Agile Glossary

Welcome to the Agile Glossary, your comprehensive guide to navigating the dynamic world of agile methodologies. Whether you’re a seasoned agile practitioner or new to the agile landscape, this glossary provides clear, concise definitions and insights into the key concepts, practices, and roles that drive agile success.

Agile methodologies have revolutionized the way teams collaborate, innovate, and deliver value, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability. Dive into this glossary to enhance your understanding of agile principles, discover best practices, and equip yourself with the knowledge to thrive in an ever-evolving, fast-paced environment.


Acceptance Criteria (AC)

Specific conditions that a software product must meet to be accepted by a user, customer, or other stakeholders. They define what is required for a feature to be considered complete and functioning correctly.

Agile Manifesto

A foundation for Agile methodologies, outlining core principles that value individuals, interaction, working software, and continuous improvement over rigid processes and tools.

Agile Software Development

A set of methodologies and practices based on the principles of the Agile Manifesto, focusing on iterative development, collaboration, and flexibility to adapt to changing requirements.

Agile Team

A cross-functional group of individuals with the skills and expertise to deliver working software in Agile cycles.

Agile Release Train (ART)

A large group of Agile teams working together in a synchronized manner to deliver a complex system in a continuous flow. (Often used in SAFe – Scaled Agile Framework).

Agile Ceremonies (Scrum Ceremonies)

Regularly scheduled events in Scrum, including Sprint Planning, Daily Standup, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective, designed to facilitate communication and improvement.


Common but ineffective responses to recurring problems, hinder progress and efficiency in agile practices.



A prioritized list of work items and features to be completed in a project, continuously updated based on project needs.

Backlog Refinement

The ongoing process of reviewing and updating the backlog to ensure clarity, priority, and readiness for upcoming work.

Big Data

Large, complex data sets that require advanced analysis and processing techniques to extract valuable insights and inform decision-making.

Burndown chart

A visual representation of the remaining work in a sprint or project, tracking progress over time and helping teams stay on target.

Business Agility

The ability of an organization to quickly adapt to market changes and customer needs through flexible, responsive, and innovative practices.

Business Owners

Key stakeholders responsible for aligning project goals with business objectives, ensuring the value delivery and strategic direction of the project.



The regular repeating cycle in which Agile events occur, such as daily stand-up meetings or sprint reviews.

Continuous improvement

An ongoing effort to enhance products, processes, and practices through incremental changes and feedback loops.

Continuous Delivery (CD)

The practice of automating the building, testing, and integration of code changes to detect defects early and ensure working code at all times.

Continuous Integration (CI)

The practice of frequently delivering releasable software to production environments in a safe and automated manner. This allows for faster feedback and deployment of new features.

Cross-functional team

A team composed of members with diverse skills and expertise, working collaboratively to complete a project from start to finish.

Customer Centricity

A business approach that places the customer at the center of all decisions and processes, aiming to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Daily Stand-up (Daily Scrum)

A brief daily meeting (usually 15 minutes) where team members share progress, identify roadblocks and plan for the upcoming day.


A set of practices that combine software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) to improve collaboration, automate workflows, and deliver high-quality software faster.

Definition of Done (DoD)

A set of criteria that defines when a user story or task is considered complete and ready for release.  This ensures everyone has a shared understanding of what “done” means.

Definition of Ready (DoR)

A set of criteria that defines when a user story or task is ready to be picked up by the development team. This helps ensure the team has all the information they need to start working.

Design Thinking

A problem-solving approach that involves understanding user needs, ideating, prototyping, and testing to create innovative and user-centric solutions.



A large user story or a collection of related stories that represent a significant business requirement, which can be broken down into smaller tasks.


The process of assessing the size, effort, and time required to complete a task or a project, often using techniques like story points or time-based estimates.


Work items that support the development of business features, including infrastructure, architecture, or compliance tasks, necessary for successful delivery.

Extreme Programming (XP)

Work items that support the development of business features, including infrastructure, architecture, or compliance tasks, necessary for successful delivery.



The smooth and continuous movement of work items through the development process, minimizing bottlenecks and maximizing efficiency.


Distinct pieces of functionality that deliver value to the user, often defined in terms of user stories and included in the product backlog.

Fibonacci Sequence

A series of numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, …) used in agile estimation to represent the relative size and complexity of tasks, helping teams assess effort and prioritize work. The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones.



A short, time-boxed period in agile development during which a specific set of work is completed and made ready for review, typically lasting one to four weeks.


An acronym for a set of criteria that make user stories effective: Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small, and Testable.

Iteration Review

A meeting held at the end of an iteration where the team presents completed work to stakeholders, gathers feedback, and discusses progress towards goals.

Iteration Planning

A meeting at the beginning of an iteration where the team selects and plans the work to be completed during the iteration, defining tasks and setting goals.



A Japanese term meaning “continuous improvement,” focusing on making small, incremental changes to processes to enhance efficiency and quality.


An agile methodology that visualizes work, limits work in progress, and optimizes flow by managing tasks on a continuous basis without fixed iterations.

Kanban Board

A visual tool used in Kanban to represent work items, typically with columns for different stages of the workflow (e.g., To Do, In Progress, Done), helping teams track and manage tasks.


Lead Time

The total time taken from when a work item is requested until it is completed and delivered, reflects the efficiency of the workflow.


A methodology focused on maximizing value by eliminating waste, optimizing processes, and delivering high-quality products efficiently and effectively.



Fictional characters representing different user types who might use a product, helping teams understand user needs, behaviors, and goals.

Planning Poker

A collaborative estimation technique where team members use cards to estimate the effort required for tasks, fostering discussion and consensus.


The process of ranking tasks or features based on their importance, urgency, and value to ensure the most critical work is completed first.

Product Backlog

An ordered list of all desired work and features for a product, maintained and prioritized by the Product Owner.

Product Management

The organizational function responsible for overseeing the development, strategy, and lifecycle of a product, ensuring it meets user needs and business goals.

Product Owner (PO)

A role in agile teams responsible for defining and prioritizing the product backlog, ensuring the team delivers value to the users and stakeholders.

Product Manager (PM)

A role responsible for the overall vision, strategy, and success of a product, working closely with cross-functional teams to align product development with business objectives.



A meeting held at the end of an iteration where the team reflects on the past cycle, discusses what went well, what didn’t, and identifies opportunities for improvement.

Learn more about: What is retrospective meeting?


A high-level strategic plan that outlines the vision, direction, and progress of a product over time, showing major milestones and goals.


The process of restructuring existing code without changing its external behavior, improving its internal structure and maintainability.

Relative Estimation

A technique where tasks are estimated by comparing them to other tasks in terms of size and complexity, rather than using absolute time or effort measurements.


Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

A set of organizational and workflow patterns for implementing agile practices at an enterprise scale, integrating principles from lean, agile, and product development flow.


An agile framework for managing and completing complex projects, emphasizing iterative progress through sprints, daily stand-ups, and regular reviews and retrospectives.

Scrum Master

A role in Scrum responsible for facilitating the Scrum process, ensuring the team adheres to agile principles, and removing impediments to progress.


A time-boxed iteration, typically lasting 1-4 weeks, during which a specific set of tasks is completed and made ready for review.

Sprint Backlog

A list of tasks and user stories that the team commits to completing during a sprint, derived from the product backlog.

Sprint Goal

 A clear and concise objective set for a sprint that guides the development work and provides focus and alignment for the team.

Sprint Planning

A meeting held at the beginning of a sprint where the team plans the work to be accomplished, selecting items from the product backlog and defining tasks.

Sprint Retrospective

A meeting held at the end of a sprint where the team reflects on the past sprint, discussing successes, challenges, and areas for improvement.

Sprint Review

A meeting held at the end of a sprint where the team demonstrates the completed work to stakeholders, gathers feedback, and discusses progress towards the sprint goal.

Story Points (SP)

A unit of measure used in agile estimation to express the relative effort required to implement a user story, taking into account complexity, risk, and uncertainty.

Story Mapping

A visual exercise that helps teams understand the customer journey by organizing user stories into a workflow, identifying gaps, and prioritizing development.

Stand-up Meeting

A brief, daily meeting where team members discuss what they did yesterday, what they plan to do today, and any obstacles they face, promoting alignment and transparency.

Story Splitting

The process of breaking down large user stories into smaller, more manageable pieces to facilitate estimation, planning, and incremental delivery.


Technical Debt

The accumulated cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy or quick solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer. It represents the eventual consequences of poor system design, architecture, or software development practices.

Three C’s

A formula for writing user stories in agile development: Card (a brief description of the story on an index card), Conversation (discussions between stakeholders and the team to flesh out details), and Confirmation (criteria that confirm the story is complete).


A fixed, maximum period allocated for an activity, such as a sprint or a meeting, which helps to manage time effectively and ensures tasks are completed within a specified duration.


User Story

A brief, simple description of a feature or functionality from the perspective of the end user, typically written in the format: “As a [type of user], I want [an action] so that [a benefit].” User stories help communicate requirements and ensure that development work is aligned with user needs.



A metric used in agile development to measure the amount of work a team can complete in a single iteration (sprint). It is calculated by adding up the story points (or other units of measure) of all completed user stories. Velocity helps teams estimate future capacity and plan iterations more effectively.


Work item

Any task, feature, bug, or requirement that needs to be completed during a project. Work items are tracked and managed throughout the development process.


A traditional, sequential project management methodology where each phase (e.g., requirements, design, implementation, testing, deployment) must be completed before the next phase begins, with little flexibility for changes once a phase is finished.

Work in Process (WIP)

The amount of work that is currently being worked on in a development process. Limiting WIP helps improve flow and efficiency by reducing multitasking and bottlenecks.