A is for Agile: Project Management Glossary of Terms
The glossary of agile terms covers the main concepts used in the various agile methodologies. You can find terms from Scrum, Kanban, and Lean, as well as additional project management terminology.
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Acceptance Criteria are also known as Conditions of Satisfaction. This is an agile term that refers to a checklist of parameters regarding a User Story. Typically, the Product Owner is in charge of defining the criteria. The most common ones include the impact on other features, UX issues, and user flow, among others. The criteria should be testable. They serve as a checklist for completion when a User Story is executed. In a nutshell, Acceptance Criteria are requirements or conditions that a product must meet in order to be deemed completed.
Agile business model
The term ‘agile business model’ can refer to two concepts. The first one is the agile approach of finding an organization's business model by iterating and remaining open to change. It allows for adaptability and adequate reaction towards unforeseen changes. The second option means an actual organization that describes its lean and agile operations as an agile business model.
In product development, agile design refers to the idea of releasing new products in small intervals, without the product’s full road map being finished yet. It relies on the idea of showing the product to the end users early on, so their input can be incorporated in the development. In this way, the development process can include multiple iterations on the core functionality of the product before it’s released in its completeness.
In the realm of design outside product creation, agile design denotes the application of agile development principles. As both design and agile are iterative, the idea of combining them is to create a design that improves with each new version.
Agile estimation is the assessment of the parameters of executing a project under an agile methodology. The three most commonly used characteristics include team collective estimate, estimate the size and estimate velocity. By conducting an agile estimation, a development team can obtain a rough idea of the length, cost, and effort needed for concluding a product or project development process. Agile estimation does not mean commitment, as it is only a relative preliminary assessment.
Agile framework started as a project management approach to software development. There are multiple agile frameworks unified by the ideas of iterations and incremental changes. Some of the most popular once include Scrum, the Crystal Method, eXtreme Programming (XP), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DDSM), Adaptive Software Development (ASD), Lean Software Development (LSD), Disciplined Agile (DA), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Rapid Application Development (RAD), and Feature-Driven Development (FDD), among others.
The term ‘agile framework’ is used to refer to any project management process with the core principles of agile. Projects are scaled down into many small deliverables to be rapidly released, instead of releasing the fully finished version. The benefit of this is being able to iterate on the product’s functions by receiving first-hand insights from customers after each micro-release. The goal of this approach is to better address customer needs, as well as to minimize product development risks.
Agile iteration planning
Iteration planning is the process of planning of agile teams for an upcoming iteration. Team members discuss and commit the tasks from the Backlog that they can commit to in the form of iteration goals. The planning is based on the feedback from previous iterations and aims to set realistic targets for the next one. It is usually led by the Product Owner (PO) who has prepared a preliminary direction for the next iteration’s goals.
Agile planning onion
The agile planning onion refers to different layers and timeframes of agile planning. At the outline, the largest layer is the vision of the company or product, representing the timeframe of its whole lifetime. At the end, the smallest layer, is the daily planning cycle: tasks that are executed every day and require day-to-day scheduling. The middle sections include three more layers. The roadmap is just after the vision, and it includes the high-level plan of the product. Then there is the release layer, which details the features to be included in each release. Afterwards comes the iteration level, at which the plan for each individual iteration is made.
Agile project management (APM)
Agile project management (APM) is a flexible and innovative approach to directing and executing project processes. It is based on the principle of adapting to change rapidly by making small iterations and focusing on incremental additions, rather than sweeping actions. When applying APM, a project is broken down into smaller tasks which are then handled in shorter work cycles. Instead of strictly following a predefined plan, this approach to project management takes into account the unpredictability of project work and allows teams to adapt quickly and effectively. Some of the main benefits of APM include better inclusion in the project processes, financial savings, and enhanced flexibility, among others.
Agile project management software
Various types of teams - from software development to sales and marketing - use agile project management software in order to organize their work in line with the agile framework. Depending on the exact methodology, the tools that can be used differ. The unifying principle for such software is that it allows the team to have greater levels of flexibility and transparency.
Agile release train (ART)
Agile release train (ART) is a term used in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) methodology. It signifies the alignment of teams towards the realization of the overarching business mission. ART comprises of 5 to 12 self-organizing agile teams. They synchronize their activities around the company’s most important Value Streams in order to deliver incremental releases of features bringing concrete business value. This team of teams unifies to build solutions with definite benefits for the end users. ART is thus the scaling of agile project management throughout a number of teams within a business.
Agile umbrella refers to the agile framework (see #5.) as an umbrella for different methodologies. They are all based on the core principles set in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development of 2001. The most renowned and widely used approaches can be split in two categories. The lightweight methodologies include Scrum, Kanban, Lean Software Development (LSD), the Crystal Method, eXtreme Programming (XP), Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Development (CD), Feature-Driven Development (FDD), and Test Driven Development (TDD). Approaches that are applicable for multiple teams are Scrum at Scale (Scrum@Scale), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD), and Agile Unified Process (AUP), among others.
The agile-waterfall hybrid is a mixture between the agile framework and traditional waterfall methods. It aims to combine the most useful features of both for organizations that want to use agile, but need more pre-planning that it entails. The hybrid bets on the flexibility, collaboration and iterations of agile. At the same time, it also comprises a certain level of structure and planning that waterfall offers. The typical cases when the hybrid is applicable is for products with equally important software and hardware parts, or for products with front-end and back-end technologies. The project planning is then conducted through the waterfall method, while actual development happens via agile to quicken the execution.
Alternative analysis is a term associated with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) of the Project Management Institute (PMI). It refers to the analytical process of comparing different options for reaching a project management goal. This analysis is a typical component of a thorough project management plan. It encompasses an evaluation of operational costs, efficiency, and risks. Through identifying diverse paths to reaching a target, decision makers seek the best solution for a pending project management issue.
Association for Project Management (APM)
The Association for Project Management (APM) is the biggest professional organization for project management in Europe. It is the chartered body for project professionals. The APM has a membership base of more than 500 organizations and 30,000 individuals. Besides membership, it offers qualification training and certificates and expert publications. The APM also organizes industry events.
Block flow diagram (BFD)
The Block Flow Diagram (BFD) is the simplest kind of flow diagram that is applied in the industry. It is often associated with chemistry, but is also used in engineering and various fields that require the visualization of processes. The BFD, in essence, is a schematic illustration that represents the major blocks that build up a certain process. In design, the diagram is the simple version of and the first step to creating a Process Flow Diagram (PFD). The BFD can be used to offer visual explanations of a process to stakeholders who have limited previous knowledge of it.
BOSCARD is an acronym that stands for Background, Objectives, Scope, Constraints, Assumptions, Risks and Deliverables. The term refers to a strategic planning tool in project management, also known as Terms of Reference, which is said to have originated in the 1980s. BOSCARD is essential for the good start of projects, as it allows the stakeholders to agree on all key points. By creating and agreeing on this document, the involved parties synchronize their objectives and vision, setting the basis for the project’s success.
Budget at completion (BAC)
The total planned value of a project is often referred to as budget at completion (BAC). The term is used in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) of the Project Management Institute (PMI). The BAC is based on project estimation techniques during the planning phases. In fact, it simply constitutes the original project budget at the starting point of estimation.
A burndown chart is a visual illustration of outstanding work against a timeframe. It is a term related to the agile framework. Burndown charts show the total effort and the team velocity with each iteration. They also represent the projections for the next iterations in terms of remaining work and expected completion. These type of charts are useful for agile teams, as they give a realistic overview of projects and can help with adequate time planning.
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)
A Certified ScrumMaster is a person who has received training on the scrum practices and framework by the ScrumAlliance. The purpose of the certificate is to verify understanding of the scrum principles. It enables junior scrum project managers to find employment in the area, despite not having hands-on experience yet. There are other certifications for Scrum Masters, such as Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM) by Scrum.org. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers its PMI-ACP certification which covers scrum practices as well. Additional options are available with the International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) and the Scaled Agile Academy.
Context diagrams are visual representations of the relations, actors, interactions and flow of data between different business processes. In project management, they are used to display and give an easy reference on the different stakeholders that might be involved in the decision making of the project specifics. By illustrating the business system, context diagrams provide a solid project management scope model. The product or system is at the center of the diagram, and outside of it are depicted all relevant systems, organizations, actors and user classes. Arrows between them illustrate the interdependencies between them.
Critical path analysis
The term critical path analysis (CPA) comes from mathematics, but is also used in project management. It entails the outlining of the essential tasks needed in the execution of a project. The CPA also includes information on the timeframe and the dependencies between activities. Industries that have complex processes such as defense and construction often use this method.
The Daily Scrum refers to the meeting held by development teams using the scrum methodology. It is 15 minutes long, and its purpose is to plan the next 24 hours. By having short daily meetings, all team members are kept up-to-date. They analyze how they’re progressing with the current Sprint Goal and what is left in the Backlog. Daily Scrums help improve the communication in the team, as well as speed up the process of adaptation to new circumstances and of executing iterations. The Scrum Master guides the team to hold short and purposeful meetings, but it’s up to the team to actually run them.
Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC)
The acronym DMAIC stands for the improvement cycle based on the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control approach. It is a central tool in Six Sigma projects, but is also used for process improvement beyond them. In a nutshell, DMAIC is a data-driven strategy that aims to optimize business processes through its five consecutive and interconnected phases.
Definition of Ready
Definition of Ready is a term used in the agile framework, and especially in the Scrum methodology. It constitutes a definition of what ready to be worked on means regarding a User Story or a Sprint. In essence, it is an agreement between the Development Team and the Product Owner about the point at which the work on a User Story or a Sprint is ready to be executed. The User Story needs to be well defined, with clear interdependencies noted. As for the Sprint, the Sprint Backlog should be arranged according to priorities, and all Stories within the Sprint should also meet the Definition of Ready.
Definition of Done
In the agile framework and specifically in the Scrum methodology, the term Definition of Done (DoD) refers to a predefined list of requirements about readiness. They are set by the Development Team and the Product Owner. When all of the preset criteria are satisfied, a User Story or a Sprint can be considered complete.
A dummy activity signifies a placeholder activity included in a project schedule. Its purpose is to illustrate an interdependency in an arrow diagram. The dummy activity doesn’t have a duration allocated, but only serves to mark a logical relationship between two other activities without a direct arrow link.
Epic in agile
In the agile terminology, an Epic is a large volume of work directed towards a single goal. It is one of the so-called agile artifacts. The basic unit is a User Story, which covers an intended feature or customer request. When a User Story turns out more complex than expected and requires more than one Sprint to be completed, it is usually considered an Epic.
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Estimate to complete (ETC)
The term estimate to complete (ETC) refers to the projection of the finances needed to complete a project. There are two ways to determine it. The first one is to get revised estimates from the relevant stakeholders and team members. The second option is to deduct from the estimate at completion (EAT) the actual costs (AC). ETC is one of the main concepts in the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification from PMI.
Expected monetary value (EMV)
The term expected monetary value (EMV) is a part of the Perform Quantitative Risks Analysis in the PMI’s PMBOK Guide. It denotes the quantification of risks on projects. EMV is a statistical technique which is of help in contingency reserve calculations. It calculates the average outcomes considering probability. The formula for determining EMV is probability times impact.
Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)
Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a tool used to predict problems with a product or process. It is a quantitative and systematic process analysis approach. Devised in the 1940s in the U.S. military, FMEA identifies potential pitfalls and reliability issues in design and manufacturing across industries. On the basis of the analysis, stakeholders can take steps to minimize or eliminate project failures.
Fast tracking is one of the techniques for schedule compression in project management. Its purpose is to speed up the completion of the work. It can be applied only for projects in which activities can be overlapped. Then, the project manager directs team members to execute certain tasks simultaneously, and not one after the other, as previously planned. In essence, fast tracking consists of reshuffling the original order of activities as set in the critical path analysis.
Full-time equivalent (FTE)
Full-time equivalent (FTE) signifies the unit of measurement for the workload of an employee. Companies use it to determine the average amount of hours worked by an employee. The term is often used for measuring the worked hours of part-time employees, in relation to the full-time workload (typically of value 1.0).
In project management, gold plating refers to the inclusion of additional features or services in a project beyond the initial scope. It consists of continuing work after all set requirements have been fulfilled. In project management methodologies such as PMBOK, gold plating is seen as a bad practice, as it requires extra time and money costs, as well as additional risks.
The purpose of a handover plan is to provide all the information on a certain project to another party, such as a different project lead. Project handover is often necessary when the responsible project manager is moving on to another position. In such cases, they need to prepare a handover plan to ensure the smooth execution of the project. This usually involves the preparation of a handover document which should contain all activities, descriptions, due dates, and responsible people. Then the current project lead needs to do a handover review and training with the new one in order to make sure that no information gets lost in the transfer.
Joint project planning (JPP)
The idea behind the joint project planning (JPP) strategy is to get all stakeholders to agree on a project framework before work is started. It’s usually an intensive group meeting during which the different parties seek to reach a common ground. The most common topics that are tackled during JPP are the project’s scope, tasks, task durations, task interdependencies, resource assignment, monitoring, and method of assessment of results.
The Kanban board is the essential tool for project management in the Kanban methodology. It visually represents, in the format of a board, the work that needs to be accomplished on a project or the ongoing activities of a team. The board typically consists of columns which signify the consecutive stages of the working process - the flow of the work. They contain a set of cards which represent the individual tasks. All elements are flexible and can be easily rearranged, and contain visual cues for easy overview.
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In the Kanban methodology, the term ceremonies refer to the predefined Kanban processes, usually involving meetings. Each type of meeting should be considered a Kanban ceremony, as well as other regular and set ways for executing work.
Kanban meetings are also known as Kanban Cadences. They are a set of meetings recommended for teams that use the Kanban methodology. The term cadence in this context signifies the regularity of the meetings.
There are seven common types of Kanban meetings. The first one is the Daily Standup, which delivers quick synchronization of the team. The next one is Replenishment and Commitment, which can be done at different intervals - from daily to every two weeks, depending on the need. Its purpose is to ensure all team members have a good overview and know what to work on. Then there is the Delivery Planning, whose aim is to guarantee smooth handoff of a project between teams in order to meet delivery deadlines.
The next one is the Operations Review, which improves the workflow in parts or the whole of the organization. The Service Delivery Review, on the other hand, focuses on the performance of a completed project. The Risk Review deals with discussion and prevention of risks at different levels. Finally, the Strategy Review meeting is the highest level get-together, aiming to direct the overall strategy on the basis of customer and market feedback.
The Kanban methodology is built on the basis of a number of principles. Their number varies, but there are a few main ones which are accepted by all. The first one is that you have to start applying Kanban to the work you’re tackling right now. Then you have to embrace a process of incremental changes. With Kanban, you don’t have to change all roles and processes, but instead, adapt them to a new workflow. You should encourage leadership at all levels to empower people to act independently.
Kanban software development
Kanban software development refers to the application of the Kanban methodology to the building of software solutions and production support. This agile approach is especially applicable in the field, together with other methodologies like Scrum. Kanban boards are useful for both new development and support issues.
Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma is a methodology for process improvement. It is a combination of the tools and principles of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. The goal of Lean Six Sigma is to remove waste and boost a company’s or a team’s performance. At the same time, the methodology contributes to the improvement of organizational culture as well. In the level rankings of Lean Six Sigma, a yellow belt signifies an employee with awareness about the methodology. A green belt is for employees who apply DMAIC and Lean principles, while full-time project leaders have the black belt certification.
A project milestone refers to the point of a project where a major achievement has been reached. In a project's schedule, it constitutes a zero-duration task, which illustrates this achievement. Milestones contribute to having a clear overview of a project’s progress, especially for stakeholders who are not fully aware of all tasks related to its completion. They are thus a handy project management tool, which is usually represented visually in a planning chart.
The MoSCoW method refers to a project management prioritization technique associated with the agile framework. The acronym stands for Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won't have. The method aims to get all stakeholders on board regarding the prioritization of each project deliverable.
Negative float denotes the amount of time that a certain task requires which delays a project’s timely completion. It is also known as negative slack. It may relate to one task being scheduled to start before another one is completed in the critical path planning. In order to ensure the project deadline is met, the negative float has to be resolved.
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PERT chart, otherwise known as PERT diagram, stands for Program Evaluation Review Technique. It’s a project management technique that originated in the U.S. military. PERT charts are used before work on a project begins to determine the minimum time each required task will take to be completed. They are a handy project management tool for scheduling and coordinating activities, as well as for improving decision making processes.
Performance measurement baseline (PMB)
Performance measurement baseline (PMB) constitutes the measurement of the three main constraints for a project - time, cost and scope. During the project planning phase, these three baselines are set in detail. They are later on used to measure the performance of the project against the initial planning.
Plan of record (POR)
In the project management field, plan of record (POR) is a document that details the planned deliverables for a project over a set period of time. It is also known as plan of intent. The POR is a simple document that helps teams arrange their priorities and assists in the alignment in the whole organization.
Program Increment (PI)
Program Increment (PI) is a term used in agile project management. It represents a fixed period of time for an agile release train (ART). In that timeframe, a full system increment has to be achieved - from building and testing to validating and receiving feedback. The period is between eight and 12 weeks. One PI usually consists of four iterations. After they are completed, it’s time for one Innovation and Planning (IP) Iteration.
The term project champion is used in different agile methodologies, as well as in the Six Sigma and PMI. The role of the project champion is to connect the different project members with the senior management. It is a different position from the project manager or coordinator. This champion should ensure the necessary support for the successful execution of the project. The person should be a part of the project from the very start and should be supportive of all of its elements. In addition, the project champion needs to have strong communication and negotiation skills, as well as motivational power over the team.
Project constraints are any type of factors that limit how a project can be executed. Traditionally, there are the triple constraints - cost, scope and time. All projects are typically restricted by at least two of them. However, the project constraints can also be different, depending on the field. Some of them include unrealistic organizational or client expectations, unexpected interruptions, lack of team or managerial commitment, or inadequate communication, among others.
A project manager may decide to use the method of project crashing in order to reduce the time needed to complete the necessary work. This is done by shortening the time for execution for some activities. Often, this means an increase in the costs because it adds extra resources for the realization of critical path tasks. The schedule compression technique can also be applied by changing the project scope to include fewer or decreased in volume critical activities.
Project management information system (PMIS)
Project management information systems (PMIS) are used by project managers to collect and distribute information about the work at hand. PMIS are both tools and techniques that serve this purpose. They are essential for achieving the project management goals - from planning and budgeting to executing and reviewing. The term is defined in the PMI’s PMBOK.
Project Management Professional (PMP)
Project Management Professional (PMP)® is a certification for project managers offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is one of the most well-known certifications in the field. In order to become a PMP, the applicant has to become a member of the PMI and attend 35 hours of education. Then they have to pass the PMP online exam successfully. The certification guarantees that a person has the required knowledge and skills to lead and direct projects and teams. Gaining the title PMP usually translates into better options for work positions and remuneration.
PMP project plan
A PMP project plan refers to a plan prepared by a PMI-certified project manager. It is a foundational document that includes details about the implementation and review of a project. The PMP project plan guides how the work will be completed, what the scope will be, how the various activities will be monitored, and how the delivery of results will be made. It can be the same as a project plan in certain cases, usually for smaller projects. For more complicated ones, there is a differentiation, as the project plan is more basic that the PMP one.
Project management plan components
The components of a project management plan are defined in the PMI’s PMBOK. They are the necessary elements that guarantee the solid planning and overview of a complex project. The components include the following: scope statement, critical success factors, schedule, budget, work breakdown, deliverables, quality, HR plan, stakeholders, communication, risk management, and procurement plan. In general, the project management plan should contain the scope, cost and timeline of a project. It also needs to cover quality, HR, procurement and risk considerations.
Project master plan
The term project master plan is also known as a master project plan (MPP) in the terminology of the PMI. It constitutes a detailed plan that covers the cost, schedule, activities and resources of a project. The master plan typically includes a breakdown of the work schedule and the organizational structure. It would also typically contain a linear responsibility chart, budgeting, and resource management. In essence, the project master plan is an overarching document guiding the execution of a project.
The term project plan can refer to different documents, depending on the field and complexity of the work. According to PMBOK, it is a foundational plan that guides the execution and control of a project. The project plan typically contains the scope, schedule and cost components. It defines the objectives that the project aims to achieve. This is done by defining the most important milestones, activities and resources. Stakeholders agree on a project plan by signing a project charter. By doing this, they all stand behind an initial vision for the project.
Project status report
The purpose of project status reports is to update the relevant stakeholders on the progress of a project. The report can take different shapes and can be both succinct or detailed, depending on the project and the current team needs. The essential information that it should contain includes an overview, timeline, budget status, upcoming items and milestones, action items, and any risks and mitigation plans. The status report is a tool for monitoring and managing a project successfully and helps with organizational communication and transparency.
The term quality gate is used in the project management of software development. It signifies a special type of project milestone. At this point, a set of criteria should be fulfilled before the project can continue forward. Quality gates are used as benchmarks which ensure the meeting of the predefined quality standards. They are usually placed just before a phase whose successful completion depends on the results from the previous phase. Their purpose is thus to prevent work on the project that may jeopardize the overall performance due to lapses.
Quality metrics are predefined standards against which stakeholders can measure the performance of a project. They are attributes of the project and are typically defined by the project manager, taking into consideration the project specificities. Some of the commonly used quality metrics, as defined by the PMI, are timely performance, cost control, failure rate, and defect frequency, among others. They are essential in the quality control process, as well as in the overall project management field.
Reducing project time
Reducing project time, also known as reducing project duration, relates to the process of shortening the timeline of a project. In project management, this can be done via different techniques, such as project crashing and fast tracking. Reducing the time of a project can be accomplished either through schedule compression or through the changing of the project’s scope. When the schedule has to get tightened, this usually involves the use of additional resources and thus raises the costs. The reasons for reducing project time can be market pressures, unexpected delays, or imposed deadlines.
Responsibility assignment matrix (RACI)
The term responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) is also known as RACI, or Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. It is the same as linear responsibility chart (LRC). The purpose of RACI is to define the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in order to ease the project management process.
Each letter of the acronym RACI refers to a different role. The Responsible people are those who have to complete certain activities. Accountable are stakeholders who make decisions and take action on the activities. Consulted are those with whom decisions and tasks have to be communicated. Finally, Informed are people who have to be updated about the progress.
Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies (RAID)
The Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies (RAID) log is a useful project management tool. As the acronym suggests, it entails creating a document where you outline the risks for the project, as well as your assumptions about factors contributing to its success. It also details the issues that are currently being managed and the dependencies on other tasks and events. This project planning tool takes the form of a two-by-two matrix where all the above information is entered at the initial stages of a project.
Rough order of magnitude estimate (ROM estimate)
The term rough order of magnitude estimate refers to an evaluation that is made early on in the development of a project. In fact, it is the first estimate done after the project initiation, and is a typical tool in the project management process. It constitutes an estimation of the cost and effort that it would take to execute it. The typical accuracy of the ROM estimate is about 50%. It is developed by using data from previous projects, as well as known unit prices. The estimate can be updated as the project advances in order to reflect the new information that shapes the execution.
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Scrum artifacts refer to the different categories of the known or archived information that a team has discovered about a project or a product. The three most popular and used ones are Product Increment, Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog.
Scrum artifacts contribute towards the transparency within a team. They enable anyone to access the information, including how a team arrived at certain product or development decisions, the planned future activities, and the completed ones. The artifacts are used to keep everyone on the same page: aligned with the project goals and the rest of the product team.
The Scrum board is one of the main working tools in the Scrum methodology. It is a physical or virtual board which the team uses to visualize its Sprint Backlog. The board can contain various categories to define the different sets in a workflow. The typical three categories are To Do, Work in Progress, and Done, but they can be modified, or more can be added, depending on the team’s needs. During a Sprint, the team members select which cards from the To Do list they will start working on. The goal is to move them all to the Done list.
The Scrum framework is one of the most popular agile approaches. It is used to tackle complex issues through a simple framework, and is the preferred method for product and development projects. Scrum focuses on simplifying processes and adapting the workflow of teams to the ever-changing factors in their everyday work. It is based on five values, which are Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect, and Openness. To help with the application of Scrum, its creators have set a number of helpful concepts, such as the Scrum artifacts, events and definition of roles.
The Scrum Master is one of the main roles in the Scrum framework of self-organizing teams. The people who take on this role are in charge of promoting and supporting the use of Scrum. The Masters need to assist the rest of the team in grasping the concepts of the framework - the theory and practice, as well as the overall values. They help the Product Owner, the development team, and the whole organization to embed the Scrum principles. The role of the Scrum Master is to be a servant-leader to the team.
In the Scrum framework for agile development, there are three main roles. They are the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Development Team. The first one, the Product Owner, is responsible for managing the Product Backlog and is generally accountable for the team’s progress. This person has to optimize the work and help the team bring the best results. The Scrum Master, on the other hand, has to assist the Product Owner, as well as the rest of the team, by promoting the Scrum principles. The Development Team are all the professionals working on the development of a product.
A Scrum team is a group of professionals who use the Scrum framework to develop products in an agile way. The team consists of all the Scrum roles, which are the Product Owner, the Scrum Master, and the Development Team. The Product Owner works directly with the team, which consists of developers, QA, architects, business analysts, and similar roles. The Scrum Master, on the other hand, ensures that the team and the organization embrace the Scrum principles in the right way and removes obstacles to the processes. Scrum teams usually are very tightly knit and work closely together, based on the principles of self-organization and transparency.
In the Scrum methodology, velocity entails measuring the volume of work that a team can process during one Sprint. It is thus the essential Scrum metric. When a Sprint is over, the velocity can be calculated by adding all points for User Stories which have been completed.
Scrumban is a combination of the Scrum and Kanban agile methodologies. It employs the most preferred features of both: the prescriptive nature of Scrum, as well as the process improvement of Kanban. The work is organized with the help of a visual board, where the separate tasks are illustrated as cards or notes that have to be moved to completion. Scrumban is used by teams that have both development and maintenance projects. The best applications include both event-driven and support maintenance issues, sprint teams developing new projects, and projects with unexpected User Stories, among others.
SDLC Waterfall Model
The Waterfall is the earliest model in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) that was used for software engineering at a larger scale. An alternative name for it is linear-sequential life cycle model. In the Waterfall approach, the development process is split into sequential phases. When one phase is complete, its output is then entered as the source material for the next phase. The typical phases include requirement analysis, system design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance. The SDLC Waterfall model is useful for projects whose requirements are set and not prone to change and the application is rather small.
Six Sigma analysis
The Six Sigma approach was introduced in the 1980s at Motorola. It consists of tools and techniques whose purpose is to improve processes in order to eliminate the chances for defects to occur. There are two main methodologies - DMAIC and DMADV. DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, while DMADV refers to Define, Measure, Analyze, Design and Verify and is also known as Design for Six Sigma (DFSS). In general, Six Sigma shares many similarities with the Lean approach - Japanese roots, as well as common tools, but is nevertheless different from it.
In project management, the term slippage refers to missing a deadline on tasks. It points to the exact time when a project has been delayed beyond its initial deadline. The reasons for project slippage can be the late start of the work or unforeseen circumstances that make the process longer than expected. Project managers aim to minimize such occurrences by applying various techniques.
The term spiral model refers to a software development process model. It is one of the most notable Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) models. First, the risks of a project are carefully analyzed. On that basis, the team adopts a certain model for work - Waterfall or incremental, for example. The visual representation of the spiral model is a spiral. In it, each loop signifies one phase of the development process. The spiral model is particularly useful for large projects where flexibility and risk handling are priorities. On the flip side, it’s quite complex and focused on risk analysis.
Sprint in agile
In the agile framework and especially in the Scrum and Kanban methodologies, the term Sprint refers to an iteration in the process of development which has a strictly set time frame. The word comes from the sports term sprint, meaning to run a short distance in the fastest possible way. Within this period of time, usually between two to four weeks, the team has to complete the planned work and thus achieve the goals of the current Sprint. In essence, this timeboxed session is at the heart of the agile methodologies, as it provides the framework for continuous, quickly executed iterations.
When a Scrum team sets the tasks for their upcoming Sprint in a dedicated meeting, they define them in the Sprint Backlog. This is a selection of tasks from the Product Backlog list. They are deemed the most urgent and relevant to achieving the goals of the Sprint. The team has to move the tasks from To do to Done during the current iteration. While executing the Sprint, the team holds Daily Scrum meetings to quickly update on the progress, as well as make alterations to the Sprint Backlog, as necessary. The Sprint Backlog is one of the main Scrum artifacts.
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Sprint Planning meeting
In the Scrum framework, the Sprint Planning is a meeting whose purpose is to define the goals for a Sprint. The plan is made by the whole Scrum team. The meeting has to be no more than eight hours for the planning of a one-month Sprint. The Scrum Master takes care to limit the timing and to clarify the method of work to the whole team. The Sprint Planning defines the incremental results that the Sprint should achieve, as well as how the work will be conducted to do so.
Sprint Retrospective meeting
The Sprint Retrospective is one of the main types of meetings for Scrum teams. It is held after a Sprint Review, when the previous Sprint is discussed and closed, and before a new Sprint is started with a Sprint Planning meeting. The Sprint Retrospective should not be longer than three hours for a one-month Sprint. The team uses the meeting in order to discuss the positive and negative sides of the previous Sprint, as well as the potential improvements that can be made in the next one.
Sprint Review meeting
Another type of Scrum meeting is the Sprint Review. The team holds such a meeting after the completion of a Sprint. At this time, an analysis of the Sprint and its results is conducted. The Product Backlog has to be updated to reflect the new increments. Rather than being a status meeting, the Sprint Review is an informal opportunity for team members to collaborate and give and receive feedback on how the last Sprint went. It also feeds into the planning for the next Sprint.
In agile methodologies, a standup meeting is a timeboxed team meeting that’s held while people are standing. The reason for this is to create some physical discomfort, and therefore keep the participants to the point. The purpose of standup meetings is to quickly analyze the progress on a project and replan activities if needed. The Daily Scrum meetings are often standups.
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Statement of work
The statement of work (SoW) is a document that presents a description of a project’s requirements. It is a common project management tool which is typically used at the very early stages of a project. The statement contains the different activities that have to be executed, as well as the intended deliverables and timeframe. Usually, the document spans topics such as purpose, scope of work, location, period, standards, acceptance criteria, and contract and payment schedule. The SoW should be detailed and as long as needed in order to cover all aspects of a project.
A time-chainage diagram is used in project management to visualize the time schedule of a project. It is also known as time-chainage chart or time-distance diagram, as the term is used in various industries, such as transportation and aviation, as well as in scientific research. The diagram contains a time axis and a distance axis, which illustrates the location of each activity in a distance measurement unit.
A User Story is one of the main Scrum artifacts, and thus is a basic term in the agile framework. It is a description of a software feature, as seen through the eyes of the end user. The User Story contains information about the type of user, as well as about the software feature that they want and the rationale for developing it. When a team decides on their next Sprint, the members select which User Story or Stories they will work on during it.
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Waterfall project management
The Waterfall project management approach is based on the SDLC Waterfall Model for software development. It applies the principles of following a sequential and linear process to project management. The planning is done in the beginning, outlining all the steps that have to be followed in a certain order. One phase of the project needs to conclude before the next one can begin. In addition, the team cannot return and work on a previous phase once it has been closed. Thus, there are no iterations in the Waterfall approach, as there are in agile.
Work breakdown structure (WBS)
Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a project management term that signifies a breakdown of a project into smaller units according to its deliverables. It is used in the PMI’s PMBOK terminology. In the WBS, a project is decomposed into stages, deliverables and work segments. The purpose is to gain a detailed overview of the project’s scope and outcomes. At every level going further, the WBS presents ever more detailed information about the deliverables.
The purpose of a workflow diagram is to represent in a visual form a certain business process. It is a type of flowchart commonly used in project management. The diagram uses symbols that signify each separate step in the process. It also connects them with arrows in order to denote the interdependencies between the different stages. The workflow diagram provides a solid overview of a specific workflow, thus helping teams to know what has to be done and by whom.
The workflow process represents the steps that have to be taken in a set sequence in order to conduct a certain business process. It contains the tasks, the rules that govern their order, and data about interdependencies. The series of activities is typically arranged in a linear manner. The purpose of the workflow process is by starting with a set of inputs to produce certain outputs. The term originated in the manufacturing industry, but has been widely applied in all sorts of businesses since.
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Workstreams are separate groups of core activities that are necessary for the completion of a project. They are mapped against a timeline that represents the start and end date of the work. A workstream may be the responsibility of one team, or may have to be handled by a couple of different teams. Thus, it can denote the activities of a certain team within a project, or the activities within one area of a project. The planning of workstreams entails a thorough analysis of all the tasks that have to be completed, as well as their arrangement according to teams or subject areas.