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Ensuring collective communication

Read how terminology can play a significant role in the success of an agile environment.

Terminology can play a significant role in how successfully a product or service is delivered to clients for many organisations. As you can see from the past set of steps, there is quite a lot of unique terminology when discussing Agile methodologies!

Why is clear communication vital?

Terminology that is unambiguous when referring to specialised jobs helps everyone understand expectations and boosts engagement in the process. From an Agile perspective, teams need to know exactly what they’re doing and when and to whom the products and services are being delivered.

In extremely complex multidisciplinary team situations, consistent language is essential since it’s counterproductive for different teams to use different phrases or ways of referring to the same actions or objects. Consider this if you’re leading and managing diverse teams or a global workforce. Agile can help with process, but if there isn’t a shared set of terminology then it’s doomed to fail.

Let’s now look at some of the terminology associated with Agile, collated from a review of several resources. Please be mindful that you may be seeing some of these for the first time, and I encourage you to read up more on each term.

Source: Information adapted from the Detailed glossary of Agile Scrum terms everyone should know (Chappell, 2022) [4]

Backlog The requirements list for the product or service is known as the backlog. It should not be viewed as a to-do list but rather as a prioritised list of the stakeholders’ preferred product features.
Daily scrum A scrum itself (while also being one part of the Scrum methodology) is a stand-up meeting with the express purpose of reviewing the progress of each team member on any particular project. Daily scrums ensure that no one falls too far behind or goes too far ahead in a project by keeping everyone accountable and on the same page.
Epics A huge idea or feature is called an epic. Epics can be divided into smaller parts and even smaller user stories. This is similar to how lengthy ‘epic’ films are divided into three parts or a series.
This makes the entire process more manageable but also allows you to target specific features for different user bases.
Feature creep ‘Feature creep’ refers to additions that are added after development has started, even though modifications are expected and welcomed in the Agile manner of working. Too many features added during the development period can lead to feature creep and an overly complex or challenging product or service.
Kanban Kanban teams work on priority items as they come in, as opposed to Scrum teams who work in fixed and planned iterations. Kanban is an Agile framework with lots of visuals.
The objective of Kanban is to maintain an uninterrupted flow of work free from any obstacles.
Scope While the scope of Agile projects fluctuates, the schedule and resources are set. In Agile development, teams agree to fixed iterations of work – such as sprints, if you’re using a Scrum methodology – even though a project’s scope may alter.
In Agile, the product’s high-level requirements serve as an example of scope specification. These user stories are worked on incrementally over the course of sprints after being prioritised according to characteristics like business value, complexity, and cost.
Scope creep Scope creep refers to increases in the features and functions of a project after the project has been agreed on and commenced.
Sprint A sprint is a brief development phase that typically lasts from one week to one month. Sprints enable for the timely delivery of feedback and avoid projects from heading over time and over budget!
Stakeholder Anyone with financial or other vested interest in the product/service is referred to as a stakeholder. This could be clients, end users, sales representatives, etc. Stakeholders play a crucial role in defining the project’s requirements during the development process.
Stand-ups Stand-ups are similar to a daily scrum in that they are short (typically 15-minute) daily meetings however, their scope is broader than a daily scrum. A stand-up includes discussions and updates on project progress and is a time for team members to seek support.
Story points Story points represent the amount of work your team would have to put in to achieve project responsibilities (user story).
The quickest user story completion time is used as the baseline and receives one point. Story points are granted to additional user stories in proportion to the baseline.
Timeboxing Similar to time blocking, timeboxing assigns a defined time period to complete a task. The key characteristic of timeboxing is that work ceases at the end of the timebox rather than when it’s finished.
User story An informal, general explanation of a product/service’s features written from the viewpoint of the end user is known in Agile terms as a user story. The goal of the user story is to explain how a feature of a product or service will benefit the customer.

A full list of Agile terminology is available for your reference.

50 Agile Scrum Terms Everyone Must Know (Detailed Glossary) [4]

10 Agile project management terms you should know [5]
Agile terms defined [6]


4. Chappell E. 50 Agile Scrum terms everyone must know (detailed glossary). 20 May 2022 [cited 6 December 2022]. In: ClickUp blog [internet]. San Diego: ClickUp. 2022 – [about 30 screens].

5. number8. 10 Agile project management terms you should know [webpage on the internet]. Kentucky: number8; 2019 [updated 10 October 2019; cited 6 December 2022]. Available from:

6. Villanova University. Agile terms defined [webpage on the internet]. Philadelphia: Villanova University; 2020 [updated 16 March 2020; cited 6 December 2022]. Available from:

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