of how well it works. Yeah it really can’t handle any project you throw
at it whether it’s Kanban, Scrum. Any other type in between, business projects, anything you can
draw out you can do. Absolutely. It’s like the Cadillac of the tools. Yeah, we love Jira. Clearly! But there is one more tool that I am learning to
love so much. It is my go to right now. And as a PM I feel like other PMs could probably
back this up like I am all about finding the next tool. I will pay for however many apps I need to pay for
as long as I’m learning and playing with things and one of our other PMs on this team found Ora
and it’s amazing! The UI is phenomenal. It’s gorgeous. The team that built it is very small and they care
a lot about what their users are feeling and thinking and how they’re going to use it. So they built this tool out to be initially Kanban
style but they have removed any stringencies around it. It gives you the ultimate flexibility to do with
it whatever you want. It makes developers happy, it makes designers
happy, it makes me happy. But with all that said, you know, it’s got some
growing to do since it’s so new. But i would recommend checking that out as well. I’m excited to see what’s to come from them in the
future. They’ve already changed so much since we started. It’ll be exciting to see where they go in the
coming years. Yeah I’m thoroughly impressed with it and I look
forward to learning more about, you know, what their road map paths and how they want to make it
better. So check that out let us know what you think. Tell us what you think about how we implement
things here at Crema. Leave us comments. Like this. Follow us. Tell us what you want us to dive into deeper
because this is really just brushing the surface of all of these topics and we could talk about all
this stuff for days. Maybe years. Yeah it’s our bread and butter. So let us know what you want, let us know what you
think, and thanks for watching!

You Might Also Like

2 Comments

  • Reply Exploring Diaries March 12, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Actually that's quite true, depending on the product team there tends to be a switchable approach between scrum & kanban. While kanban focuses on the speed, scrum is more stakeholder driven. But, yes at the end of the day as a holistic approach – scrum wins. Great video Alison & Tucker. Will be coming back for more. ~ Amyth

  • Reply Henry Samuel October 25, 2019 at 10:58 am

    I love kanban for personal and professional tasks. The beauty of Kanban is that it allows you to visualize your data, making it easier to process. While I do think Restya is a great (free) tool for this. This kanban approach is the start of an effective to-do list and there are many more functionalities to add with the help of Restya.

  • Leave a Reply