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acceptance test
BA / customer derived (exceptionally, QA) automated test expressing and testing validity of business rules implementation, often automated with developer support
a loose set of principles regarding software development
a set of recognized software development processes espousing those principles
automated build
automated process for compiling, building, integrating, testing, deploying, reporting; part of the continuous integration process


BDUF (Big Design Up Front)
often disparaging term applied to long design stage ahead of implementation
burn down chart
chart showing remaining work to be completed over time
burn up chart
a burn down chart flipped upside down
business value
an arbitrary measure of the “worthwhileness” of doing something


chicken (as in “chicken commitment”)
irritating Scrum term for partial commitment caused by not having responsibility for the outcome (see “pig commitment”)
collective ownership
shared responsibility, equal authority, collaborative working style
continuous integration
process and tools dedicated to rapidly reintegrating and testing all system components after each change, usually accomplished by extensive automation
(in a broad sense) the opportunity cost of doing something
pivotal and nebulous role in XP (most people now use the equivalent Scrum term “product owner”) * makes available domain knowledge to developers * makes priority decisions in planning game * defines acceptance criteria for stories
cut / drop
a consistent snapshot of the codebase (and other necessary artifacts)


domain model
terminology shared between all roles (expert users, BAs, programmers, QA, etc) describing features of the business that are modelled by or pertinent to the system. See also “Ubiquitous language”.
DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself)
often-cited maxim directing team members to automate away repetitious work and not to maintain duplicated information in documents, software designs, code or other project artifacts


environment test
automated test to ensure sanity of deployment environment, sometimes “watching” APIs or functionality of dependencies


a very high level requirement of a project, carefully prioritized and aligned with project goals and stakeholder expectations
FIT (Framework for Integrated Test)
an automated acceptance testing framework


features which are costly to implement and of low value to customers


heartbeat retrospective
an event held at the end of each iteration to draw out process improvements


integration test
automated test to ensure system integrity (i.e. components bound together, deployed and configured correctly)
iteration / timebox / sprint
a fixed time, usually fixed resource investment in a project, performed cyclically







on-site customer
readily available person who can answer story scope and acceptance criteria questions and act as domain expert (from XP, “Product owner” is the Scrum equivalent)


pig (as in “pig commitment”)
irritating Scrum term for total commitment caused by responsibility for the outcome (see “chicken commitment”)
phase / stage / release
(usually called “release”) unit of management above iterations and below projects
planning game
the per-iteration planning meeting in XP (“sprint planning” in Scrum)
play story
schedule a story to be completed in the forthcoming iteration
a group of projects (usually all in the organization), and a group of systems (usually all) seen as software assets
product backlog

all stories / work items not in a sprint backlog or completed

a large scale unit of work based on features, typically lasting weeks or months and requiring multiple people
project charter (project inception document)
expands project vision with funding, personnel, broad timescale
project retrospective
an event held to draw out lessons that can be applied in future from a project
project vision

explanation of scope (features) and business value of a project



unintentional introduction of a defect
the system losing business value


self-organizing team
ideal in which team is self-defined (i.e. not by silo, job role or seniority but by commitment to the project) and self-governing
high level business backer of project, able to champion the project as a whole, aware of and able to articulate the features and business value of the project
Scrum term for iteration
sprint backlog
story / work items remaining to be done in the current sprint
sprint backlog item
roughly equivalent term to XP’s “story”, now more commonly used, probably because it’s more succinct
“stop the line” (the production line)
a term associated with lean thinking, meaning that * no defect is permitted to pass downstream to cause further rework costs * no opportunity to track down a source of error and compensate or eliminate it is lost
someone with a legitimate interest in decision-making (see the “3 levels” model of decision-making)
the unit of work and unit of requirements in an agile process (an XP term but commonly used elsewhere)
story points
an estimate of how long a story (or a task) will take to complete
the unit of story estimation (arbitrarily defined)


a subcomponent of a story, usually breaking the story into technical areas that require separate estimation and implementation
TDD (Test Driven Development)
development micro-cyclic process in which a failing test is written before code to make it pass * encourages testable implementations * enables cross-checking of tests and code
fixed-time block, typically an iteration, with decision points between timeboxes


ubiquitous language
common terminology (and by implication, the effort to create it) used by all stakeholders in a project and reflected in all project artifacts, including requirements, software design, code
unit test
programmer-written automated test of internal component of system


testing phase in traditional (waterfall-style) processes. Often taken to mean functional and regression testing, but originally included an element of checking the correct requirements had been implemented — leading towards working in cycles.


style of process arising from an influential and arguably misunderstood paper by Winston Royce in mid-1970s. Often serves as contrast point for discussing agile. Occasionally demonized by agile adherents.


XP (Extreme Programming)
now less popular than Scrum, but highly influential process raising profile of agile methods and setting new standards for technical practices


YAGNI (You Aren’t Gonna Need It)
tongue-in-cheek reminder to keep things simple and not gold-plate