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Agile & Product Management

Agile terminology: 100 agile definitions

In the world of project management and software development, Agile methodologies have taken center stage, revolutionizing how teams collaborate, adapt, and deliver results. At the heart of this transformation is an array of terms and jargon – the Agile terminology – that often acts as the key to understanding and successfully implementing Agile practices. 

Despite this, even some of the most experienced agile pros don’t always have all this vocab memorized. After all, agile has existed for a long time, and its language has evolved considerably. 

Whether you’re an Agile veteran or a newbie, this blog aims to demystify these terms, providing a comprehensive Agile glossary of the most essential Agile terminology, from A-Z.

 

A-EF-M | P-S  |  T-Z

Agile terms A-E

Acceptance Criteria

Definition: Acceptance Criteria are criteria set by the project stakeholders or product owner that a software feature or project must meet to be considered complete and satisfactory for the end user.

Synonym: Completion Criteria

Acceptance Test

Definition: An Acceptance Test is a testing phase to verify whether a software system meets the agreed-upon Acceptance Criteria and is ready for deployment.

Synonym: Validation Testing

Agile

Definition: Agile is a project management and software development approach based on iterative development that results in frequent minor releases. In agile, requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams, who typically engage in “Agile events.” 

Synonym: Adaptive Project Management

Agile Ceremonies

Definition: Agile Ceremonies are prescribed events in the Agile methodology that ensure regular and proper execution of the Agile process, including Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-ups, Sprint Reviews, and Sprint Retrospectives.

Synonym: Agile Rituals

Agile Coaching

Definition: Agile Coaching is the process of guiding and mentoring individuals and teams to improve their understanding and adoption of Agile principles and practices.

Synonym: Agile Mentoring

Agile Development

Definition: Agile Development is a subset of Agile methodologies specifically applied to software development involving iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration.

Synonym: Agile Software Development

Agile Manifesto

Definition: The Agile Manifesto is a formal proclamation of four key values and twelve principles guiding the Agile software development approach.

Synonym: Manifesto for Agile Software Development

Agile Metrics

Definition: Agile metrics are quantitative measures used in Agile projects to track and assess the progress, productivity, quality, and health of the development process and team.

Synonym: Agile Performance Indicators

Agile Mindset

Definition: A way of thinking that embraces the core values and principles of Agile, such as adaptability, collaboration, continual improvement, and a focus on delivering value.

Synonym: Agile Thinking

Agile Portfolio Management

Definition: The application of Agile principles and practices to the management of project portfolios, prioritizing agility and flexibility in decision-making.

Synonym: Adaptive Portfolio Management

Agile Principle

Definition: Agile Principles are fundamental concepts that guide the Agile methodology, emphasizing customer satisfaction, early and continuous delivery, collaboration, and responding to change.

Synonym: Agile Values

Agile Product Delivery (APD)

Definition: An approach focusing on delivering products and services to customers in a continuous and customer-centric manner, emphasizing adaptability and value.

Synonym: Continuous Product Delivery

Agile Release Train (ART)

Definition: A team of Agile teams that work together to deliver solutions incrementally in a value stream, typically part of the Scaled Agile Framework.

Synonym: Release Train

Agile Software Development

Definition: An approach to software development under the Agile methodology, emphasizing iterative development, collaboration, and customer feedback.

Synonym: Agile Programming

Agile Teams

Definition: Cross-functional groups, usually comprising 10 or fewer individuals, possessing all necessary skills to define, build, test, and deliver value in an Agile project.

Synonym: Cross-Functional Agile Group

Agile Transformation

Definition: The process of transitioning an entire organization or team to adopt Agile methodologies, involving a change in culture, practices, and mindset.

Synonym: Agile Change Management

Backlog

Definition: A prioritized list of tasks, features, or user stories that are yet to be worked on in an Agile project.

Synonym: Task Queue

Backlog Refinement

Definition: Backlog refinement is the ongoing process of reviewing, updating, and prioritizing backlog items to ensure readiness for future sprints.

Synonym: Backlog Grooming

Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)

Definition: A software development approach that enhances collaboration among developers, QA teams, and non-technical stakeholders by defining expectations and outcomes in understandable language.

Synonym: Specification by Example

Blended Learning

Definition: A training method in Agile that combines different learning approaches, such as digital learning and face-to-face interaction, to enhance understanding and application of Agile principles.

Synonym: Hybrid Learning

Bottleneck

Definition: A point of congestion or blockage in a process that slows down or impedes workflow, commonly identified and addressed in Agile methodologies.

Synonym: Workflow Constraint

Burn Down Chart

Definition: A graphical representation used in Agile projects to track the work remaining versus time, typically in a sprint. Note: In Zenhub, this is called a Sprint Report. 

Synonym: Progress Chart, Sprint Report

Burnup Chart

Definition: A burndown chart is a chart used in Agile to visualize the amount of work completed against the total work scope over time.

Synonym: Scope Chart

Cadence

Definition: The rhythm or pattern of iterations in an Agile project, such as the length of sprints or releases.

Synonym: Iteration Rhythm

Community of Practice (CoP)

Definition: A group of individuals in an Agile environment who share and collaboratively improve their Agile practices and knowledge.

Synonym: Practice Group

Continuous Feedback

Definition: The practice in Agile of providing ongoing feedback to team members and stakeholders to improve processes and products continuously.

Synonym: Ongoing Feedback

Continuous Integration (CI)

Definition: An Agile development practice where developers frequently integrate their work, often daily, to detect integration errors quickly.

Synonym: Continuous Code Integration

Cross-Functional Team

Definition: A team composed of members with various functional expertise and skills working towards a common goal in an Agile project.

Synonym: Multidisciplinary Team

Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD)

Definition: A visual tool used in Agile to show the amount of work in different workflow stages over time, aiding in identifying bottlenecks.

Synonym: Workflow Diagram

DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery)

Definition: An Agile framework that provides a comprehensive guide and toolkit for large organizations to implement Agile methodologies effectively.

Synonym: Disciplined Agile Approach

Daily Scrum

Definition: A short, daily team meeting in Scrum to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours.

Synonym: Daily Stand-up

Definition of Done (DoD)

Definition: In Agile methodologies, the Definition of Done is a clear and concise list of criteria that a software product or a project feature must meet to be considered complete. This ensures transparency and quality in the delivery process.

Synonym: Completion Criteria

Definition of Quality (DoQ)

Definition: A set of predefined standards and criteria that Agile projects must meet to ensure quality in the final product.

Synonym: Quality Benchmarks

Definition of Ready (DoR)

Definition: A checklist of criteria that must be met before a user story or task is accepted into a sprint for development in Agile.

Synonym: Readiness Criteria

DevOps (Development Operations)

Definition: An approach that bridges the gap between software development and IT operations, emphasizing collaboration and automation to improve productivity and efficiency.

Synonym: DevOps Collaboration

DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method)

Definition: An Agile framework that focuses on delivering software projects in a controlled, iterative, and incremental manner.

Synonym: Dynamic Development Method

Empathy Map

Definition: A tool used in Agile to gain insights into customers’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, helping to understand user needs better.

Synonym: User Empathy Tool

Empirical Process Control

Definition: A principle in Agile and Scrum that emphasizes decision-making based on observation, experience, and experiment.

Synonym: Evidence-Based Management

Epics

Definition: Large, complex user stories that are broken down into smaller stories in Agile methodologies, often spanning multiple sprints.

Synonym: Feature Epics

Extreme Programming (XP)

Definition: An Agile software development methodology that emphasizes customer satisfaction, continuous feedback, and iterative development.

Synonym: XP Methodology

Agile terms F-M

Feature Driven Development (FDD)

Definition: An iterative and incremental software development methodology focused on building and designing specific features.

Synonym: Feature-Based Development

Feature Toggle

Definition: A technique in Agile development allowing teams to switch certain software application features on or off during runtime.

Synonym: Feature Switch

Fist of Five

Definition: A consensus-building technique used in Agile teams where team members vote on a scale of 1-5 using fingers to indicate their level of agreement.

Synonym: Five Finger Consensus

Hyperproductive Team

Definition: An Agile team that achieves significantly higher productivity and efficiency than the norm.

Synonym: High-Performance Team

Impact Mapping

Definition: A strategic planning technique in Agile that helps align team activities with overall business goals and outcomes.

Synonym: Outcome Mapping

Incremental Development

Definition: An Agile approach where a product is developed in small, manageable increments, allowing for frequent reassessment and adaptation.

Synonym: Iterative Development

Information Radiator

Definition: A large, visible display used in Agile environments to present key information and metrics about the project’s progress.

Synonym: Big Visible Chart

Iteration Planning

Definition: The process in Agile methodologies of planning the work and objectives for a specific iteration or Sprint.

Synonym: Sprint Planning

Kanban

Definition: An Agile methodology focused on visualizing work, limiting work-in-progress, and maximizing efficiency or flow.

Synonym: Visual Workflow Management

Kanban Board

Definition: A tool used in Kanban methodology to visualize work at various stages using columns and cards.

Synonym: Task Board

Lean

Definition: An Agile methodology focused on creating value for the customer with fewer resources by eliminating process waste.

Synonym: Lean Methodology

Lean Startup

Definition: A methodology used in Agile environments emphasizing the development of products through iterative releases and validated learning.

Synonym: Iterative Startup Approach

LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum)

Definition: An Agile framework for scaling Scrum to multiple teams working on the same product or project.

Synonym: Large-Scale Scrum

Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF)

Definition: The smallest set of functionality in a product that still delivers value and is viable for release.

Synonym: Minimal Viable Feature

Mob Programming

Definition: An approach in Agile software development where the whole team works on the same problem simultaneously in the same space.

Synonym: Whole Team Approach

 

Agile terms P-S

Pair Programming

Definition: A software development technique where two programmers work together at one workstation, with one writing code and the other reviewing it.

Synonym: Collaborative Programming

Parking Lot

Definition: A method used in meetings and Agile environments to set aside off-topic discussions or ideas for later review.

Synonym: Issue Hold Area

Planning Poker

Definition: A consensus-based, gamified technique used in Agile environments for estimating the effort or size of development goals in software development. This technique encourages discussion and provides an entertaining approach to reaching agreement on story points.

Synonym: Scrum Poker

Product Increment

Definition: The sum of product backlog items completed during a sprint, integrated with the work of all previous sprints.

Synonym: Incremental Release

Product Owner

Definition: A pivotal role in Agile and Scrum frameworks, the Product Owner is responsible for defining user stories, prioritizing the backlog, and setting the project’s direction to maximize value delivery. They act as a liaison between stakeholders and the development team, ensuring the product aligns with user needs and business objectives.

Synonym: Product Lead

Product Roadmap

Definition: Product Roadmaps are high-level, strategic visual summaries outlining the vision, direction, priorities, and progress of a product over time.

Synonym: Product Strategy Roadmap

Product Vision Board

Definition: A tool used in Agile for defining and communicating the strategic vision of a product, including objectives, target audience, and key features.

Synonym: Vision Board

RAD (Rapid Application Development)

Definition: An Agile software development approach emphasizing rapid prototyping and iterative delivery.

Synonym: Quick Development Method

Refactoring

Definition: Restructuring existing computer code without changing its external behavior to improve nonfunctional attributes.

Synonym: Code Improvement

Relative Estimation

Definition: An Agile technique of estimating the effort or size of user stories relative to each other rather than in absolute terms.

Synonym: Comparative Estimation

Requirements

Definition: Detailed descriptions of the functionality, features, or conditions a software product must satisfy.

Synonym: Specifications

SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework Enterprise)

Definition: An Agile framework for scaling Agile principles and practices to large organizations and complex projects.

Synonym: Scaled Agile Framework

Scaled Agile

Definition: The practice of applying Agile methodologies to large-scale projects or entire organizations.

Synonym: Agile at Scale

Scrum

Definition: An Agile framework for managing complex projects, typically software development, emphasizing iterative progress, collaboration, and flexibility.

Synonym: Scrum Framework

Scrum Board

Definition: A physical or digital board used in Scrum to visualize the work in a Sprint, typically showing columns for backlog, in progress, and done.

Synonym: Sprint Board

Scrum Master

Definition: A role within the Scrum framework responsible for ensuring the team follows Agile practices and removes impediments to their progress.

Synonym: Agile Coach

Scrum Meeting

Definition: Scrum meetings are regular meetings in the Scrum framework, including daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprint reviews, and retrospectives, to facilitate communication and progress.

Synonym: Scrum Ceremonies

Scrum of Scrums

Definition: A technique in Scrum used to coordinate complex projects involving multiple teams, where representatives from each team meet to discuss progress and impediments.

Synonym: Meta Scrum

Scrumban

Definition: A hybrid Agile methodology combining elements of Scrum and Kanban, often used to transition from Scrum to a more flow-based approach.

Synonym: Agile Hybrid Method

Servant Leadership

Definition: A leadership philosophy in Agile and Scrum where the leader’s primary role is to serve the team, removing impediments and facilitating success.

Synonym: Supportive Leadership

Spike

Definition: A task in Agile methodologies, particularly in Scrum, for researching a question or a problem to gain a deeper understanding.

Synonym: Exploration Task

Sprint

Definition: A fixed time period in the Scrum methodology during which specific work is completed and made ready for review, typically lasting 2-4 weeks.

Synonym: Iteration

Sprint Backlog

Definition: A list of tasks identified by the Scrum team to be completed during the upcoming Sprint.

Synonym: Iteration Backlog

Sprint Goal

Definition: The intended outcome or objective for a Sprint in Scrum, guiding the team on why they are building what they are building during the Sprint.

Synonym: Iteration Objective

Sprint Planning

Definition: A Scrum ceremony where the team selects items from the product backlog to work on during the upcoming Sprint.

Synonym: Iteration Planning

Sprint Retrospective

Definition: A Sprint Retrospective is a meeting at the end of each Sprint in Scrum to reflect on the process and identify improvements for the next Sprint.

Synonym: Iteration Retrospective

Sprint Review

Definition: A Sprint Review is a meeting in Scrum at the end of each Sprint where the team presents the completed work to stakeholders for feedback.

Synonym: Iteration Review

Stakeholder

Definition: Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have an interest in the outcome of a project and can be internal or external to the organization undertaking the project.

Synonym: Interested Party

Stories

Definition: Short, simple descriptions of a feature or function told from the user’s perspective, used in Agile and Scrum for planning and discussion.

Synonym: User Stories

Story Points

Definition: Story Points are a unit of measurement used in Agile methodologies to estimate the effort required to implement a user story or task.

Synonym: Effort Points

Swarming

Definition: Swarming is an Agile technique where more than one team member works on a task considered too complex for a single team member. 

Synonym: Collaborative Work

 

Agile terms T-Z

Task Board

Definition: A visual board used in Agile and Scrum methodologies to track tasks and their progress throughout a Sprint.

Synonym: Scrum Board

Technical Spike

Definition: A type of research task in Agile methodologies aimed at answering technical questions or exploring technical possibilities.

Synonym: Technical Exploration

Test-Driven Development (TDD)

Definition: An Agile software development technique where tests are written before the code, ensuring that software is tested thoroughly from the outset.

Synonym: Test-First Development

Timeboxes

Definition: A fixed duration of time allocated to an activity in Agile methodologies, such as a Sprint, used to help manage work and deadlines.

Synonym: Time Constraints

User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

Definition: The process where end users test a system to verify it can handle required tasks in real-world scenarios, ensuring it meets their needs.

Synonym: End-User Testing

User Experience (UX) Design

Definition: The process of designing products, especially digital ones, to provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users.

Synonym: Experience Design

User Persona

Definition: A semi-fictional character based on user research and real data, representing a user type used in Agile to understand target customers.

Synonym: Customer Persona

User Story

Definition: A tool used in Agile software development to capture a description of a software feature from an end-user perspective.

Synonym: Feature Story

Value Stream Mapping

Definition: A lean-management method for analyzing the flow of materials and information required to bring a product or service to a customer.

Synonym: Process Flow Analysis

Velocity

Definition: Velocity is a metric in Agile methodologies that tracks the average work a team can complete during a single sprint or iteration.

Synonym: Average Team Throughput (per Sprint)

Waterfall

Definition: A sequential (non-iterative) project management approach where progress flows in one direction through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, and maintenance.

Synonym: Sequential Development

Work in Progress (WIP)

Definition: Any tasks or user stories in an Agile project that have been started but are not yet completed.

Synonym: Ongoing Tasks

WIP Limit (Work In Progress Limit)

Definition: A strategy in Agile methodologies, especially Kanban, to limit the work that can be in progress at any one time.

Synonym: Workload Limit

XP (eXtreme Programming)

Definition: An Agile software development methodology focused on technical excellence, customer satisfaction, and iterative development.

Synonym: Extreme Programming

Conclusion: Embracing Agile Fluency

As we conclude our exploration of Agile terminology, it’s important to remember that Agile success isn’t about the words you use. It’s about understanding and implementing these concepts. We know – there are a lot of concepts here, and it can get overwhelming, so we encourage you to keep this guide in your back pocket as an Agile terminology cheat sheet when collaborating with Agile teams. 

 

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