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Glossary of Frequent Terms

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(1) Nimble; able to move quickly and easily.
(2) Able to think and understand quickly.

(3) A method of project management, initially used in software development, that is characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work, visual representation of work to be done and work in progress, and frequent delivery of incremental value to the client or end-user.


(1) Japanese. Literally “shingle” or “sign.”
(2) in Lean systems. An inventory management system whereby a physical or virtual card is used to indicate the need to replenish supplies. Kanban is used in conjunction with just-in-time delivery systems to strike a balance between the need to maintain a certain inventory of supplies and the cost efficiency of maintaining low inventory levels.
(3) in Agile systems generally. A method for giving physical or visual representation to knowledge work tasks, typically as part of a kanban board.
(4) as a standalone methodology. A specific Agile project management technique developed by David Anderson that uses a kanban board to visually represent both the discreet stages of a particular workflow and the individual tasks or work orders that have been requested and/or are in-progress.


(1) a Japanese business philosophy of continuous incremental improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc. Closely associated with Lean and Agile methodologies.


(1) efficient, without superfluous activity, materials, or waste.

(2) in manufacturing. “Lean Manufacturing,” “Lean Production,” or sometimes just “Lean,” are the western terms used to describe the manufacturing methodology originally developed by Toyota. It is characterized by a focus on quality and a respect for people that combine to reduce waste, unevenness, and overburden in a delivery workflow.

six sigma

(1) in manufacturing. A set of techniques and tools for systems improvement, originally developed in the Motorola manufacturing environment. A six sigma process is one in which 99.99966% of all opportunities to produce some feature of a part are statistically expected to be free of defects.

waterfall (or traditional) project management

(1) A relatively linear sequential design or project management approach. It tends to be among the less iterative and flexible approaches, as progress flows in largely one direction (“downwards” like a waterfall) through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, deployment and maintenance. Useful when elements of the project or design approach are relatively stable and/or predictable.