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Glossary : Agile development

Hand-picked agile development terms, definitions, and frequently asked questions. Each agile development term is defined and explained simply by our research team.

A

Acceptance Criteria

Acceptance Test

An acceptance test is conducted by the customer or the end-user to evaluate if a software solution meets requirements.
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Adaptive Software Development (ASD)

Adaptive software development embodies the principle that continuous adaptation of the process to the work at hand is the normal way to work.
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Agile

The Agile methodology is a set of values and principles, promoting iterative ways of working, where teams progress in “sprints”. This enables more effective prioritization and, if done well, also increases user satisfaction.
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Agile Framework

Agile Frameworks are the different variations and approaches used by development teams based on the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto.
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Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto is a document setting out the key values and principles behind the Agile philosophy, helping software developers work more efficiently and effectively.
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Agile Principles

There are 12 agile principles included in The Agile Manifesto, originated by software developers to prioritize individual interactions, customer collaboration, and flexibility.
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Agile Product Owner

An Agile Product Owner is vital for steering a product’s development in the right direction and helping teams complete tasks successfully. They work to keep a product in line with the company’s best interests and stakeholder expectations.
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Agile Transformation

With agile transformation, an organization restructures and redefines itself to align with the agile methodology, affecting the business as a whole.
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Agile Values

The Agile Values are the four core values of the Agile Manifesto, a guide designed to help software development teams work more efficiently and collaboratively.
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Alpha Test

An alpha test is a form of acceptance testing used to identify all possible issues and defects of a software system before it is released to actual end-users.
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B

Backlog

A backlog is a prioritized list of all smaller tasks to be completed for a larger development project. It usually includes user stories, bug fixes, and product updates.
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Backlog Grooming

Backlog grooming gives product teams the opportunity to review and prioritize their outstanding user stories, typically in preparation for the next sprint.
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Baseline

A Baseline is a fixed point of comparison in the timeline of a project, budget, or development process which is used to evaluate progress, improvement, or change over time.
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Benchmark

Benchmarking can help businesses compare their operations and strategies against those of other entities, and improve based on the insights gained.
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Burndown Chart

A burndown chart is a visual representation of the amount of work that has been completed and outstanding work in a sprint.
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Business Agility

Business agility takes the principles of agile development and uses them across an entire organization, increasing adaptability to market changes, challenge or opportunities. An agile business also fosters greater creativity, innovation, and collaboration.
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Business Transformation

Business transformation is the process of redesigning, restructuring, or expanding a business to adapt to relevant internal or external changes.
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C

CAD/CAE

CAD and CAE are types of engineering apps that make it possible for engineers and designers to work in a digital, 3D environment.
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Continuous Delivery (CD)

Continuous Delivery (CD) is defined as the ability to deliver product updates to customers as quickly and frequently as possible.
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Continuous Deployment

Continuous deployment is an agile production method, designed to fast-track products to market.
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Continuous Integration (CI)

Continuous integration is an engineering process where code is subjected to automated testing, several times a day, to identify bugs or errors.
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Cross-Functional Team

A cross-functional team unites people with diverse skills from across a company, specializing in different functional areas such as design or product management.
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Crystal Agile Framework

Crystal is an agile methodology for software development. It focuses on people and communications over processes and tools and is uniquely flexible around team types, criticality and project priority.
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D

DEEP Backlog

A DEEP backlog is one possible outcome of a backlog grooming session. The acronym that describes effective backlogs, and stands for: Detailed Appropriately, Emergent, Estimates and Prioritized.
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Definition of Done

In reference to the Scrum agile framework, the definition of done (DoD) describes predefined demands a certain output must meet when being delivered. It is used to establish a common understanding on the product’s level of integrity to ensure quality.
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Definition of Ready

In the Scrum agile framework, the definition of ready (DoR) marks the completeness of preliminary actions for a task or project to be processed.
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Disciplined Agile (DA)

Disciplined Agile (DA) is a process decision toolkit, bringing together elements from Scrum, eXtreme Programming, Kanban and, of course, agile development. As such, DA helps teams streamline their internal processes and achieve greater business agility.
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Dual-Track Agile

Dual-track agile is a form of agile development, in which the work of a product development team is separated across a discovery track and delivery track.
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Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)

Dynamic Systems Development Method an agile iterative approach to software development that considers not just the lifecycle of a project, but also the wider business impact it will have.
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E

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a productivity tool for organizing your tasks by urgency and importance. Created by President Dwight Eisenhower, it's a great way to better understand where your time is going versus where it should be going.
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Engineering Backlog

An engineering backlog shows which work items are being completed by the engineering team in the current sprint.
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Enterprise Architecture Planning (EAP)

Enterprise Architecture Planning (EAP) is a process by which organizations define how IT and information will be used in a business to achieve its goals.
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Enterprise Architecture Roadmap

An enterprise architecture roadmap is a high-level overview of the direction a company's IT plans and projects will take over time.
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Epic

An epic refers to a grouping of user stories (or development tasks) which together make it possible to achieve a product theme. The theme > epic > story structure is a popular method in agile development.
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Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme Programming (XP) is a set of strictly defined engineering practices, that aim to not only promote the principles of agile development but also to improve the quality of life for the development team.
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F

Feature Driven Development (FDD)

Feature Driven Development (FDD) is an iterative agile model used to incrementally develop features into a complete product. It focuses on building software by breaking it into small components, rapidly developed in repetitive cycles.
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Feature Kickoff

A Feature Kickoff is a conference held right as a development team is about to start work on a new project. During this meeting, the project manager and stakeholders discuss expectations, goals, and requirements for the project.
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Feature-less Roadmap

A Feature-less Roadmap provides software development teams with a high-level view of the strategy behind the product they’re developing. It focuses on the “why” of a product as opposed to the “how”.
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Fibonacci Agile Estimation

The Fibonacci Agile Estimation is a story-point method that helps agile teams estimate tasks to reach a consensus on time and resource allocation.
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G

Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart visually displays how tasks spread over a timeline. This technique helps project managers successfully plan, coordinate and track all resources and efforts related to a specific project.
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I

ICE Scoring Model

The ICE Scoring Model is an agile prioritization tool, assessing projects, ideas and features via three set measurements: Impact, Confidence and Ease
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Iteration

An iteration is the specific time period set aside for the development of a product or software.
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K

Kanban Board

A Kanban board is a visualization tool allowing teams to optimize their workflow, completing tasks with increased productivity and efficiency.
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L

LeSS (Large Scale Scrum)

LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) is an agile approach to software development that incorporates elements not found within the traditional Scrum framework. Put simply, LeSS applies Scrum principles on a larger scale.
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Lean Software Development (LSD)

Lean Software Development is an agile framework, intended to optimize development time, use of resources, and focus on the minimum viable needs of a product.
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M

Method of Procedure (MOP)

Method of Procedure refers to a step-by-step project plan, guiding employees or teams to the completion of a specific task.
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Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Launching with a minimum viable product (MVP) allows teams to test a product’s core concept and functionality in a realistic setting, receiving user feedback and improving iteratively when needed.
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P

Pair Programming

Pair programming involves two programmers sharing a single workstation. One programmer focuses on coding, whilst the other reviews and assesses the work.
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Product Backlog

A product backlog is a list of all the tasks known to be needed in the product. It serves as an authoritative source for what the team should be working on right now.
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R

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Rapid Application Development (RAD) is an adaptive software development approach where a software prototype is rapidly updated based on user feedback and iteratively delivered until it meets all client requirements.
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Rapid Experimentation

Experiments are launched rapidly to discover new ideas. This allows product development teams to build less and learn more.
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Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping is a key part of product development, leveraging functional prototypes for in-depth testing of core design elements (size, function, etc.) and overall user experience.
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Release Demo

A release demo shows the work, and the progress of a project, at the end of each iteration.
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Retrospective

A retrospective is a team meeting held after a product has shipped. Its primary goal is to discuss what happened during the product development cycle, providing valuable lessons for the future.
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S

SMART Goal Setting

Product managers who want to increase their odds for success should consistently turn to the SMART goal setting approach. It’s their best tool for creating realistic, clear objectives and for driving motivation.
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Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

An agile framework designed to help scale agile practices for larger organizations with multiple teams working on multifaceted projects.
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Scrum Master

Being a Scrum Master is a professional occupation and originates from a designated role in the Scrum framework. A Scrum Master is responsible for delegating and supervising agile software development activities based on the ideas and methods of Scrum.
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Scrum Meeting

The Scrum meeting is executed daily, usually performed as a stand-up meeting. Participants include all Scrum team members, such as product owner, Scrum Master and development team.
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Scrumban

Scrumban is a combination of Scrum and Kanban. By combining the two, teams can visualize the organizational aspects of Scrum while benefiting from the flexibility of Kanban. It's a less rigid model that brings out the best in both workflows.
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Shape Up Method

The Shape Up Method is a process for developing products across six-week cycles, with “cooldown” periods between each. Teams have more autonomy to determine tasks and manage them to completion, freeing leaders from time-consuming micromanagement.
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Shipyard Engine

A shipyard engine is a tool used to help teams communicate while continuously updating a software product. It goes above typical VCS systems, forcing team members to justify the updates they ship and to notify other team members of their updates.
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Sprint

A sprint is a fixed length of time allocated to a team to complete specific tasks and achieve goals.
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Sprint Backlog

A sprint backlog is the list of items selected from the product backlog to deliver during the current sprint. Crucially, this should also contain a solid plan for delivering the product increments to meet the sprint goals.
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Sprint Goal

The sprint goal is a clear, simple objective to be completed during a single sprint or iteration.
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Sprint Planning

In a sprint planning meeting, the scrum team will prioritize which items from the product backlog should be delivered during the current sprint.
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Standup

A standup is a short daily meeting designed to share progress amongst the team and encourage good communication.
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Story Point

A story point is a unit of measure used in the agile development process to express an estimate of the overall effort that will be required to fully implement a product backlog item.
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T

The 4 Ds of Time Management

When to-do lists start to grow overwhelmingly, the 4 Ds of time management can help product managers discern essential from non-essential tasks and get things done.
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U

User Story

A user story is a well-formed, short and simple description of a software requirement from the perspective of an end-user.
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V

Velocity

Velocity is a measure of the speed at which an agile team completes work items. By analyzing velocity, teams can estimate how much work they can complete in future iterations.
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W

Waterfall

Waterfall software development breaks work into consecutive stages, that each happens one after the other until the completion of the project.
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