The AgileCraft Agile Glossary

Agile is the umbrella term for many different product development frameworks, and new sets of terminology develop alongside the emergence of these frameworks. We've pulled together a glossary of the terms that we think our customers will find useful as they embark on their agile transformation.

Acceptance Testing
An acceptance test is a formal description of the behavior of a software product, generally expressed as an example or a usage scenario. Positive test results are generally required for a user story or feature to be accepted.

Artificial Intelligence
The development of computer systems able to simulate human intelligence so that the human race is eventually made obsolete. This can include visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. It is increasingly used in DevOps and workflow management systems to increase efficiency and accuracy. Learn more: read about AgileCraft's plans for AI.

Agile Release Train (ART)
A long lived, self-organizing team of 5 - 12 teams that plans, commits, and executes together using a series of fixed-length Iterations within a Program Increment (PI) timebox.

A backlog is an ordered list of items representing all units of work that may be needed to deliver a specific outcome. The Product Owner is responsible for ensuring that the backlog reflects company strategy and the product team is responsible for executing the backlog.

Backlog Grooming
Backlog grooming is when the product owner and some, or all, of the rest of the team analyze and refine the backlog on a regular basis to ensure the it contains the appropriate items in priority order, and that the items at the top of the backlog are ready for delivery. It can be a bit of a whine-fest, so many product owners opt to do this alone.

The practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy, generally only employed by dinosaurs. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed. Learn more: download our whitepaper on the topic.

Burndown Chart
Burndown and burnup charts track the amount of output (in terms of hours, story points, or backlog items) a team has completed across an iteration or a project.

Business Agility
Business agility is the ability of an organization to sense changes internally or externally and respond accordingly in order to deliver value to its customers. An agile business employs the agile principles in all parts of the business, not just product development.

Business Intelligence
The technologies, applications and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information. Smart, agile executives will employ business intelligence to make quick, highly informed decisions on the fly to stay competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace. Learn more: read about AgileCraft's business intelligence solution.

Built using AgileCraft's sophisticated T-Rex technology, AgileCraft connectors enable teams to use their favorite third-party team tools (Jira, TFS, etc.) and DevOps tools (GitHub, Jenkins, etc.) in conjunction with AgileCraft platform to enable seamless custom workflows. Learn more: read about the T-Rex team reconciliation engine.

Continuous Integration
The practice of merging code changes into a shared repository several times a day in order to release a product version at any moment. This requires an integration procedure which is repeatable, reliable and automated.

Definition of Done
The definition of done is an agreed upon list of the activities required to get a product increment, usually represented by a user story, to a done state by the end of a sprint.

An enterprise software development phrase (Development + Operations) used to mean a type of agile relationship between development and IT operations. The goal of DevOps is to change and improve the relationship by advocating better communication and collaboration between these two business units. Learn more: read a blog post on why DevOps is critical to transformation success.

Disciplined Agile Delivery
A people-first, learning-oriented hybrid agile approach to IT solution delivery. It has a risk-value delivery lifecycle, is goal-driven, is enterprise aware, and is scalable. Learn more: read a detailed article on Disciplined Agile Development.

Enterprise Agility
A company's ability to outperform the competition and drive growth in new, ambiguous situations by learning and adapting when confronted with foreseen and unforeseen circumstances, dilemmas, crises, and complex problems.

An epic is a user story that is too large to be accomplished within a sprint. Epics are broken down into user stories and other work that will satisfy the acceptance criteria of the Epic.

A service that fulfills a stakeholder need. Each feature includes a benefit hypothesis and acceptance criteria and is sized or split as necessary to be delivered by a single Agile Release Train (ART) in a Program Increment (PI).

Hybrid Model
A framework customized to suit the specific needs of an enterprise product delivery team. This can involve merging traditional Waterfall practices with an Agile methodology or merging two or more Scaled Agile methodologies together. Learn more: read a detailed article on Hybrid frameworks.

Inspect and Adapt
In SAFe, at the end of each program increment (PI), the greater team assembles to review the work products, evaluate progress, and identify ways to improve the product and development processes moving forward.

An iteration is a timebox during which development takes place. The duration may vary from project to project and is usually fixed.

A visual system for managing work as it moves through a process. Kanban visualizes both the process (the workflow) and the actual work passing through that process. The goal of Kanban is to identify potential bottlenecks in your process and fix them so work can flow through it cost-effectively at an optimal speed or throughput. Learn more: read a detailed article about Kanban.

Lean Startup
A methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning. Learn more: read a detailed article about Lean Startup.

Based on the idea that providing too many rules, roles, and artifacts, while asking the organization to tailor it down is fundamentally flawed, LeSS suggests scaling frameworks should be minimalistic to drive success. Learn more: read a detailed article about LeSS.

Product Owner
The sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog that is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team.

In SAFe, portfolio level aligns enterprise strategy to portfolio execution by organizing the Lean-Agile Enterprise around the flow of value through one or more value streams. Delivering the basic budgeting and necessary governance mechanisms, it assures that investment in solutions will provide the Return on investment (ROI) the enterprise needs to meet its strategic objectives. Learn more: read about how AgileCraft's portfolio layer drives better outcomes.

A level in SAFe that enables development teams, stakeholders, and other resources to be devoted to some important, ongoing solution development mission. This is accomplished via the Agile Release Train (ART). Learn more: read about how AgileCraft maximizes value delivery for programs.

Program Increment (PI)
In SAFe, a timebox in which an Agile Release Train (ART) delivers incremental value. PIs are typically 8 - 12 weeks long, and the most common pattern for a PI is four development Iterations, followed by one Innovation and Planning (IP) iteration.

Release Train Engineer (RTE)
In SAFe, a servant leader and coach for the Agile Release Train (ART). The RTE's major responsibilities are to facilitate theART events and processes and assist the teams in delivering value. RTEs communicate with stakeholders, escalate impediments, help manage risk, and drive improvement. Learn more: read about how AgileCraft helps RTEs optimize train predictability and value delivery.

A visually depicted plan of action detailing how a product or solution will evolve and grow over time. The product owner uses roadmaps to outline future product functionality and when new features will be released.

A scaled agile framework that synchronizes alignment, collaboration, and delivery for multiple Agile teams. It supports smaller-scale solutions employing 50 - 125 practitioners, as well as complex systems that require thousands of people. Learn more: read about using AgileCraft as the only platform specifically designed to support the SAFe framework, or watch a webinar on SAFe 4.5.

A process framework used to manage product development and other knowledge work. Scrum consists of Scrum Teams and their associated roles, events, artifacts, and rules, based on the Agile Manifesto Principles.

Scrum at Scale
An extension of Scrum for organizations looking to coordinate more tightly with multiple teams on a single program. Coordination is managed through a Scrum of Scrums, which is comprised of Scrum Masters from each team, and a MetaScrum, made up of product owners. Learn more: read a deeper article about Scrum@Scale.

Scrum Master
The scrum master is responsible for ensuring the team lives agile values and principles and follows the practices that the team agreed they would use.

A framework similar to Scrum, Spotify uses Tribes, Squads, Chapters, and Guilds. The foundation of the framework is the Squad, which acts like a Scrum team. The Squad self organizes, determines the best way to work, and is single-product, single-project focused. Learn more: read an article with more information about the Spotify framework.

Story Point
A unit of measure for expressing an estimate of the overall effort that will be required to fully implement a product backlog item or any other piece of work. The story point does not measure time, but rather effort.

Story Splitting
Splitting consists of breaking up one user story into smaller ones, while preserving the property that each user story separately has measurable business value.

A "team" in the Agile sense is a small group of people, assigned to the same project or effort, nearly all of them on a full-time basis. Learn more: read about how AgileCraft supports delivery teams, as well as integrates with the most popular team tools such as Jira, TFS/VSTS, VersionOne, CA Rally and more.

Team Room
The team (ideally the whole team, including the product owner or domain expert) has the use of a dedicated space for the duration of the project, set apart from other groups' activities.

Theme (also known as a Strategic Theme)
In SAFe, differentiating business objectives that connect a portfolio to the strategy of the Enterprise. It provides business context for decision-making and serve as inputs to the Vision, budget, and backlogs for the Portfolio, Large Solution, and Program Levels.

A previously agreed, finite period of time during which a person or a team works steadily towards completion of some goal.

Transformation Office
Replacing the traditional PMO (Project Management Office), the Transformation Office facilitates the adoption and scaling of agile processes to support the digital disruption of modern industry. It identifies and captures value in the same way a highly effective PMO does, but accelerates the pace and focus of the organization and sets new rules of engagement. Learn more: read about how AgileCraft enables the transformation office for success.

User Stories
In consultation with the customer or product owner, the team divides up the work to be done into functional increments called "user stories."  Stories typically take the format of As a role, I want to objective so that outcome.

Value Engineering
A systematic method to improve the "value" of goods or products and services by using an examination of function. Value, as defined, is the ratio of function to cost. Value can therefore be increased by either improving the function or reducing the cost. Learn more: read about Value Engineering and how to make better product investment decisions.

At the end of each iteration, the team adds up effort estimates associated with user stories that were completed during that iteration. This total is called velocity.

The highest level of planning in agile is defining the product vision. This becomes a guiding principle for leading the development team, scrum master, and stakeholders throughout the program.

An inflexible software development process that flows in one direction ("downwards" like a waterfall) through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, deployment and maintenance. Learn more: watch our webinar, Help! My team is agile but my execs are waterfall!

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