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TheHandbookof

AgileKeywords

AGlossaryofTop30AgileKeywords

Introduction

Thisshortbookisagiftfor

you,fromBreatheAgile.

Itisacollectionof

top30AgileKeywordsalongwithabriefexplanation.
IfyouareanAgilePractitioner,itcanhelpyouasaquickpocketreference,examreferenceandalsofor
interviewpreparation.IfyouarenewtoAgile,itwillhelpgetstartedwithsomecoreconcepts.
Wesincerelyhopeyoufindthisbookuseful.PleaseconsidersharingawordinTwitter,LinkedInorFacebook,so
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Withbestregards,

AshwinChandrasekaran
Founder,BreatheAgile(http://breatheagile.net

Contents
#1AgileManifesto

#11IterationPlanning

#21CodeRefactoring

#2ProductBacklog

#12DailyStandup

#22ConeofUncertainty

#3IterationBacklog

#13IterationReview

#23Prototyping

#4ReleasePlan

#14RetrospectiveMeetings

#24ReturnonInvestment(ROI)

#5RollingWavePlanning

#15RiskadjustedBacklog

#25AcceptanceCriteria

#6UserStory

#16MosCoW

#26AgileCharter

#7IdealTime

#17WIPLimits

#27MinimumMarketableFeature(MMF)

#8StoryPoints

#18ContinuousIntegration

#28PresentandFutureValue

#9Velocity

#19Timeboxing

#29ControlLimits

#10Scrum

#20PlanningOnion

#30TechnicalDebt

#1AgileManifesto

Definition

Writtenby17independentsoftwarepractitionersin2001,AgileManifestoputsforthasetof4
principlestouncoverbetterwaysofdevelopingsoftware.

Theyarenotrules.Buttheyserveasareminderofrightpriorities.

Hereisthelistof4principles.

1. IndividualsandInteractionsoverProcessandTools
2. WorkingSoftwareoverComprehensiveDocumentation
3. CustomerCollaborationoverContractNegotiation
4. RespondingtoChangeoverfollowingaPlan

#1

#2ProductBacklog

Definition

Productbacklogisthecollectionofallworkitemsthatispendingteamsaction.Itisthemaster
list,prioritizedbyProductManagerorProductOwnerthatserveasakeyinputtotheteams
planningactivities.

Thebacklogmustbecomprehensiveandincludeeverythingdevelopment,maintenance(bugs
etc.),supportetc.thatrequiretheteamsattention.

ProductOwnerisresponsiblefortheprioritizationofthebacklogaidedbytheCustomer.
However,theentireteamisinvolvedintheexercisetoshareinputsthatwillotherwisebe
unavailabletothePO.

ci

#3IterationBacklog

Definition

IterationBacklogisthelistofitemsanAgileteamcommitstoachieveorcompleteinthe
currentiteration.ItisalsoreferredasSprintBackloginteamsusingScrum.

Normally,itisasubsetofProductBacklogchosenfromthehighpriorityitems.Thispriorityis
assignedbytheProductOwner.Thelistisalwayssortedinthedescendingorderofpriority.

Usingtheestimateassignedtoeachoftheseitemsandcapacityoftheteamincurrentiteration,the
commitmentismade.Twothingsareimportant:1)Entireteammustbecommitted,notjustthe
leads/keymembers,2)Risksanddistractionsmustbeconsideredwhenevaluatingtheteam
capacity.

#4ReleasePlan

Definition

ReleasePlanisalongtermplanthatdescribehowtheteamwillachievetheprojectorproduct
goals.

Itisusuallymadefromacollectionofiterationplansthatachievethesmallergoalsiteratively
basedontheirpriority.StoryMapisatechniquetocreatethereleaseplan.

Agoodreleaseplananswersthefollowingquestions.

1) Whatarethereleasegoals?
2) Howtoiterativelyachievethesegoals?
3) Whatistheexpectedtimelineandduration?
4) Whatarethemilestones?

#5RollingWavePlanning

Definition

Rollingwaveplanningreferstothepracticeofestimatingtheneartermworkitemsingreater
detailandlongtermonesatalesserdetail.

Agiledevelopmentisbasedonthepremisethatrequirementswillchangeoveraperiodoftime.
Basedonthispremise,itisprudenttospendmoretimeanalyzingandestimatingtheworkitems
thataremorecertain.Thoseplannedforalongertermcanbeestimatedatlesseraccuracyfor
planningpurposes.

AsperPMI(ProjectManagementInstitute),neartermitemsmayuseDefiniteEstimates(5%to
+10%accuracy)whilefutureitemsmayuseOrderofMagnitude(50%to+50%accuracy)or
PreliminaryEstimates(15%to50%accuracy).

#6UserStory

Definition

UserStoryistherepresentationofenduserrequirement,inclear,unambiguousandbusiness
languagethatmakessensetothoseusers.

TheyarenormallycreatedbyendusersinconsultationwithProductManagersorBusiness
Analysts.Essentialcomponentsofanuserstoryare:a)Titleb)Briefdescriptionc)
Acceptance/DoneCriteria4)Otherinformationdiscussedintherequirementgatheringmeeting

Hereisanexamplestorytitle(theformatisprescriptive,notmandatory).

AsanAirportManager,Imustbeabletoviewallflightsarrivinginday,sothatI
canapproveorrejecttheirlanding

#7IdealTime

Definition

IdealTimeisanunitofmeasureforUserStoryestimations.Itisthetimetakenbyoneperson,
withoutanyinterruptions,tocompleteallactivitiesneededindeliveringthestoryforenduser
acceptance.

Thisistheidealtimetofinishthework.Butinreality,manyinterruptionsoccurduetovarious
factorslikemeetings,unplannedactivities,teammemberproductivity,vacationsandsoon.

Forplanningpurposes,thisidealtimemustbecombinedwithfocusfactoranumberlessthan
1,whenmultipliedwithidealtime,givesarealisticestimate.Focusfactorisspecifictoateam
andmustbedeterminedoveraperiodoftime,afteranalyzingallpossibleinterruptions.

RealisticEstimate=IdealTime*FocusFactor

#8StoryPoints

Definition

StoryPointsareanalternativeunitofmeasuretodenotethesizeofanuserstory(incontrastto
idealtime).Theyincludealltheworkneededtoshiptheentireuserstoryforenduseracceptance.

Humansaregoodatrelativeestimations.Storypointsfollowthesameapproach.Normally,a
storywithmoderatecomplexityischosenandsetatapredefinedstorypointvalue(say5).Other
storiesareestimatedincomparisonwiththisstory:morecomplexgetavalue>5andless
complexgets<5.

FibonacciseriesandTShirtsizesarecommonscalesusedforthestorypointestimation.

Thedefinitionofstorypointisveryspecifictoateam,henceitmaybedifficulttoexplainothers
likemanagement.Itisabetterapproachtostartwithidealtimeandmovetostorypointswhen
theteamismoremature.

#9Velocity

Definition

Velocityistheamountofworkateamcanaccomplishinagiveniteration.Usually,
thisisexpressedintheunitofidealdaysorstorypoints.

Velocityisameasureofteamsthroughputthathelpsinforecasting.Itisspecifictoagiventeam,
theircompetencies,workenvironmentandcollaborationlevels.Hencevelocitiesofteamscannot
bedirectlycompared.

Example

TeamAhasanaveragevelocityof50storypoints.Thismeansthattheteamcanaccomplishwork
equivalentof50storypointsinagiveniteration.Tocompleteworkequivalentof350storypoints,
theteamwillapproximatelyneed7iterations.

#10Scrum

Definition

ScrumisaaniterativeandincrementaldevelopmentframeworkforAgileSoftwareprojects.

Itwasintroducedinearly2000byKenSchwaberandJeffSutherland,thoughsomeinformal
formsofthismethodexistedbefore.Theadoptionisconstantlyontheriseinrecentyears(asper
aScrumAlliancestudy)andmorecompaniesarefollowingthesuit.

ScrumisbasedonthreeprimaryprinciplesTransparency,InspectionandAdaptation.

AScrumProjectstartswiththecreationofReleasePlanthatdefinestheroadmap.Thenthe
roadmapissplitintoiterationscalledSprintseachdeliveringavaluablepieceofoutputtowards
thefinalgoal.

Scrumrecommendscloseandconsistentcollaborationwithpotentialendusersoftheproduct.

ScrumrecommendsthreeRolesandfourMeetingsthathelpwiththeprojectsuccess.

ThreeRolesofScrum

ProductOwnerOnewhounderstandthecustomerrequirements,translatethemtothe
developmentteamandhelpsettherightpriorities
DevelopmentTeamTheteamofprogrammers,testersandbusinessanalystswhodevelop
theproduct
ScrumMasterAfacilitatorwhoenablestheteamtodeliverandguidesthemthroughthe
journey

OtherrolethatmayexististheFunctionalManager.Thispersondealswithprojectandpeople
managementresponsibilities.

FourMeetingsofScrumaredescribedinthefollowingsections.

#11Sprint/IterationPlanning

Definition

SprintPlanningMeetingisheldatthestartofaSprinttodiscussworkitemsthatareofhigh
businesspriorityandendwithacommitmentfordelivery.

ProductOwner(PO)drivesthismeeting
Everyoneintheteammeettodiscusstheworkitemsthatareofhighbusinesspriority
Oncethedevelopmentteamisclearonwhatisneeded,theyproposeasolutionandestimate
thework
Togetherwiththebusinesspriority,solutionandestimatethePOgivesafinalpriority
Usingthefinalpriorityandthecapacity,theteamcommitstodeliverthoseitemsinthe
currentSprint

Commitmentfordeliveryandagreementonthereviewdatearetwomainoutcomesofthis
meeting.

#12DailyStandup/DailyScrum

Definition

DailyStanduporDailyScrummeetingprovideanopportunitytofrequentlyreviewthe
progressofaSprintandidentifyanomaliesasearlyaspossible.

Thismeetingisheldeveryday,atthesametimeandpreferablyatthesamelocation.Thetimeis
mutuallyagreedbyallteammembers.ScrumMasterandtheDevelopmentteamaremandatory
participants.FunctionalManagerandProductOwnermayoptionallyparticipate.

Thismeetingisfocusedonanswerstothesethreequestionsfromeveryoneintheteam.
WhatdidIdoyesterday?
WhatIplantodotoday?
WhataretheissuesorobstaclesIamfacing?

Allotherdiscussionsareheldafterthemeetingwithonlynecessaryparticipants.

#13Sprint/IterationReview

Definition

SprintRevieworIterationReviewmeetingisheldattheendofaniterationtovalidatethe
outcomeagainstthecommitment.AswithPlanning,thismeetingmustincludeeveryoneinthe
teamPO,ScrumMaster,DevelopmentTeamandFunctionalManager.CustomersorEndUsers
mayparticipateasneeded.

Typicallyheldforabout2hours,themeetingisanopportunityforthedevelopmentteamto
demonstratetheirachievement.AdemonstrationoftheSprintdeliveryismadewithanobjective
toreceivefeedback.

POcanreviewthisdemonstrationagainsttheacceptancecriteriaforeachstory.Thestoryisthen
acceptedorrejected.SometimesthePOmayrequesttoplaywiththeapplicationafterthemeeting
tocomeupwithafinaldecision.

#14RetrospectiveMeeting

Definition

Inanattemptforcontinuousimprovement,theRetrospectiveMeetingisheldattheendof
everyiterationtoanalyzethingsthatwentwellandthosethatneedimprovement.

Thismeetingprovidesanopportunitytoidentifyandimplementtheimprovementsimmediately,
asearlyasthenextiteration.Thegoalistoprovideconstructivefeedbackandnottoplayablame
game.

HereisthetypicalagendaofaRetroMeeting.

1. SettingtheStage(gettingeveryoneintherightmood)
2. GatheringInputs(usingideagenerationtechniques)
3. IdentifyingImprovements(agreeingoncriticalimprovementareas)
4. DevisinganActionPlan(settingSMARTactions)

#15RiskadjustedBacklog

Definition

Risksarepotentialissuesthatcanimpactaprojecteitherintermsofcost,scheduleorquality.
WhenriskmanagementactivitiesareincludedintheProductBacklog,wegetaRiskadjusted
Backlog.

Normallythestepstocreatethisare:

IdentifyRisksatvariousstagesoftheProject(DailyStandups,IterationReview,Planning
etc.)
QualifyandQuantifytherisksbasedontheirprobabilityandimpact
Choosehighvaluerisksandidentifyresponsestrategies(accept,mitigate,avoid,transfer,
share)
Makespecifictasksforthechosenstrategy,assignrightpriority,estimatetheeffortand
includethemintheProductBacklog

#16MoSCoW

Definition

MoSCoWisaprioritizationtechniqueusedtoassignprioritiesforUserStoriesandEpicsinthe
ProductBacklog.

Itisanacronymthatstandsfor:MustHave,ShouldHave,CouldHave,WouldHave

PrioritizationisdonebytheProductOwnerforFunctionalStories
Tostartwith,thecompletesetoffeaturesrequiredintheproductiscreatedbytheProduct
Owner(usuallyfromrequirementgatheringexerciseslikeStoryWritingWorkshops)
UsingvariousfactorslikeCustomerNeeds,MarketConditions,BusinessValueetc.,the
ProductOwnerputseachofthesefeaturesintothe4bucketsofMoSCoW(describedabove)
EverythinginMustHaveismandatory,ShouldHaveisimportant,CouldHaveandWould
Haveareoptional

#17WIPLimits

Definition

WIPLimitisaconceptborrowedfromtheleanmanufacturingworld.WIPreferstoWorkin
Process/Progress.WIPLimitreferstothemaximumcapappliedonworkitemsthatareprocessed
inparallel.

Bothinmanufacturingandsoftwaredevelopmentworld,throughputthemeasureofprocess
productivitydependsonWIPandCycleTime.Cycletimereferstothetimetakenfromstartto
finishofaprocess.

Throughput=(WIP/CycleTime)

ByfixingamaximumlimitforWIPandminimizingtheCycletime,higherThroughputcanbe
realized.LimitedWIPalsoresultinbetterfocusandreducedtaskswitching.

#18ContinuousIntegration

Definition

ContinuousIntegrationisapracticetoensuresthesoftwareisfrequentlybuild,integratedand
testedforcorrectness.

Inacollaborativeenvironment,severaldeveloperspotentiallyworkonthesamepieceofsoftware.
Toensureintegrity,codemustbeperiodicallysenttoacentralsystemwhereitisvalidated.

FourcomponentsareessentialinaContinuousIntegrationsystem.

1. SourceControlSystem(wherethesharedsourcecodeisstored)
2. BuildSystem(wherethesoftwarebuildhappens)
3. Trigger(somethingthatkicksoffthevalidation)
4. NotificationMechanism(alertswhenvalidationfails)

#19Timeboxing

Definition

TimeboxingisatechniqueusedinAgileSoftwareDevelopmenttobringcontrolinthechaos.
Wheneverestimatesarenotpossibleorconsideredinaccurate,apredefinedtimeisallocatedto
workontheactivity.

Theteamwillusethistimetoworkonthisactivity.Iftheactivitycannotbecompletedwithin
stipulatedtime,itismovedtobacklogandpickeduplaterbasedonpriority.

Timeboxingisoftenusedforactivitiesthatrequireanalysisandthosewithoutdefiniteendresults.

Analyzingthefeasibilityofasoftwarepackagetodevelopreportsisanexample
activitythatcanbetimeboxed.

#20PlanningOnion

Definition

PlanningOnionisananalogyusedtorepresentthedifferentlevelsofplanninginAgileSoftware
Development.Itsignifiesthatplansareneveraccurateandmustbedoneatvariousstagesfor
maximumbenefit.Thefigurebelowlistthevariouslevels.

Imagecredit:tcagely.wordpress.com

#21CodeRefactoring

Definition

Whiledevelopingsoftware,anormaltendencyistodesignsolutionsthatappearreasonable,within
thecostandschedule.Butoften,theymaynotbethebestsolution.Coderefactoringisan
attempttosimplifythedesignandcodewithoutalteringthebehaviorofsoftware.

Withoutcoderefactoring,thecomplexityofprogramincreasesovertimeandmaintenance
becomesanightmare.Sometimes,refactoringmayuncoverblindspotsthatmaybreakthe
softwareinproduction.

Peercodereviewsanddesignwalkthroughsaresomeopportunitiestoidentifyrefactoring
possibilities.

#22ConeofUncertainty

Definition

AProjectPlanisaccurateonlyattheendoftheProject.ConeofUncertainty,agraphof
variationinestimations,isavisualreminderthatplansareleastaccurateatthebeginningand
improvesoverthecourseofaproject.

Imagecredit:Informit

#23Prototyping

Definition

Prototypingaimsatcreatingarepresentationoftheendproductatminimumpossiblecost.
Customersorenduserscanusethistogetarealfeeloftheproduct.

Theideabehindprototypingistogetearlyfeedbackfromcustomersbeforeitistoolate.
Sometimes,thiscanbeusedtodeterminethefeasibilityofaproject.

Agilebelievesintheprincipleoffailingfastbettertofailearlywithalessinvestmentthanlaterin
theproject,whenthestakesarehigh.

Wireframingisanotherearlyfeedbacktechniquethatfocusonstaticrepresentationofthe
product.

#24ReturnonInvestment(ROI)

Definition

ReturnonInvestmentorROI,isamathematicaltechniqueusedtodetermineeitherthe
profitabilityorefficiencyofpursuinganactivity.

InAgileProjects,itcanbeusedatvariouslevelsproject,features,userstoriesoreventasks.Itis
normallyrepresentedasapercentageorratio.

Forexample,aROIof10%roughlytranslatetoaprofitof10centsforeverydollarinvested.

ROIcanbecalculatedusingtheformula:

ROI=(BenefitCost)/Cost

#25AcceptanceCriteria

Definition

AcceptanceCriteriaisanessentialpartofanUserStory.Itdefinesthesetofconditionsthat
helptodetermineifthestoryiscomplete.Itisnormallygivenbythecustomerorenduser.

Completenesshererefertoproductionreadiness.Anaccepteduserstorymustbegoodtoloadin
production,givenothernonfunctionalcriteriaaremet.

Inadditiontotheacceptancecriteriasetbythecustomer,someteamshavetheirowninternal
conditionstobemet.Forexample,90%ofcodemustbecoveredbynewtestscanbeagood
acceptancecondition.Thefunctionalcriteriaalsohelptesterstowritetestplans.

DoneCriteriaisanothercommontermusedtorefertoacceptancecriteria.

#26AgileCharter

Definition

AgileCharterisashortdocumentthathighlightsthepurposeofaprojectanditsexpected
outcomes.Unliketraditionalprojectcharters,AgileCharterisnotablysimpleandlightweight.

Itisrecommendednottospendalotoftimewithchartering.Theideaistosetthevision,agreeon
highlevelgoalsandmoveforward.

AtypicalAgileChartermightcontain:

VisionandMissionoftheProject,withafocusongoals
KeyStakeholders
AcceptanceCriteria
MajorRisksandConstraints

#27MinimumMarketableFeature(MMF)

Definition

MinimumMarketableFeature,oftenreferredasMMF,istheminimumsetoffunctionality
neededinaproducttobeusablebyitscustomers.Inotherwords,thisistheminimumsetwith
whichtheproductcanbelaunchedinthemarket.

ThinkingaboutMMFhelpsinbetterprioritizationoffeatures.Theteamcaninitiallyfocusonthe
MMFandlatermovetootherfeatures.

CaremustbetakentounderstanddependenciesbetweenfeatureswhilenarrowingdownonMMF.
Forexample,abilitytomakeacallmaybeaMMFofaphonebutwithoutcontactsmanagement
thisfeaturemaynotbeuseful.

#28PresentValue(PV)andFutureValue(FV)

Definition

Thevalueofagivenamountofmoneyisalwayshigheratcurrenttime(present)ratherthanatime
inthefuture.PresentValuerepresentthecurrentfacevalueofcashorassetwhileFuture
Valueisitsworthlaterintime.

Thisdifferencecanbeduetovariousfactors.Inflationhasabiggerimpactindiminishingthe
futurevalueofmoney.Depreciationaffectsthefuturevalueofnonmonetaryassets.

PVandFVarekeytounderstandwhenmakingprojectdecisionsbasedonfinancialreturns.A
projectthatreturns$130Millioninfutureforevery$100Millioninvestedmaybebetterthanone
thatreturns$115Million(thoughnotalwaystrue).

FV=PV(1+ReturnRate)^time

#29ControlLimit

Definition

ControlLimitsaremetricsthathelpdetermineiftheprocessiswithinoroutofcontrol.They
areanindicatorofprocessstability.

Therearevariousdrivingfactorsbehindcontrollimits.Regulations,NonFunctional
Requirements,TechnicalConstraintsaresomeexamplesofthesedrivingfactors.

Controllimitalsohelptoignorefalsealarms.Noprocesswillbeperfect.Therewillbedeviations
fromexpectedbehavior.Controllimitshelpdistinguishdeviationsthatarenormalfromthosethat
requireattention.

AspertheProcessControlguidelines,ifthereare7ormoredatapointsononesideofanaverage
theprocessisconsideredunstableevenifthecontrollimitsarentviolated.

#30TechnicalDebt

Definition

TechnicalDebtreferstoalltheextraworkneededonthecodeduetotheuseofeasiersolutions
orworkaroundsoverthebestapproach.

Itisnotalwayspossibletoimplementthebestsolution.Duetovariousfactorslikecost,schedule
andpriority,developersmayresorttoaneasiersolution.Thoughitworkswellintheshortterm,
theremaybeotherimplicationsinthelongterm.

Forexample,avoidingtheuseofadesignpatternduetotimeconstraintsmaymake
maintenancealotdifficultinthefuture.

Acollectionofallsuchoverheadsiscalledtechnicaldebtandtheteammustresolvethemovera
periodoftime.Coderefactoringhelpsinreducingthetechnicaldebt.

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