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8 Most Commonly Used Agile Development Terms Decrypted

September 21, 2017 |
Agile Development

Have you ever worked with a digital agency? If yes, then you will certainly connect to the following. The members of the digital agency have a peculiar habit of throwing fancy development related terms at you. Most of these terms are Greek and Latin to you and often manage to get a blank expression on your faces. You may feel like a tailender batsman ducking bouncers like Sprint, MVP, User Story etc. Most of the companies today have adopted the Agile methodology for development and they use terms related to it. We thought it would be a good idea to introduce and explain the most commonly used Agile development terms to you. Your next interaction with a digital agency will be much more meaningful once you understand these terms.

1. User Story

A user story in simple words is a description of a software feature taking into account an end user’s perspective. A user story analyzes a particular user requirement and provides a simplified description to it. It reads the type of user, what is their requirement, and why do they have this particular requirement.

Format: As a <role>, I want <feature> so that <reason>.

Examples: As a user, I want to upload videos so that I can share videos with others.
As a moderator, I want to approve comments once they are posted so that I
can make sure they are fitting.

2. Persona

Another widely used term in Agile development is Persona. It refers to a precise type of user who is going to use your software for fulfilling his requirements. Every set of users have a different persona based on their needs, habits, wants, demographics, traits, habits, and lot of other factors.

3. User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

User Acceptance Testing or End User Testing is the last level of software testing. It is conducted just before the software is rolled out in the market. Under UAT, the software is tested by a set of intended users who will eventually use the software. The software is tested to make sure it can handle required tasks in real-world scenarios with the desired specifications. It is mostly tested on a staging server outside the development environment.

4. Done

During the development process, you will quite often come across the term Done and that too on three different levels.
Level 1: Done > The software runs fine in the developer’s box according to the developer.
Level 2: Done-Done > QA has positively verified that it runs in a test environment while meeting all acceptance criteria.
Level 3: Done-Done-Done > The User Acceptance Test has been conducted and the clients or business owners have approved it.

5. Sprint

The name may sound like an athletic event but it has no connection whatsoever to running. A sprint in terms of Agile development refers to a particular period of time during which the team completes a specific work and gets it ready for review. Normally this period ranges from 1 week to 1 month. It all starts with a planning meeting between the development team and the product owners. Both decide on what exact work must be accomplished during that sprint. The developers set benchmarks on the amount of work which is realistically possible during that particular sprint. However, the criteria for the work to be approved is decided by the owners.

6. Kanban

Kanban is a very popular framework used to implement agile software development. It is a visual representation of various tasks performed during the project cycle. A Kanban board is used for this purpose. The board has different states as columns, for every work item. The work items are pulled along through the ‘in progress, testing, ready for release, and released columns. There are horizontal “pipelines” for different types of work. The one and only management criteria introduced by Kanban is “Work In Progress (WIP)”. By managing WIP you can prioritize and manage overlapping work items.

7. Technical Debt

During the entire process of development, there are umpteen challenges which may slow down the process of development. These challenges can be technical or even emotional challenges on a personal level. To top it up, there are various deadlines that are to be served. Amidst all these challenges the development team takes several shortcuts. These shortcuts may help in overcoming challenges in the short run but can create issues in the long run. These issues could be related to the development, code base, environment, platform, design, libraries, test automation etc. Technical debt is the term which defines the aggregate consequence of taking shortcuts while the entire design and development process. These consequences can be anything from poor code maintenance, reduced velocity, low productivity etc.

8. MVP

NO! it doesn’t mean the Most Valuable player by any sense. MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. MVP is that version of a product under development which helps a team to collect the maximum amount of learning about users with least efforts. A product (not necessarily the final version) is developed and served to the customers to note their actual behavior with the product. It’s far better to gather information while people actually using it as compared to merely asking people how they will behave or what will they do with the product.

Well, it’s not mandatory to understand these terms in depth being product owners. But, a basic understanding of these common terms will help you to extract more sense during conversations with the development team. There are many other terms which are associated with Agile development methodology, but you are good to go with these most commonly used terms.

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