Agile Glossary

Acceptance Criteria

The tests that must pass for a Product Backlog Item to be accepted.


A mindset.

Agile Coach

A person with many years of real experience on an Agile team, as well as solid experience in actually coaching people, who has made many mistakes, and learned from them. They are an educator, mentor, facilitator, advisor, consultant, and change agent helping others by challenging them to change their patterns and behaviors to achieve their goals related to personal, team, and organizational agility. A coach does not tell people what to do, but rather shares observations and guidance, and challenges others to achieve their goals.


The time available for a team member, or combined team, during a certain time period. Not the same as velocity.

Daily Scrum

A 15-minute time-boxed event where the Development Team plans for the next 24 hours. Although the Scrum Master and Product Owner are optional, it can be helpful if they attend.

Definition of Done

Used to assess when work is complete on the product Increment. Having a Definition of Done that is understood and adhered to will increase quality. According to Chet Hendrickson, the Definition of Done is what makes the burn chart tell the truth.

Definition of Ready

A checklist of items that helps a team get a Product Backlog Item ready to be worked on. Considering a Definition of Done before work begins could decrease the number of surprises that come up mid-sprint.

Development Team

People who do the work of delivering a potentially releasable Increment of “Done” product at the end of each Sprint.


Some unit of measurement to help the team understand the effort (size, complexity, unknowns) of work. Even more important is the discussion that the team has around an estimate to ensure that everyone has a shared understanding.

Product Backlog

An ordered list of everything that is known to be needed in the product. It is the single source of requirements for any changes to be made to the product.

Product Backlog Refinement

Product Backlog refinement is the act of adding detail, estimates, and order to items in the Product Backlog. This is an ongoing process in which the Product Owner and the Development Team collaborate on the details of Product Backlog items.

Product Owner

The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from work of the Development Team.


An inanimate nameless production component or mechanism which is heartlessly manipulated to achieve perceived efficiencies toward an often unknown ultimate end goal. Examples include: a toaster, spark plug, mechanical gears, oil drums, gravel, drill press, dump truck, chess pieces, robotic welding arm, gold bars, lumber, pulley system, catapult, and many other things… but certainly not a person, ever.

Scrum Master

The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. Scrum Masters do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values. The Scrum Master is a servant-leader for the Scrum Team. The Scrum Master helps those outside the Scrum Team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum Team are helpful and which aren’t. The Scrum Master helps everyone change these interactions to maximize the value created by the Scrum Team.

Scrum Team

The Scrum Team consists of a Product Owner, the Development Team, and a Scrum Master. Scrum Teams are self-organizing and cross-functional.


The heart of Scrum is a Sprint, a time-box of one month or less during which a “Done”, useable, and potentially releasable product Increment is created.

Sprint Backlog

The Sprint Backlog is the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint, plus a plan for delivering the product Increment and realizing the Sprint Goal. The Sprint Backlog is a forecast by the Development Team about what functionality will be in the next Increment and the work needed to deliver that functionality into a “Done” Increment.

Sprint Planning

Sprint Planning is an event where the work to be performed in the Sprint is planned, and answers the following questions:

  • What can be delivered in the Increment resulting from the upcoming Sprint?
  • How will the work needed to deliver the Increment be achieved?

Sprint Planning is time-boxed to a maximum of eight hours for a one-month Sprint and the plan is created by the collaborative work of the entire Scrum Team.

Sprint Retrospective

The Sprint Retrospective is an opportunity for the Scrum Team to inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next Sprint.

Sprint Review

The Sprint Review is held at the end of the Sprint to inspect the Increment and adapt the Product Backlog if needed.

Technical Debt

Accumulation of clutter, crud, and baggage that slows future development. Examples include undocumented/untested code, “quick & dirty” fixes, unmaintained and unpatched applications and servers, and suboptimal solutions that require additional work to scale.

User Story

A user story uses the 3 Cs (conversation, card, confirmation) to help the team understand what should be built.


A sum of the output of new feature development, commonly measured using Story Points, by a team or group of teams to be used for forecasting purposes. It is not a goal. It is not a commitment or an expectation. It is not capacity. It is unrelated to value. It is not a measure of an individual team member’s output. It is not a carrot, nor a stick. It just is.

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