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.
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 software 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: A set of iterative and incremental development methodologies that prioritize collaboration, flexibility, and customer feedback to deliver high-quality products.
Backlog: A prioritized list of user stories, features, and tasks that need to be completed in a product, maintained by the Product Owner. Burn Down 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.
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. 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. By visualizing how tasks accumulate over time, teams can see where to make their process more efficient. 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 meeting lasting no more than 15-minute and held by the Scrum developers to plan the work for the next 24 hours. Daily Standup (or Daily Scrum): A short daily meeting where team members discuss what they worked on, what they plan to work on, and any impediments they are facing. 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. 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.
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. 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. Extreme Programming (XP): A software development style that focuses on programming technique excellence, clear communication, and teamwork.
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.
Gemba: The place where work happens. In Lean, it's important to go to the "gemba" to observe processes and gather information firsthand.
Heijunka (Production Smoothing): A technique used to level production or workloads to reduce fluctuations and improve efficiency. Hoshin Kanri (Policy Deployment): A strategic planning process that aligns an organization's goals and objectives with its day-to-day activities.
Incremental Development: A strategy where a product is built in small, functional increments, each adding new features or improvements to the existing product. Information Radiators: Display of graphical charts and other information-related items used to design, develop, communicate, and track progress.
Jidoka (Autonomation): A Lean concept that refers to building quality into processes and enabling machines to automatically detect and stop when defects occur. Just-in-Time (JIT): A Lean concept that aims to produce or deliver products and services at the exact moment they are needed, minimizing waste and excess inventory.
Kaikaku: Radical change or innovation, often used to describe large-scale process improvements or redesign. Kaizen Blitz (Kaizen Event): A short, focused burst of continuous improvement activity, often involving a cross-functional team. Kaizen: Continuous improvement. A philosophy of making small, incremental improvements to processes, products, or services over time. Kanban: 1- An approach for managing the product development process with an emphasis on the continual delivery of value. 2- A visual system that uses cards or other signals to trigger the replenishment of materials or the initiation of work when inventory levels reach a certain point. KPI (Key Performance Indicator): A measurable metric used to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of a process or system.
Lean Management: A management philosophy and set of principles aimed at reducing waste, increasing value, and improving efficiency in processes. Lean Portfolio Management: A set of principles and practices used to align strategy and execution, ensuring that work at scale remains focused on the organization's strategic objectives. Lean Startup: An approach that combines Agile principles with lean thinking to build and launch products quickly, with a strong focus on learning from real-world user feedback. Lean: A set of principles and practices aimed at reducing waste and increasing efficiency in product development processes, often combined with Agile methodologies. LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum): A product development framework that extends Scrum with scaling rules and guidelines without losing the original purposes of Scrum. MetaScrum: An overarching Scrum team composed of Scrum Masters and Product Owners from various teams, responsible for resolving impediments and ensuring that Scrum is effectively implemented at scale.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP): The smallest version of a product that contains enough features to satisfy early adopters and gather feedback for further development. Mob Programming: A practice where the entire team collaborates on coding, design, and problem-solving in real-time, often with a rotating "driver" at the keyboard.
Non-Value-Added (NVA): Activities that do not contribute to value creation and should be minimized or eliminated.
Organizational Transformation: The process of shifting an entire organization's culture, processes, and structures to align with Agile and Scrum principles, often a goal of scaling Agile frameworks.
Pair Programming: A practice where two developers work together at the same computer, with one writing code and the other reviewing and providing immediate feedback. Planning Poker: A technique used in Agile teams to estimate the relative size or effort required to complete user stories or tasks, often using a deck of cards with Fibonacci sequence values. Poka-Yoke: Error-proofing or mistake-proofing techniques that prevent defects or errors from occurring in processes. Product Backlog: A list of prioritized product requirements used by the development team to select and deliver product increments. Product Increment: A version of the product that includes all the completed user stories and features from a single sprint, potentially shippable to customers. Product Owner (PO) Team: A group of Product Owners who collaborate to define and prioritize the overall product backlog, ensuring alignment with the organization's goals and strategies. Product Owner: A Scrum role responsible for representing the customer, creating the product requirements, and prioritizing development items. Product Owner: The person responsible for defining and prioritizing the product backlog, ensuring that the development team is working on the most valuable features. Product Roadmap: A high-level plan that outlines the vision, goals, and major features or releases planned for a product over time. Pull System: A production or work system where work is initiated based on customer demand, as opposed to a push system where work is pushed into the system regardless of demand.
Quality Assurance (QA) is the process of verifying whether a product meets required specifications and customer expectations.
Release: A version of a product that is made available to customers, typically after a series of sprints or development iterations. Remote Agile: A situation where one or several individuals in an Agile team are not colocated with the rest of the team. 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. Root Cause Analysis: A problem-solving technique used to identify the underlying causes of issues or defects in processes.
SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework): A comprehensive framework for scaling Agile and Lean practices to the enterprise level. Scaled Daily Scrum: A daily event in Scrum@Scale where representatives from each Scrum team briefly coordinate and share updates on progress, impediments, and dependencies across teams. Scale-Free Architecture: A term used in Scrum@Scale to describe the network of teams and interactions that can adapt and evolve without a centralized hierarchy. Scaling Backlog: A prioritized list of items that represent the work to be done at scale, which can include epics, initiatives, or large user stories. Scaling Framework: A structured approach, such as Scrum@Scale, SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), or LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum), used to implement Agile and Scrum practices at scale. Scrum Artifacts: Material that represents work or value designed to maximize information transparency. Scrum Developers: A term used by the 2020 Scrum Guide that refers to the members of a Scrum Team focused on creating the product. Scrum Events: A set of meetings and defined periods used to implement the Scrum framework. These include The Sprint, Sprint Planning, The Daily Scrum, The Sprint Review, The Retrospective. Scrum Master: A Scrum role responsible for being a servant leader, facilitator, and coach in Scrum. The Scrum Master helps the team adhere to Scrum practices, remove impediments, and continuously improve. Scrum of Scrums: A team of teams responsible for delivering an integrated product increment. Scrum of Scrums Master: The person responsible for coaching Scrum Masters, facilitating the SoS meetings, and removing organizational impediments to Scrum implementation. Scrum: A process framework for designing, developing, and maintaining products. Scrum: A specific Agile framework that emphasizes teamwork, accountability, and iterative progress through fixed-length time periods called sprints. Scrum@Scale: A framework created by Jeff Sutherland, one of the co-creators of Scrum, to extend Scrum principles and practices across multiple teams and functions within an organization. Spike: A time-boxed research or investigation task undertaken by a development team to gain knowledge or reduce uncertainty about a particular technology, solution, or problem. Sprint Backlog: A Scrum artifact composed of the Sprint Goal, the selected list of Product Backlog items that will be developed during the sprint, and a plan for developing the items. Sprint Planning: An event held by the Scrum team to plan the work for the upcoming Sprint. Sprint Retrospective: An event for the Scrum team to reflect on their work during the past sprints. This meeting inspects the team, relationships, processes, and tools of Scrum. Sprint Review: An event for the Scrum team to demonstrate the product increment created by the development team where the stakeholders provide feedback and discuss upcoming requirements.
Total Productive Maintenance (TPM): A strategy to maintain and improve equipment and machinery to minimize downtime and maximize overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
User Stories: A format for concisely capturing product requirements written from the user's perspective, typically written in the format "As a [user], I want [an action] so that [benefit]."
Value Stream Mapping: A technique used to analyze and visualize the steps and flow of work within an organization, helping to identify opportunities for improvement. Value Stream Owner: A role responsible for overseeing the entire value stream, ensuring alignment with customer needs and strategic objectives. Value: Anything that the customer is willing to pay for because it contributes to the product or service. Value-Added (VA): Activities that directly contribute to creating value for the customer. Value-Added Activity: An activity or step in a process that directly contributes to meeting customer needs or requirements. Velocity: A measure of a Scrum team's productivity, calculated by summing the story points completed in a sprint over several sprints.
Waste (Muda): Any activity or process step that does not add value from the customer's perspective. Common types of waste include overproduction, waiting, unnecessary transportation, and defects. WIP (Work in Progress) Limit: A constraint placed on the number of tasks or user stories that can be actively worked on at any given time in a Kanban system.
XP (Extreme Programming): An approach that emphasizes practices like pair programming, test-driven development, and continuous integration to enhance software quality and responsiveness to changing requirements.
Yokoten: The practice of sharing best practices and improvements across the organization.
Zero Defects: An Agile principle emphasizing the goal of producing high-quality work with no defects. It encourages teams to focus on preventing defects from occurring rather than fixing them after the fact.