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Welcome to our Agile Dictionary, your one-stop reference for essential Agile terminology. Whether you're an Agile pro or new to the concept, our glossary offers concise definitions of key Agile terms. Here you can expand your Agile vocabulary to enhance collaboration and adaptability in your projects. 


Acceptance Criteria: The conditions that a software product must meet to be accepted by a user, customer, or other stakeholders. Adaptive Planning: Planning that is flexible and responsive to changing requirements, allowing teams to quickly adjust plans based on feedback and new inputs. Agile: An iterative and incremental development approach that prioritizes collaboration, flexibility, and customer feedback to deliver high-quality products and services. Agile Coaching: The practice of guiding and mentoring individuals and teams in Agile practices, principles, and frameworks to optimize project management and operational efficiency. Agile Development: A product development approach that follows an iterative and incremental development set of values and principles. Agile Manifesto: The foundational document that outlines the values and principles of Agile development, emphasizing individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, and responding to change over following a plan. Agile Transformation: The process of transitioning an entire organization to become Agile. Artifact: Any document, deliverable, or by-product produced during the end-to-end process. Automated Testing: The use of tools to run tests on products being developed automatically, without the need for manual intervention.


Backlog Refinement: Also referred to as grooming, is The process of adding new user stories to the backlog, re-prioritizing existing stories, and removing stories that are no longer relevant. Burndown: The process of measuring and displaying the amount of work that has been completed in a project and the work that remains. Burndown Chart: A visual representation of the work remaining in a sprint or project, typically shown as a chart with time on the x-axis and work remaining on the y-axis. Business Value: The value that the implementation of a new feature, product, or system is expected to provide to the stakeholders of the project.


Capacity: The maximum amount of work that a team can handle during a specific period. CI/CD: Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment; a practice in which code changes are automatically prepared and tested for release to production. Colocated Team: A sitting arrangement where all team members are located in the same room or office space working together interdependently to accomplish a task. Continuous Flow: A production or work method that aims to eliminate batch processing and move work items through the process one at a time to reduce lead times and inventory. Continuous Improvement (CI): The ongoing process of identifying and implementing enhancements and changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of work at scale. Cross-functional Team: A group of people with different functional expertise working toward a common goal. Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD): An area graph that depicts the flow of work over time, with the horizontal axis representing time and the vertical axis representing the number of tasks in each state. The CFD can help teams monitor how stable their workflow is, anticipate bottlenecks, and make processes more predictable. Customer Feedback Loop: A process of gathering feedback from users or customers on the product's features and performance to inform future development. Customer Persona: A fictional representation of a target customer, used to better understand user needs and guide product development decisions. Cycle Time: The time it takes to complete a single unit of work, from the moment it's started to when it's considered done, often used to measure process efficiency.


Daily Scrum: A daily event lasting no more than 15 minutes held by the Scrum developers to plan the work for the next 24 hours. Daily Standup (or Daily Scrum): A term that refers to the Daily Scrum event. Definition of Done (DoD): A set of criteria that must be met for a user story or task to be considered complete and potentially shippable. Definition of Ready (DoR): A set of criteria that a user story must meet before it can be added to a sprint or worked on, ensuring that it is well-defined and ready for development. Demo: A session in which a development team demonstrates the functionality they have completed during the sprint to stakeholders. Dependency: A situation in which one task or project component depends on the completion of another. Development Team: A term used by the 2017 Scrum Guide that refers to the developers in a Scrum Team. Disciplined Agile Development (DAD): A hybrid approach that extends Scrum to use other Agile frameworks to scale and focus on producing repeatable results. Distributed Agile: Product development implemented by combining Agile and remote development. Distributed Development: A structure where information systems development members are dispersed along physical, geographical, organizational, or temporal boundaries.


Empirical Process Control: A fundamental concept of Scrum based on the ideas of empiricism and lean thinking that emphasizes decision making from real-world results rather than theoretical approaches. Enabler Story: In SAFe, an enabler story helps advance the Architectural Runway to support upcoming business features/stories, often addressing aspects of system architecture, security, or infrastructure. Epic: A large user story or feature that is too big to be completed in a single sprint and is typically broken down into smaller, manageable user stories. Estimation: The process of predicting the amount of effort and time that will be required to complete a project or part of a project. Executive Action Team (EAT): A group of executives or leaders who are responsible for supporting and guiding the implementation of Scrum@Scale at the organizational level.


Feature Freeze: A point in the development process where no new features are added to the product to ensure stability and focus on bug fixing and testing. Feature Team: A cross-functional team in Agile that is responsible for handling all aspects of a product from design to delivery. Fibonacci Sequence: A series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones, often used as a point system in Agile and Scrum planning to estimate the effort, complexity, and size of tasks. Framework: A basic structure underlying a system, concept, or text in Agile that outlines the overall structure and approach but allows flexibility and adaptation within the guidelines. Functional Testing: Testing that involves ensuring that all of the features of a system are operational and meet the defined requirements.


Gemba Walk: A practice where leaders and stakeholders go to the work floor to observe processes directly and gather insights that might be missed at higher levels. Greenfield Project: A project that lacks constraints imposed by prior work; in Agile, this could refer to developing a new product from scratch with no existing code to build upon. Grooming: The process of reviewing a backlog of user stories to ensure clarity and readiness for inclusion in future sprints, also known as backlog refinement.


Hybrid Agile: A methodology that combines elements of traditional project management approaches with Agile practices to suit project needs and stakeholder requirements. Hardening Sprint: A sprint where teams focus on resolving integration issues, executing non-functional testing, and addressing other activities aimed at reinforcing the ‘definition of done’. Hyperproductive Team: An Agile term used to describe teams that achieve significantly higher performance compared to industry averages, often by adopting Agile best practices effectively. Horizontal Slice: A cross-section through the architecture of a feature or system, implementing the required changes across all affected layers from the user interface down through to persistence.


Hardening Sprint: A sprint where teams focus on resolving integration issues, executing non-functional testing, and addressing other activities aimed at reinforcing the ‘definition of done’. Horizontal Slice: A cross-section through the architecture of a feature or system, implementing the required changes across all affected layers from the user interface down through to persistence. Hybrid Agile: A methodology that combines elements of traditional project management approaches with Agile practices to suit project needs and stakeholder requirements. Hyperproductive Team: An Agile term used to describe teams that achieve significantly higher performance compared to industry averages, often by adopting Agile best practices effectively.


JIRA: A popular tool used for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management, widely used in Agile software development environments. Just-in-Time (JIT): A strategy that aligns material orders from suppliers directly with production schedules to minimize inventory costs and enhance workflow efficiency in software development.


Kaizen: A Japanese term meaning 'change for the better' or 'continuous improvement.' In Agile, it refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees. Kanban: A visual system for managing work as it moves through a process, emphasizing just-in-time delivery and workflow efficiency. Kanban Board: A tool used in Kanban to visualize and manage the creation of products, enhancing the flow of work and ongoing capacity measurement. Key Performance Indicator (KPI): A measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets.


Lead Time: The total time taken from the moment a new task is set up until its completion, often used as a measure of process efficiency in Agile and Kanban environments. Lean Software Development: An adaptation of lean manufacturing principles and practices to the software development domain, emphasizing optimizing efficiency and minimizing waste. Lean Startup: An approach to business development that advocates for short product development cycles and proposes that startups invest their time into iteratively building products or services to meet the needs of early customers. Liftoff: An optional activity where the initial phase of a project or iteration cycle where the project or feature is defined, scoped, and resources are allocated.


Metrics: Quantifiable measures used to track and assess the status of a specific business process. Minimum Viable Product (MVP): The smallest version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development. Mockup: A model or replica of a product used for instructional or experimental purposes. In Agile software development, it typically refers to a preliminary visualization of a user interface or design. MoSCoW Method: A prioritization technique used in management, business analysis, project management, and software development to reach a common understanding with stakeholders on the importance they place on the delivery of each requirement.


Nexus: A framework for developing and sustaining scaled product and software development initiatives. Nexus works by building on the Scrum framework and practices to guide multiple Scrum teams on how they need to work together to deliver integrated solutions. Non-Functional Requirements (NFRs): Requirements that specify criteria that can be used to judge the operation of a system, rather than specific behaviors, e.g., scalability, performance, usability, etc. Normalized Story Points: An approach in Agile methodologies where teams adjust their story points to account for discrepancies in estimation and to align more closely with a standard measure across multiple teams.


On-Demand Deployment: The capability to deploy software at any time, necessary in environments with high demands for uptime and responsiveness. Onboarding: The process of integrating a new employee with a company and its culture, as well as getting a new employee the tools and information needed to become a productive member of the team.


Pair Programming: A practice where two programmers work together at one workstation. One, the driver, writes code while the other, the observer or navigator, reviews each line of code as it is typed in. Poker Planning: A consensus-based, gamified technique for estimating, mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of development goals in software development. Product Backlog: A prioritized list of features, defects, tasks, or anything else required to evolve and maintain the product. Product Owner: A Scrum role responsible for representing the customer, creating the product requirements, and prioritizing development items. They ensure the team delivers value to the business. Program Increment (PI): A SAFe term used to define a timebox during which an Agile Release Train delivers incremental value in the form of working, tested software and systems. PIs are typically 8–12 weeks long.


Quadratic Voting: A method of collective decision-making where each member allocates votes to express the degree of their preferences, rather than just the direction. Often used in retrospective meetings to prioritize issues. Quality Assurance (QA): Ensures that the products produced meet the quality standards required for them to successfully meet the needs of stakeholders. Quality Gates: Defined points in a project’s lifecycle used to evaluate the success of a project, phase, or milestone. Queue Theory: The mathematical study of waiting lines or queues. In Agile, this theory is used to predict process performance and behavior. Quick Feedback: The practice of providing rapid feedback on changes in a project to allow for quick iterations and adjustments.


Refactoring: The process of restructuring existing computer code—changing the factoring—without changing its external behavior. Release Planning: A process that defines the steps by which a set of changes is delivered to production, culminating in a release. Retrospective: A Scrum event held at the end of a sprint where the team reflects on the sprint, identifies what went well and what can be improved, and makes commitments for the next sprint. Risk Management: The forecasting and evaluation of financial risks together with the identification of procedures to avoid or minimize their impact. Roadmap: A high-level, strategic visual summary that maps out the vision and direction of a product offering over time.


Scrum Master: A Scrum role that acts as a facilitator for an Agile development team. Scrum Masters are responsible for managing the process for how information is exchanged. Sprint: A timeboxed effort; that is, it is restricted to a specific duration. The duration is fixed in advance for each sprint and is normally between one week and one month, with two weeks being the most common. Sprint Planning: A Scrum event that initiates each sprint by setting the work to be performed for the sprint. This plan is created by the collaborative work of the entire Scrum Team. Story Points: A unit of measure for expressing an estimate of the overall effort that will be required to fully implement a product backlog item or any other piece of work. Spike: A time-boxed period used to research a concept or create a simple prototype. Spikes can either be planned to take place in between sprints or can take the form of a sprint. Sprint Review: A Scrum event held at the end of a sprint where the team presents the completed work to stakeholders to gather feedback that might influence the next sprint. It is an informal meeting, not a status update, and provides a collaborative environment for the team and stakeholders to discuss what was done and what changes might need to be made. Stakeholder: A person with an interest or concern in something, especially a business. Stakeholders in a Scrum project would include anyone with an interest in the project.


Technical Debt: The implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer. Test-Driven Development (TDD): A software development process that relies on the repetition of a very short development cycle: first, the developer writes an (initially failing) automated test case that defines a desired improvement or new function, then produces the minimum amount of code to pass that test, and finally refactors the new code to acceptable standards. Timebox: A previously agreed period of time during which a person or a team works steadily towards completion of some goal. Once the timebox is over, the work ends and the results are reviewed.


Use Case: A list of actions or event steps defining the interactions between a role and a system to achieve a goal. The actor can be a human or other external system. User Story: A tool used in Agile development to capture a description of a software feature from an end-user perspective. The user story describes the type of user, what they want, and why. A user story helps to create a simplified description of a requirement.


Value Stream: The series of steps that an organization uses to implement solutions that provide a continuous flow of value to a customer. Velocity: The amount of work a team can complete during a single Sprint and is measured in Story Points, ideal days, or hours. Vertical Slice: A type of completion in software development that ensures a new piece of functionality is completely implemented from the front end to the back end.


Waterfall: A sequential (non-iterative) process, used in software development processes, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production/implementation, and maintenance. WIP (Work In Progress): The work that has been started but is not yet completed. WIP limits are used in Kanban to constrain the amount of work in progress so the team does not overcommit. Workflow: The sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion. Work Item: A term used to describe an individual work task in a software project. This could be a bug, a requested feature, a user story, or any other unit of work that someone has placed into the backlog.


XP (Extreme Programming): An Agile software development framework that aims to produce higher quality software and higher quality of life for the development team. XP is the most specific of the Agile frameworks regarding appropriate engineering practices for software development.


YAGNI (You Ain't Gonna Need It): A principle behind the XP practice of "do the simplest thing that could possibly work". It is meant to be used in conjunction with several other practices, such as continuous refactoring, continuous automated unit testing, and continuous integration. YAGNI's practices are only coding for requirements of today and not for requirements of tomorrow. The developer is encouraged to do the simplest thing that could possibly work, without adding functionality until deemed necessary. Yokoten: This term is used in Lean practices to describe a process where knowledge, best practices, and improvements are shared across an organization, horizontally or laterally.


Zero-Based Thinking (ZBT): A decision-making process that imagines what might happen if the organization no longer performs certain processes or activities and uses this perspective to reconsider the value and necessity of various actions. Zero Bug Bounce (ZBB): A development phase where the number of bugs is zero, and any new bugs are quickly fixed, leading to a stable version of the software that is ready for production. Zero Defects: A management tool aimed at reducing defects through continuous improvement. In Agile, it aligns with the principle of iterative development where feedback loops help identify defects early and streamline processes to minimize them over time. Zombie Project: A project that continues to consume resources but has no chance of success or is redundant with other efforts in the organization. Agile practices strive to eliminate such projects by promoting visibility, adaptability, and iterative progress.

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