Glossary of agile terms

Agile. A group of product development and project management methods that promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. Highly effective in knowledge-work environments.

​Design Thinking. ​A problem-solving framework for creating and testing potential solutions with a focus on real-world experience. It utilizes five phases: Empathize, (Re)Define the Problem, ​Ideate, ​Prototype, and Test. ​​​

​Jobs To Be Done (JTBD). ​​​A theory of consumer action that attempts to understand the the underlying mechanisms that cause a consumer to ​purchase a product or service. It stems from the question, "what is the job that (customer) is hiring (product) to do." One simplified example lies in Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt's famous quote, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

KaizenA Japanese philosophy of continuous incremental improvement. Can be applied to process improvement, product development, personal efficiency, etc. Closely associated with Lean and Agile methodologies..

Kanban. A delivery framework similar to Scrum but that doesn’t use Sprints to define delivery periods. Kanban’s flexibility makes it commonly used outside of software development for both personal productivity and team workflow management. Kanban is often used to visualize complex workflow stages as well as the work that progresses through them.

Kanban Board. A visual work management tool that uses columns on the board to represent various stages of a system or workflow, and uses individual cards (often sticky notes) to represent individual tasks or work within the system. Often used in both the Scrum and Kanban methods (as well as the hybrid ScrumBan).

Lean​. A building block to Agile, Lean is a process improvement methodology that emerged from manufacturing and which focuses on improving the delivery of customer value by removing as waste any activities that do not add value.

Lean Startup. A business and product development framework that discourages long-term development cycles in favor of the rapid creation of a Minimum Viable Product and subsequent iteration of that product. Followers of Lean Startup principles use hypothesis-driven testing of products and processes to gain Validated Learning that capitalizes on positive results and helps avoid repeated mistakes.

Scrum​. An Agile delivery framework that empowers cross-functional teams to deliver working units of incremental value over a series of short (usually 1-3 week) time periods known as Sprints.

​Scru​mBan. ​A hybrid framework incorporating elements of Scrum and Kanban. Typically it involves using the cadence of Scrum meetings (daily standup, weekly planning, weekly review, and retrospective) with a Kanban delivery workflow.​​​

User Story. A requirements gathering framework that captures feature requests in the context of customer roles and needs. User stories follow the rough format “As a ​                   , I need to be able to                    , so that I can                    .”

Value. Perceived by the customer, the simplest equation is the benefit received from a transaction less the investment made. Also, related to emotional and cognitive notions of priorities and preferences for the world (i.e. a person's or group's values). There is a reason many languages use the same word to describe the economic activity and the concept of what is important in life.

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