Agile Methods Glossary

Agile – The collective term for a group of methods, a philosophy and mind-set for delivering outcomes (originally within the technology arena).  Agile manifesto shows key values of Agile.

Backlog – A list of requirements.  The Product Backlog contains high level requirements known as Epics or high level stories.  The Sprint Backlog contains user stories at a detailed enough level to be delivered by the team.  The Sprint Backlog is also broken down into tasks.  A template is available here.

Kanban – (a) Japanese for ‘card’ or ‘sign’ a Kanban is an indicator of a certain status.  For instance, a red card on a table in some all you can eat restaurants means ‘no more food here please!’ (b) An inventory control system famously pioneered by Toyota.

Lean – to maximise customer value while minimising waste.

Scrum – (a) An agile method invented by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.  Scrum is a method that helps teams to deliver a potentially shippable product at the end of each iteration or ‘sprint’. (b) the daily stand-up meeting where the team answer 3 questions: What I did today to reach the sprint goal, what I am planning to do today to reach the sprint goal and what is standing in my way.  Attendees are those who have tasks on the sprint backlog.

Scrum Master – previously the facilitator of a project but later in the newest Scrum Guide the Scrum Master is more of an Agile Coach with less responsibility for delivery and more responsibility to ensure that the Scrum ceremonies are performed and that the team have space to inspect and adapt.

Sprint – A period of time in the Scrum methodology where a potentially shippable product is created.  Often between 1 and 3 weeks it is also known as an iteration by some teams.

User Stories – A conversation about requirements of the format “as a [user] I want to [action] so that I can [goal]”.  Often captured in the product backlog at a high level or ‘Epic’ level and in the sprint backlog as a low level user story with more details noted.  The ‘so that’ part of the user story indicated the main test as to whether the story has been completed.  A user acceptance test is normally also attached to a story.