Agile Terminology 75: Everything You Need To Know!

Agile Terminology

Are you overwhelmed by the enormity of the glossary of Agile terms?

Even though Agile has barely been around for two decades, it’s had a significant impact on software development. 

Trust, we have all been there when none of it made sense, and the only thing all the big words did was elevate pressure and not decrease it. 

The agile methodology has only been around for the past twenty years. Nonetheless, its impact on every aspect of modern-day “work” from software development to project management, is undeniable. 

Don’t believe me?

71% of all organizations worldwide have said they used the Agile methodology approach to their work at least once. 

Millions of people use Agile from their physical offices or remote teams. The methodology has evolved with time and, over the years, has given rise to a multitude of Agile principles, practices, approaches and methods. 

Ergo, the exponential increase in Agile vocabulary was expected as the next logical step to managing all these principles and practices. 

And since nothing in software development is ever easy, these words can sometimes sound like they’re from another language entirely! 

Nonetheless, just because you didn’t anticipate it doesn’t mean you can’t catch up now. These words might sound alien, but remember that they can be understood. 

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll go through all the relevant Agile terms that will aid you in understanding the world of Agile methodology. 

So let us dive deeper into the Agile terminology, shall we?

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Table of Contents

A Comprehensive Guide To All The Agile Terms That Matter

#1 Acceptance Test-Driven Development 

ATDD or Acceptance Test-Driven Development is a collaborative method that involves team members from several viewpoints (customer, development, and testing) working together to write acceptance tests before implementing the relevant functionality.

#2 Acceptance Testing

An acceptance test is a formal explanation of a software product’s behavior in the glossary of Agile terms, usually given in the form of an example of a usage scenario. For such cases or circumstances, various notations and techniques have been offered. In many cases, the goal is to use a software tool to automate the execution of such tests, either ad-hoc for the development team or off the shelf.

#3 Antipattern

Antipatterns are the standard solutions that are ineffective and may result in an unwanted result to their shared problem.

#4 Automated Build

Within the confines of software development, a “build” refers to converting files and other assets under a developer’s responsibility into a cohesive software product in a final consumable form. So when we say the build is automated, we mean that the steps are repeatable and require no human interaction or intervention. It also means that the build can be performed with no information other than what is already stored in the source code repository. 

#5 Backlog Refinement

When the product owner and some or all of the team refine the backlog constantly to ensure that the backlog only contains the correct type of items is known as Backlog Refinement. It must also be understood that those appropriate items are prioritized and are on top of the backlog as they are ready for delivery.  

#6 Behavior Driven Development (BDD)

Behavior Driven Development or better known as BDD, is an agile practice where you have team members deliberate the usually anticipated behavior of a given system to create a collective understanding of expected functionality. 

#7 Burndown Chart

Burndown and burnup charts show how much output (in hours, narrative points, or backlog items) a team has produced during an iteration or project and is one of the critical terms in this compilation of Agile terms.

#8 Business Agility

Business agility refers to an organization’s ability to detect and adapt to changes within and outside to provide value to its customers.

Agile Terminology

#9 Collective Ownership

Collective code ownership is the express agreement that any team member can make changes to any code file as needed to fulfill a development task, fix a problem, or improve the overall structure of the code.

#10 Continuous Deployment

The goal of continuous deployment is to shorten the time between developing a line of code and making it available to users in production. The team relies on infrastructure that automates and instruments the many phases leading up to deployment to achieve continuous deployment. The live application is updated with new code when each integration meets these release criteria.

#11 Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration is the process of merging code changes into a shared repository numerous times per day to release a new version of a product at any time. This necessitates a repeatable and automated integration approach.

#12 CRC Cards

CRC, or what is more commonly known as Class Responsibility Collaborator, is an object-oriented design tool that teams can use to talk about what a class should know and do and how it interacts with other classes and other Agile terms

#13 Customer Development

Customer development is a four-step strategy for validating assumptions about your product and business using a scientific manner.

#14 Daily Meeting

One of the most widely used Agile strategies is the daily meeting, which allows a team to get together regularly to coordinate their efforts.

#15 Definition of Done

The definition of done is an agreed-upon list of actions that the conclusion of a sprint must complete bringing a product increment, usually represented by a user story, to a finished state.

#16 Definition of Ready

The definition of Ready entails establishing specific criteria that a user narrative must achieve to be accepted into a subsequent iteration. Typically, this is based on the INVEST matrix.

#17 Estimation

An “estimate” in software development calculates the effort required to complete a specific development activity, which is usually stated in terms of time.

#18 Exploratory Testing 

Exploratory testing is a style or technique for testing software typically contrasted with “scripted testing.” It is more than just a “practice.”

#19 Facilitation

A facilitator is a person who chooses or is assigned the responsibility of leading a meeting.

#20 Frequent Releases

An Agile team frequently releases its product into the hands of end-users, listening to feedback, whether critical or appreciative.

#21 Given When Then

The Given-When-Then formula is a template for building acceptance tests for a User Story: (Given) some background, (When) some action is taken, (Then) a specific set of observable outcomes should be attained.

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#22 Incremental Development

In an Agile setting, incremental development is when each consecutive version of a product is functional and builds on the preceding version by adding user-visible features.

#23 Information Radiators

Any of a number of visual displays that a team initiates in an obvious location so that all team members may see the most up-to-date information at a glance is referred to as an “information radiator.”

#24 Integration

“Integration” (or “integrating”) refers to any remaining work required for a project team to deliver a functionally complete product.


INVEST is an acronym for a set of criteria used to evaluate the quality of a user narrative. The team may want to rewrite the story if it fails to fit one of these requirements.

#26 Iteration

An iteration is a period in which work is completed. The duration of a project can vary from one to the next, but it is usually set.

#27 Iterative Development

Iterative projects are those that allow for “repeating” software development activities and maybe “revisiting” the same work products (the term “planned rework” is sometimes used; refactoring is a good example).

#28 Kanban

The Kanban Method empowers teams to start where they are to drive evolutionary change by designing, managing, and improving the flow of knowledge work.

#29 Kanban Board

A Kanban Board is a multi-column visual workflow management tool. Each column corresponds to a separate stage of the workflow.

#30 Lead Time

The time between a customer’s order and delivery is lead time. It can also refer to the time it takes to fulfill a requirement in software development.

#31 Milestone Retrospective

A Milestone Retrospective is a detailed examination of the project’s significant events conducted by a team after a predetermined time or at the project’s conclusion.

#32 Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF)

A Minimum Marketable Feature is a minor, self-contained feature that can be quickly built and provides considerable value to the user.

#33 Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

A Minimum Viable Product is “a new product version that allows a team to collect the most amount of verified learning about customers with the least amount of effort.”

#34 Mob Programming

Mob Programming is a method of software development in which the entire team works on the same project at the same time, in the exact location, and on the same computer.

#35 Mock Objects

Mock Objects are created by instantiating a test-specific version of a software component (often used in writing automated unit tests).

#36 Niko-niko Calendar

Each team member’s mood for the day is recorded in a Niko-Niko Calendar. The calendar illustrates patterns of change in the team’s or individual members’ emotions over time.

#37 Open Space

Participants establish and manage their schedule of parallel sessions around a specific theme during Open Space meetings, events, or conferences.

#38 Pair Programming

Pair programming is a technique in which two people work together to Two programmers sharing a single workstation in pair programming (one screen, keyboard and mouse among the pair).

#39 Personas

Personas are made-up biographies of hypothetical users of a future product.

#40 Planning Poker

Agile teams employ this method of estimation. Each team member “plays” a card with a numerical value corresponding to a user story point estimate.

#41 Points 

Agile teams frequently use units other than the time-honored “man-hours” to communicate estimations. “Story points” are probably the most common unit.

#42 Product Backlog

A product backlog lists new features, improvements to current products, bug repairs, infrastructure changes, and other tasks that a team can deliver to meet a given goal.

#43 Product Owner

The product owner is a Scrum Framework role tasked with ensuring that the team achieves the desired result.

#44 Project Chartering

A flipchart-sized sheet of paper with a high-level description of the project’s major success elements is displayed on one team room wall.

#45 Quick Design Session

Quick Design Sessions is what is meant when “simple design” decisions have far-reaching repercussions, two or more developers gather at a whiteboard for a fast design session.

#46 Refactoring 

Refactoring improves the internal structure of the current source code while maintaining the program’s exterior behavior.

#47 Relative Estimation

The agile term “relative estimation” refers to estimating jobs or user stories by comparing or combining things of similar difficulty.

#48 Retrospective

The team meets regularly to discuss the most important events since the previous meeting and identify areas for development.

#49 Rule of Simplicity

Rules of Simplicity is a set of criteria, in priority order, proposed by Kent Beck to judge whether some source code is “simple enough.”

#50 Scrum

Scrum is an agile process framework that teams use to operate and manage a product development process along with other knowledge management work.


#51 Scrumban

One of the most interesting Agile terms, as the name already suggests, Scrumban is a mixture of the two words Scrum and Kanban. 

#52 Scrum Master

The scrum master is in charge of ensuring that the team adheres to agile values and principles and the practices agreed upon by the team.

#53 Scrum of Scrums

Scrum may be scaled up to big groups (over a dozen individuals) by breaking them into Agile teams of 5-10 persons.

#54 Sign Up for Tasks

Rather than being allocated work by management, members of an Agile development team typically choose which tasks to focus on.

#55 Simple Design

The software design strategy of a team using the “simple design” practice is based on a set of “simple design” principles.

#56 Sprint Backlog

A sprint backlog is a subset of the product backlog that a team aims to deliver during a sprint to meet the sprint goal and advance toward the desired end.

#57 Sprint Planning

Sprint planning is a meeting at the start of a sprint to identify which product backlog items the team will work on during that sprint.

#58 Story Mapping

Story Mapping is the process of arranging user stories along two distinct dimensions.

#59 Story Splitting

Splitting is breaking down an extensive user narrative into smaller ones while maintaining the condition that each user story has demonstrable business value on its own.

#60 Sustainable Pace

This is one of the Agile terms that refers to means the team aspires to work at a rate that they can maintain indefinitely.

#61 Task Board

A task board in its most basic form is organized into three columns: “To Do,” “In Progress,” and “Done.” To reflect the current status of that work, cards are placed in the columns.

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#62 Test Driven Development (TDD)

“Test-driven development” or better known as TDD is a programming technique in which coding, testing (in the form of creating unit tests), and design are all intimately intertwined (in the form of refactoring).

#63 Team

In the Agile definition, a ” team ” is a small group of people who are nearly all assigned to the same project or effort full-time.

#64 Team Room

For the project’s duration, the team (preferably the entire team, including the product owner or domain expert) has access to a dedicated area that is separate from the operations of other groups.

#65 Three C’s 

The formula “Card, Conversation, and Confirmation” captures the components of a User Story.

#66 Three Amigos

This is definitely one of our favorite Agile terms. The term “three amigos” refers to the three essential viewpoints used to evaluate a piece of work before, during, and after creation. Business, Development, and Testing are the three perspectives.

#67 Timebox

A timebox is a set amount of time during which a person or group works consistently toward a goal.

#68 Ubiquitous Language

Attempting to apply the vocabulary of a specific business domain in discussions about software product needs and design and down to “the product’s source code itself.”

#69 Unit Testing

A unit test is a small program fragment generated and maintained by the product team’s developers that exercises and tests a specific section of the product’s source code.

#70 Usability Testing

Usability testing is a practical, exploratory technique for answering issues like “how would an end-user respond to our program in real-world conditions?”

#71 User Stories

The team breaks the work into useful chunks called “user stories” in consultation with the client or product owner.

#72 User Story Template

User Story Template is one of the more interesting Agile terms as it refers to the user story template that is recommended to a given scenario to aid in the writing process for user stories.  

#73 Velocity

The team adds up effort estimates connected with user stories that were finished at the end of each iteration. This sum is referred to as velocity.

#74 Version Control

In the sense that it is now widely used across the industry, version control is not strictly an Agile “practice.” However, it is mentioned here for a variety of reasons.

#75 XP – Extreme Programming

Extreme Programming (XP) is an agile software development approach that attempts to deliver better software while improving the development team’s quality of life. XP is the most detailed of the agile frameworks in terms of proper engineering methods for software development.

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Wrapping Up

Phew, that was a lot. 

Don’t sweat about it too much; learning Agile terms can be a little overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, everything falls into place. 

This glossary is there to help you navigate the complicated world of Agile terminology by giving you definitions that you need to better understand Agile and how everything works together. 

I know that with enough exposure to Agile, you’ll have all these terms and their functions by heart in time. 

If everything still feels a little scary, don’t worry. You don’t have to do anything alone. As you’re in luck, we have an Agile project management tool like ProofHub that has everything you need to implement Agile in your organization. 

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