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Books, FAQ, and Terminology

Terms to Learn

  • Acceptance Criteria: Details that indicate the scope of a user story and help the team and product owner determine doneness.
  • Agile: Project management methodology and set of ideas pertaining; values and principles are captured in the Agile Manifesto.
  • Blocker: Something, some task or someone preventing a group from getting something done. Usually solvable. Eventually.
  • Epic: A very large user story that is eventually broken down into smaller stories; epics are often used as placeholders for new ideas that have not been thought out fully.
  • Estimation: The process of agreeing on a size measurement for the stories in a product backlog. Done by the team, usually using some time of "game" (t-shirt sizes, etc.).
  • Fibonacci Cards: Cards with the first 5-6 numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence that are used as a way of communication for the group to stay on the same page regarding complexity of story cards, with 1 being not complex and 8 or 13 being extremely complex. To use, a story card is read aloud, considered and then each group member places a Fibonacci card face down. The cards are simultaneously turned over and the results are discussed. If everyone has numbers that are the same or close together, they are on the same page. If the numbers vary greatly, there is misunderstanding of what the story card encompasses, and a discussion should be had.
  • Fibonacci Sequence: The sequence of numbers where the next number is derived by adding together the previous two (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21...); often used for Story Cards in the form of "Fibonacci Cards."
  • Fist to Five: Every person raises their hand showing a number of fingers. Showing five fingers means they agree with the topic up for discussion. Showing a fist means they disagree. Any number in-between means the person is in the middle. If there are any differences in the numbers shows, a discussion is had about the reasoning.
  • Focusing Question: The focusing question will help you rank or decide what matters and the order of importance. It should guide towards what the best decision to focus on and what next steps to take.
  • Kanban: Kanban is a concept used within Lean. Kanban focuses on the eight wastes of lean (Overproduction, Overprocessing, Waiting, Motion, Transportation, Inventory, Defects, and Wasted Potential). A Kanban system can help you reduce these eight wastes and by doing so will create a much more productive and profitable company for all.
  • Lean: Lean production is Lean because it uses less of everything compared with mass production: half the human effort in the factory, half the manufacturing space, half the investment in tools, half the engineering hours to develop a new product in half the time.
  • Process: Simply the way someone works. Everyone has a process. It can be pre-defined, empiric, or merely chaotic.
  • Product Backlog: The product backlog, or just backlog for short, is the comprehensive and prioritized list of what needs to get done. It includes both functional and non-functional story cards, customer requirements and ideas. During a sprint planning meeting, items are moved from the backlog into the active sprint.
  • Product Backlog Item: Any item that is on the backlog list, which will include user stories, story cards, epics, ideas, requirements, and possibly technical stories to deal with technical debt.
  • Relative Estimation: Sizing backlog items by grouping them into relative size ranges rather than absolute units; can be done using t-shirt sizes or Fibonacci cards.
  • Retrospective: Essential component of Agile; a session where the team comes together and reflects on the process by asking:
    • What went wrong?
    • What went well?
    • What can we do better next time?

After these questions are answered, they make plans and commitments to fix issues and improve in the future.

  • Scrum: Scrum is a set of practices that help manage a project. It is basically the framework of the project. There is usually a scrum software team which has no leader and they figure out within the team what tasks are completed by certain people. Now there are different types of members of the group, one person is the scrum master and the other members are just team members. The scrum master is basically a coach to the other team members. This is not the same thing as a leader although it might seem like it. Scrum methodology says you plan a meeting at the beginning of a sprint and keep a log of what has been completed. There are also meetings between the teams and the consumer that are set to a fifteen-minute time box. Now there are good ways that will keep a log of what your scrum team have worked on, for example user stories keep track of what each person throughout the team has worked on and completed. The scrum master is supposed to make sure all team members work on there user story and not get distracted by other stories, even if they have blockers they must work past.
  • Showcase: The presentation/product produced at the end of every sprint. Retrospectives are usually performed after these to ensure that all goals were met, and if not, to edit the process.
  • Sprint: In Agile, work is performed in time-limited, or time-boxed, durations. During these periods of time is when a class, usually made up of teams, pledges to accomplish specific goals by the end of the sprint. At the end of a sprint, a planned outcome should have been achieved. Once a time-boxed sprint is complete the next one starts. Sprints allow for specific outcomes to be achieved quickly, they are more about timeliness and less about cramming. Sprints in a classroom setting are recommended to be one or two weeks.
  • Sprint Goal: The goal(s) that is/are set during the sprint planning meeting that will be accomplished by the end of the sprint (showcase).
  • Sprint Planning: A meeting with the entire team to plan the sprint and arrive at an agreement on the commitment.
  • Stand-up: Stand-ups are brief, to-the-point meetings held daily to provide updates for team members. In these meetings, members must provide the status of their work by answering these three essential questions:
    • What work did I do since last we met?
    • What will I work on today?
    • Is there anything that will obstruct my work?
  • Story Card: A brief task or idea written on a card (whether physical or digital).
  • Team: The group of self-organizing people working together on the project. Teams should begin every project by introducing themselves to each other, establishing a social contract and creating a focusing question. Usually project teams are broken down into more specialized, smaller teams based on skill sets and preference.
  • Team Member: A person on the project team. Every team member is equal and has equal say.
  • Timeboxing: Setting a timed duration for every activity and having it last exactly that. This helps stay on track, on task and on time. If more conversation needs to be had on a topic or card, the team can vote to add another amount of allotted time to the time box at the end. Can vote using a method like fist to five.
  • Velocity: The rate at which a team completes work, usually measured in completed story cards.
*The terms in this glossary have a compilation of definitions that are recited verbatim, summarized and created by the following sources:

Andrea Hulshult

Eric Luczaj

Miami Hamilton's Spring 2019 CIT 205 Course

Center for Teaching Excellence

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