Affinity Estimating A way to estimate large feature backlogs where user stories are assigned shirt sizes, cup sizes, or Fibonacci numbers so they can be placed into groups of similar sizes.
Agile Project management principles from the Agile Manifesto that focus on customer collaboration, fast releases, response to change, self-organizing teams, and evaluation of value.
Agile Manifesto A 2001 document that outlines the fundamental principles and values of Agile methodology.
Agile Modeling A way to represent the workflow of a system or process that is examined by the team before it goes into code. It's generally be easier for stakeholders to understand this concept than code.
Agile Space A physical area for teams that encourage collaboration and communication.
Agile Theme The fundamental idea of a set of stories, sprint, or release; established by the Product Owner or Customer. (Also Known as “Theme”)
Agile Tooling Software or artifacts that promote participation from team members, such as version control or collaboration software.
Artifact Key agile deliverable. Generally includes vision, roadmap, release plan, product backlog, iteration backlog, and working software.
Brainstorming A technique used to elicit a large number of creative ideas from a group. Participants quickly suggest ideas, withholding comments until all ideas are expressed.
Burn-Down Chart A tool that illustrates the progress of an iteration by showing both the completed and the remaining stories.
Capability A large story, eventually to be broken down into user stories in order to be practical. (Also known as “Epic Story”)
Capacity For XP projects, the rate at which a team completes user stories.
Cause and Effect Diagram Illustrates the factors that influence an outcome; often used in root cause analysis for a known or potential quality problem. (Also known as Ishikawa or Fishbone diagram)
Caves and Commons Respectively, isolated or quiet areas where team members can focus or attend to private matters and group areas where team members can exchange information collaborative.
Ceremony Any common agile meetings (e.g. stand-up, iteration retrospective).
Change In Agile methodology, the term refers to a change in the requirements.
Charter The formal document that initiates; outlines high-level and critical information regarding the project (e.g. justification, budget, milestones, constraints).
Chicken A team member who is involved in a project but not committed.
Coach The XP role for a leader who focuses the team on embracing and following XP processes and values.
Collaboration Working together to achieve team goals.
Collective Code Ownership A practice that places responsibility for all code on all team members. Team members can view and modify other member's code.
Colocation Working together in the same room.
Command and Control Higher-ups make team decisions, a practice that is not compatible with Agile methodology.
Communication Sharing information. With Agile teams, must be transparent and often to keep everyone up-to-date on all aspects of the project.
Compliance Obeying a regulation. Sometimes this is a justification for a project.
Cone of Silence A work space that enables team member(s) to work without distractions.
Cone of Uncertainty Highlights how unknowns make it difficult to make early estimates. Estimates become more accurate over time as uncertainty diminishes.
Conflict Lack of agreement among team members. It can be productive to generate ideas and challenge perspectives.
Conflict Resolution Resolving a lack of agreement. Agile favors problem solving over compromise.
Continuous Integration Team members regularly check in their work and test the whole system frequently to identify and resolve problems.
Coordination Team members collaborate on work to improve productivity and performance.
Cumulative Flow Diagram A tool that displays backlogs, completed features, and work in progress.
Customer A participant on an Agile team who determines business value. Can be a real customer or someone who represents customers' interests.
Cycle Time The time between starting the development of a story or feature to the completion of that story or feature.
Daily Stand-Up Meeting A short meeting where each team member reports on what they accomplished the previous day, what they plan to do today, and obstacles they're facing.
Decide As Late As Possible The Agile notion that it is best to delay decisions as much as possible in order to make decisions with as much information as possible.
DEEP Describes ideal characteristics of a backlog: Detailed Appropriately, Estimable, Emergent, Prioritized.
Defined Process Control Processes used to develop products with well-understood variables that lead to repeatedly acceptable quality.
Disaggregation Separating epics or big stories into smaller stories.
Documentation A portion of project artifacts; should be “barely sufficient” to create working software.
Done Completion of a deliverable; requires a common definition for software. Typically, it demonstrates that the software complies with both team members tests (e.g. unit and integration) and meets customer needs.
DRY Stands for “Don't Repeat Yourself”, an Agile guideline that encourages team members to leverage work already done rather than repeat it.
Earned Value Management A method to measure and communicate current progress and cost throughout a project.
Emergent Part of DEEP that suggests that the product backlog should evolve over time.
Emotional Intelligence A type of intelligence that includes self-awareness and social awareness. Agile leaders and team members should possess this.
Empirical Process Control Processes used when underlying complexities not well understood. Work proceeds by experimentation and observation.
Empowerment Enabling Agile team members to make decisions that increase the value of their work.
Epic Story A large story that must be broken down into user stories for more accurate planning and development. (Also known as “Capability”).
Escaped Defects A problem that emerges after a product is released, often found by a customer.
Extreme Persona An exaggerated fictitious user created by team members to help them consider additional requirements.
eXtreme Programming A strict Agile methodology that uses 1-week iterations, pair-programming, and defines specific roles for team-members (e.g Coach, Programmer etc.)
Feature Though definitions differ, a set of stories that give value to customers.
Fibonacci Sequence A number sequence that can assist in Agile estimating. The sequence adds the previous numbers to get the next number (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8)
Fishbone Diagram Illustrates the factors that influence an outcome; often used in root cause analysis for a known or potential quality problem. (Also known as Ishikawa, Root Cause Diagram, or Fishbone diagram)
Five Whys Technique A tool for root cause analysis where individuals ask “why” five times in a row to reveal the fundamental problem.
Focus Concentration on a particular subject to the exclusion of others. An important discipline for productivity for many Agile practices, such as team space, daily stand-ups, etc.
Force Field Analysis A tool used to examine the forces promoting or preventing change.
Functionality An action performed by a system. Should provide value to the user. Actions not experienced by the user is not considered a functionality.
Grooming Organizing the product backlog, often done prior to iteration planning.
Ground Rules Agreements that specify how the team will work together.
High-Bandwidth Communication Methods to convey as much information as possible. In Agile, face-to-face communication is preferred as it includes words, body language, pitch, tone, etc.
Ideal Time The time it would take to complete work in the absence of interruptions.
Information Radiator An agreed-upon set of tools that transparently and visibly communicate relevant, up-to-date project information.
Information Refrigerator Tools that do not transparently and visibly communicate relevant, up-to-date project information. The opposite of the desired “Information Radiator”.
Innovation Games Exercises that generate a list of requirements from stakeholders in a creative way.
Interactions Communications between individuals: preferably face-to-face between Agile team members.
Internal Rate of Return A measurement that expresses profit in terms of an interest rate. The higher the percentage, the more attractive the project.
INVEST Describes characteristics of a good user story. Stands for Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small, and Testable.
Ishikawa Diagram Illustrates the factors that influence an outcome; often used in root cause analysis for a known or potential quality problem. (Also known as Ishikawa, Root Cause Diagram, or Fishbone diagram)
Iteration A cycle of work in an Agile project, typically timeboxed at one week to one month, that usually includes planning, development and testing, a product review, and a retrospective. In Scrum, referred to as a sprint.
Iteration Backlog The stories to be developed in a given iteration. The stories “burns down” during the iteration as work is completed.
Iteration Planning The process of determining the prioritized functionality to be developed, in a specific cycle of one to four weeks, as well as determining the specific tasks needed to develop that functionality.
Iteration Retrospective Team members reflect on the work of the previous iteration and suggest improvements for future iterations.
Iteration Review A timeboxed meeting where the Project Owner examines the product functionality developed during the previous iteration.
Kaizen (“Good change”; “improvement”; “change for the better”): A management framework of continuous improvement. In Agile, can refer to making continuous, small improvements to the product or processes.
Kanban (“Task Board”, “Sign Post”, or “Billboard”). A management framework that focuses on limiting work-in-progress (WIP) and keeping WIP artifacts easily visible.
Kanban Board A highly visible tool that displays the status of work, such as “not started”, “work-in-progress”, and “completed”.
Kano Model A method for prioritizing stories, suggesting that products should surprise and delight the customer, more is better, and there are “must have” features and “must not have” features.
Lean A management philosophy that suggest that activities that create value for the end customer are the only activities that merit the expenditure of resources. All else is wasteful, and thus, should be eliminated.
Metaphor Using a real-world example instead of a system component so that all stakeholders understand the problem.
Methodology A group of practices, processes, and artifacts that dictate the planning, execution, and monitoring of a project.
Minimal Marketable Feature The smallest functionality that adds value to users.
MoSCow A methods for prioritizing stories, Features/stories that Must be in the product, Should be in the product, Could be in the product, and Will not be in the product.
Muda A Japanese word used frequently in Lean, meaning waste, futility, uselessness, idleness, superfluity.
Negotiable Part of INVEST (describes characteristics of a good story) suggesting that stories can be transformed during the process of bringing the idea to life.
Negotiation Discussions focusing on exchanges of something valuable. In Agile methodologies, often involves on-going discussions of scope and schedule. For Agile projects, these discussions are less important than customer collaboration.
Net Present Value Using the time value of money to determine the worth of a project. Expressed in a monetary (e.g. dollar) amount.
Osmotic Communication Communication that happens informally as a result of people sharing the same workspace. E.g. a team member overhearing a conversation and contributing something of value to that conversation.
Pair Programming In XP, developers working in teams of two: one person entering code while the other watches, offers suggestions, different perspectives, etc.
Pareto charts A tool that displays items in prioritized order, such as the Minimal Marketable Features that add value to users or the sources of quality problems.
Parking Lot Chart In Agile, a visual method of showing product functionality and its development status. Not to be confused with tools of the same name used in meetings to keep track of items to be considered at a later time.
Persona A fictitious user (character) created by the team to better understand the needs of a certain type of customer and therefore, to determine more useful requirements.
Pig The Agile term for someone who has a commitment to the project and is affected by the outcome.
Plan-Do-Check-Act A model of continuous improvement where the team members work through iterative cycles. Attributed to Shewhart and Deming.
Planning Game A planning activity where team members estimate the effort of all of the stories involved in a release plan. The “game” involves making decisions regarding which stories will be accommodated first (or accommodated at all) with limited time, money, and resources.
Planning Poker An activity where each team member uses playing cards (or other system) to rank the effort involved in each story. Team members then simultaneously show the value they assigned and discussion follows.
Present Value Using the time value of money to determine the worth of a project. Expressed in monetary (e.g. dollar) amounts.
Process Tailoring Modifying Agile (or any) processes to maximize efficiency or effectiveness.
Product Backlog All of the prioritized features that the team will potentially add to a particular product.
Product Owner The Agile role that advocates for customers, users, and stakeholders.
Product Roadmap A visual representation of the functionality that will be added to a product, typically including releases and general timeframes.
Programmer Developers. In XP methodology, they work in development pairs.
Progressive Elaboration Short and repeating cycles of planning, execution, and evaluation.
Project Work that will result in a unique product, service, or result. Has a start and end date.
Qualitative Factors that cannot be measured with precise or absolute numbers.
Quality Compliance with requirements or specifications. Also described as the degree of customer satisfaction.
Quantitative Factors that can be measured numerically.
Refactoring Reorganizing functional code to make it less complex or easier to read, share or maintain. Should not affect performance.
Relative Sizing An estimating technique where teams estimate the size of one story relative to the size of another.
Release A package of outcomes to be delivered to users.
Release Planning The process of determining the prioritized functionality to be developed, in one or more iterations or sprints, along with the expected timeframe of the development.
Release Retrospective Determine lessons learned for the entire series of iterations associated with particular product, and determining best practices for future use.
Return on Investment The percentage or monetary value earned by an investment.
Risk An unknown that can either have a negative or positive effect on the project.
Risk Burn-Down Chart Displays the overall uncertainty rating of a project. As features are completed successfully (which reduces uncertainty), the uncertainty “burns down”.
Role The manner in which someone interacts with the project (e.g. Customer, Stakeholder, etc.)
Root Cause Analysis A technique that helps teams understand the fundamental issues that cause problems.
Root Cause Diagram Illustrates the factors that influence an outcome; often used in root cause analysis for a known or potential quality problem. (Also known as Ishikawa or Fishbone diagram)
Scrum A well-known Agile methodology that organizes practices around three pillars: visibility, inspection, and adaptation.
Scrum Master The Scrum role responsible for helping a team follow Scrum principles.
Scrum of Scrums A meeting involving multiple Agile teams to discuss each team's progress. Servers to enhance coordination.
SDLC Stands for System Development Lifecycle. This non-Agile approach emphasizes heavy up-front planning for well-defined initiatives.
Self-Organization An Agile value of empowering teams to make decisions as opposed to forcing decision upon them.
Servant Leadership The Agile notion suggesting that leaders are most effective when they provide for the needs of the team first and leads the team second.
Shippable functionality The usable functionality within the product that meets the customer's business goal.
Shippable functionality The usable functionality within the product that meets the customer's business goal.
Silo An environment where team members work in isolation from other teams. Agile methodology promotes just the opposite.
Smells Symptoms that suggest the team is having problems.
Spike (Spike Solution) Research, a short experiment, or prototype that provides needed information to the team.
Sprint The Scrum term for an iteration a week to a month in duration.
Stakeholder A person with either a positive or negative interest in the project.
Stakeholder Management Communicating with and engaging affected individuals throughout the project, as well as managing their expectations.
Stand-Up Meeting A short meeting where each team member reports on what they accomplished the previous day, what they plan to do today, and obstacles they're facing. (Also known as “Daily Stand-Ups”)
Story Requirement(s) that adds value to the user. (Also known as “User Story”)
Story Card An index card with a desired user feature. The technique encourages “barely sufficient” planning by intentionally limiting the details documented for that feature.
Story Map A tool that typically displays planned features organized by categories.
Story Point A measure that shows the estimated effort of a story. Teams can choose units such as t-shirt sizes.
Sustainability A pace that a team can maintain. Agile methodology encourages a steady pace as opposed to extreme effort just prior to deadlines.
Swarming A practice of assigning as many team members as practically possible on the highest priority story.
Task A small piece of work that is usually accomplished quickly by one person. It is smaller than a story and does not have to deliver value to the user.
Team A group of people who share responsibility for completing a project.
Technical Debt Decisions and work that a team chooses to delay temporarily.
Test-Driven Development An Agile practice where acceptance tests are developed before the product is developed.
Tester The XP role that helps the customer establish acceptance tests. This role also performs the tests.
Theme The fundamental purpose in a set of stories, an iteration, or a release. It is established by the Product Owner or Customer. (Also known as “Agile Theme”)
Timeboxing Establishing a fixed amount of time for a project, release, iteration, or meeting. It forces stakeholders to prioritize their needs and focus their efforts on producing the most value within the time constraints.
Tracker The XP role responsible for measuring team progress and communicating that progress to stakeholders.
Traditional Management Teams are managed top down as opposed to the Agile perspective of empowering them to be self-organizing.
Transparency An Agile value that makes sure that project information is easily accessible to the whole team.
User Story Requirement(s) that adds value to the user. (Also known as “Story”)
Validation Making sure a product meets customer expectations.
Value The worth a project brings to an organization or the worth a product or feature provides to a user.
Value Stream Mapping A Lean technique of analyzing a sequence of processes in order to reveal and reduce waste.
Value-Based Prioritization Ranking product functionalities in order of expected benefits. Performed by the Product Owner.
Velocity For Scrum projects, the rate at which a team completes user stories.
Verification Confirming that a product complies with specifications.
Virtual Team A geographically dispersed team. Generally seen as less desirable than a collocated team.
Visibility The Agile value that information about team members' work should be easy to access for all stakeholders. Sometimes used synonymously with “transparency”.
Vision Statement The elevator speech for a project, providing information such as the proposed product's customer, features and benefits, and competitive differentiation.
War Room One physical space where all team members can work together to foster communication and team identity.
Waterfall A project management philosophy that relies on sequential phases of design and development. Changes to design during development can be viewed as disruptive. Agile philosophy encourages iterative and incremental development that make changes far less disruptive and even welcomed.
Wideband Delphi Estimating A technique where each team member estimates the effort of user stories through sharing estimates simultaneously. This simultaneous sharing generates “wideband” information.
WIP Limits Reducing work-in-progress in order to focus team on completing tasks and delivering value.
Wireframe A graphic showing a proposed interface, created without code (sometimes even hand drawn), that show users how the product would work..
Work-In-Progress Stories or tasks that the team has started. Agile methodology, particularly Lean, suggests limiting this to avoid multitasking.
Workflow Development stages that the team has agreed they will follow during a project.
XP An Agile methodology that uses 1-week iterations, pair programmers, and defines specific roles for team-members (e.g Coach, Programmer etc.) (Also known as “eXtreme Programming”)