Agile Terminology

Have you ever been asking yourself, “What is Agile ?” You’re in the Correct place. This is the another installment of a two-parts series on basics of Agile. In the first post we defined how Agile actually works. Now we’re defining you to 10 key terms you need to know to conversant in Agile.

Must To Know about Agile Terminology: The Top 10 List

1. Agile : An Umbrela term for iterative, incremental software development methodologies. Includes Extreme Programming, Scrum, Dynamic Systems Development Method, and Feature-Driven Development. Agile development methodologies emphasize small teams delivering small increments of working software with great frequency while working in close collaboration with the customer and adapting to changing requirements.

2. The Agile Manifesto: 

  • interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

3. Backlog:  An two way list  of product/project requirements and activities—often expressed in terms of user stories and prioritized by the customer.

4. Daily Stand Up or Scrum:  daily, 15-minute meeting with entire team. The primary purpose for the stand-up, or “scrum” is to unrth anything inpeding a team member and to promote communications. Stakeholders may attend as silent observers. Three questions everyone should answer are:

  • What have you done since yesterday?
  • What are you planning to do today?
  • Do you have any stumbling blocks?

5. Epic: A large user story that is broken down into smaller stories prior to implementation. Usually lower priority items.

6. Product Owner: Helps the team find its clear, elevating goal by defining the features of the product (with stakeholders and customers), developing and prioritizing the product backlog, making scope/schedule tradeoff decisions, and adjusting priorities as requirements emerge. Responsible for the “what.”

7. Sprint: An iteration or uninterrupted period of time during which an Agile development team designs, codes, and tests the product, usually two to four weeks long. At the sprint’s end, the team delivers a “potentially shippable” product increment.

8. Sprint Review: Held at the end of each sprint to promote transparency and give stakeholders a chance to provide feedback. The team gives demos of deliverables, which are accepted or rejected by the Product Owner. This helps prevent the “Big Bang” effect at the end of a project where stakeholders are surprised by a deliverable (positively or negatively).

9. Sprint Retrospective: This happens at the end of a sprint, and allows the team to look inward at what is working and what is not. Teams should focus on areas that will improve cohesiveness and efficiency. Three questions that should be answered are:

  • What should we start doing?
  • What should we stop doing?
  • What should we continue doing?

10. Velocity: The average number of points an Agile team accomplishes during an iteration.

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