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Professional Scrum with Kanban Glossary

This glossary represents an overview of terms specific to Scrum with Kanban to help people better understand some of the language used and what some of these terms mean.

To learn more about the Scrum framework and Scrum with Kanban, we highly recommend that you reference the Scrum Guide™ the Scrum Glossary and the Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams.


Age: The amount of time between when a work item started and the current time. This applies only to items that are still in progress.


Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD): A ​​chart to visualize the flow of work through a process.

Cycle time: The amount of elapsed time between when a work item starts and when a work item finishes.

Cycle time scatterplot: A chart to show the total elapsed time it took for individual items to move from one point of the Workflow to another - usually from start to finish. 


Kanban:  A strategy for optimizing the flow of value through a process that uses a visual, work in-progress limited pull system.


Monte Carlo simulations: Simulations using random sampling to produce hundreds of thousands of possible outcomes which are then analyzed to get probabilities of the different outcomes occurring.


Policies: Explicit rules about how work flows through each state (which may include items from a Scrum Team's Definition of Done and pull policies between stages)

Probabilistic forecasting: One that acknowledges a wide array of possible outcomes and assigns a probability, or likelihood of happening, to each. This makes it the best method for forecasting in uncertain situations.


Service Level Expectation (SLE): A forecast of how long it should take a given item to flow from start to finish within the Scrum Team’s Workflow.


Throughput: The number of work items finished per unit of time.


WIP: The number of work items started but not finished.

WIP Aging chart: A chart to visualize the age of active work items on the Scrum Team Workflow

Work In Progress (WIP) Limit: Policies to limit work in progress on the Workflow. The following terms are used in the PSK training but not in the Kanban guide for Scrum teams. I took their definition from Daniel Vacanti’s book Actionable Agile - Metrics for Predictability or from Actionable Agile documentation.

Work item: When using Kanban within Scrum, a work item is a synonym of a product backlog item.

Workflow: The explicit shared understanding of flow among the Scrum Team.


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