Kanban vs. Scrum/Agile: A Comparative Analysis for Conversion Rate Optimisation

This article is aimed at Project Managers and Scrum Masters

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) plays a pivotal role in maximising the effectiveness of digital marketing efforts and website performance. It involves systematic processes and strategies aimed at increasing the percentage of website visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting a quote. When it comes to managing CRO projects, two popular methodologies stand out: Kanban and Scrum/Agile. This article will explore and compare how these two approaches are implemented in the context of Conversion Rate Optimisation.

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Kanban in Conversion Rate Optimisation

Kanban is a visual project management system that emphasises flexibility and continuous flow. In the context of Conversion Rate Optimisation, Kanban offers several benefits:

Visualisation: One of the core principles of Kanban is the use of visual boards to represent the workflow. For CRO teams, this means a clear representation of tasks, progress, and bottlenecks. It allows stakeholders to have a quick overview of ongoing experiments and their status, aiding in better decision-making. The typical columns for Kanban in CRO are idea, backlog, build, QA, executing, results, and done.

Continuous improvement: Kanban encourages incremental changes and continuous improvement. In CRO, this translates to a relentless pursuit of small but impactful optimisations. Each experiment is treated as a learning opportunity, helping teams refine their strategies continuously.

Flexibility and adaptability: CRO projects often involve uncertainty, and requirements can evolve rapidly. Kanban's flexibility allows teams to adjust their priorities easily, ensuring they focus on the most critical experiments at any given moment.

Limiting work in progress(WIP): Kanban enforces WIP limits, preventing teams from overloading themselves. In CRO, this is crucial as too many ongoing experiments can dilute focus and impact the quality of the analysis.

Scrum/Agile in Conversion Rate Optimisation

Scrum, a subset of Agile, is a framework that emphasises iterative and time-boxed development. When applied to Conversion Rate Optimisation, Scrum offers several advantages:

Time-boxed Sprints: Scrum operates in fixed-length sprints, typically lasting two to four weeks. This timeframe brings discipline to the CRO process, ensuring that experiments are planned, executed, and analysed within a specific period.

Collaborative Approach: Scrum fosters strong collaboration within the CRO team, including marketers, designers, developers, and data analysts. Regular sprint ceremonies, such as planning and retrospective meetings, enable effective communication and foster a shared sense of responsibility.

Prioritised Backlog: In Scrum, a product backlog is maintained with ordered tasks based on their priority. CRO teams can use this approach to focus on high-impact experiments first, ensuring that resources are used efficiently.

Data-driven Decisions: Scrum emphasises empirical evidence for decision-making. CRO teams can use data analysis and A/B testing results to validate assumptions and guide future experiments. 

Kanban vs. Scrum: Choosing the Right Approach for Your Business

Both Kanban and Scrum offer valuable approaches to managing CRO projects, but they have distinct characteristics and best suit different contexts:

Complexity and Predictability: Kanban is more suitable for CRO projects with a high degree of uncertainty and where experimentation scope can change frequently. In contrast, Scrum/Agile is better suited when there is a higher level of predictability and well-defined experiment scopes.

Team Structure: Kanban is well-suited for smaller CRO teams or when team members wear multiple hats, as it allows more flexibility in task allocation. Scrum/Agile is more effective when the team is larger and has distinct roles, ensuring effective collaboration and specialisation.

Experiment Types: Kanban's focus on continuous flow makes it a good fit for ongoing, smaller-scale experiments. Scrum/Agile's sprint structure is ideal for more structured, time-bound experiments.     The choice to select one of the two approaches depends mainly on CRO-specific needs of building an experiment until bringing it live and getting the results. Especially, detecting parallel running tests is more complex for SCRUM.

Conclusion: Which is the Best Fit for CRO?

In the context of Conversion Rate Optimisation, both Kanban and Scrum/Agile offer valuable approaches. Kanban's flexibility and continuous flow suit projects with changing requirements and a need for adaptive experimentation. On the other hand, Scrum/Agile's time-boxed sprints and collaborative nature are more suitable for projects with well-defined scopes and a predictable workflow.

Ultimately, the choice between Kanban and Scrum/Agile for CRO depends on the specific needs of the team, the complexity of experiments, and the level of certainty in project requirements. Regardless of the chosen approach, the adoption of either methodology can lead to a more efficient and effective Conversion Rate Optimisation process, driving better results and higher website conversions.

Valentina Roselli

Valentina is a globally-minded project management professional with a rich international background mainly in EMEA and Asia. She worked on projects spanning diverse industries, from technology startups in the field of e-commerce to the fashion industry in order to expand and operate in Europe, South Korea, and China, building a bridge between the two continents.

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