Scrum Glossary

Glossary of Scrum Terms

This glossary is meant to represent an overview of Scrum-related terms. Some of the mentioned terms are not mandatory in Scrum, but have been added because they are commonly used in Scrum. To learn more about the Scrum framework, to identify which of these terms are required elements of Scrum and to understand how the mentioned elements are connected, we highly recommend that you reference the Scrum Guide™.

To learn more about terms specific to software development teams using Scrum and agile software development techniques, reference the Professional Scrum Developer glossary.

B

Burn-down Chart: a chart which shows the amount of work which is thought to remain in a backlog. Time is shown on the horizontal axis and work remaining on the vertical axis. As time progresses and items are drawn from the backlog and completed, a plot line showing work remaining may be expected to fall. The amount of work may be assessed in any of several ways such as user story points or task hours. Work remaining in Sprint Backlogs and Product Backlogs may be communicated by means of a burn-down chart. See also: Burnup Chart

Burn-up Chart: a chart which shows the amount of work which has been completed. Time is shown on the horizontal axis and work completed on the vertical axis. As time progresses and items are drawn from the backlog and completed, a plot line showing the work done may be expected to rise. The amount of work may be assessed in any of several ways such as user story points or task hours. The amount of work considered to be in-scope may also be plotted as a line; the burn-up can be expected to approach this line as work is completed.

C

Coherent/Coherence: The quality of the relationship between certain Product Backlog items which may make them worthy of consideration as a whole. See also: Sprint Goal.

D

Daily Scrum: Scrum Event that is a 15-minute time-boxed event held each day for the Developers. The Daily Scrum is held every day of the Sprint. At it, the Developers plans work for the next 24 hours. This optimizes team collaboration and performance by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting upcoming Sprint work. The Daily Scrum is held at the same time and place each day to reduce complexity.

Definition of Done: is a formal description of the state of the Increment when it meets the quality measures required for the product. The moment a Product Backlog item meets the Definition of Done, an Increment is born. The Definition of Done creates transparency by providing everyone a shared understanding of what work was completed as part of the Increment. If a Product Backlog item does not meet the Definition of Done, it cannot be released or even presented at the Sprint Review.

Developer:  any member of a Scrum Team, that is committed to creating any aspect of a usable Increment each Sprint regardless of technical, functional or other specialty.

E

Emergence: the process of the coming into existence or prominence of new facts or new knowledge of a fact, or knowledge of a fact becoming visible unexpectedly.

Empiricism: process control type in which only the past is accepted as certain and in which decisions are based on observation, experience and experimentation. Empiricism has three pillars: transparency, inspection and adaptation.

Engineering standards: a shared set of development and technology standards that Developers apply to create releasable Increments of software.

F

Forecast (of functionality): the selection of items from the Product Backlog Developers deems feasible for implementation in a Sprint.

I

Increment: Scrum Artifact that defines the complete and valuable work produced by the Developers during a Sprint. The sum of all Increments form a product.

P

Product Backlog: A Scrum Artifact that consists of an ordered list of the work to be done in order to create, maintain and sustain a product. Managed by the Product Owner.

Product Backlog refinement: the activity in a Sprint through which the Product Owner and the Developers add granularity to the Product Backlog.

Product Owner: Role in Scrum accountable for maximizing the value of a product, primarily by incrementally managing and expressing business and functional expectations for a product to the Developers.

Product Goal: The Product Goal describes a future state of the product which can serve as a target for the Scrum Team to plan against. The Product Goal is in the Product Backlog. The rest of the Product Backlog emerges to define “what” will fulfill the Product Goal.

R

Ready: a shared understanding by the Product Owner and the Developers regarding the preferred level of description of Product Backlog items introduced at Sprint Planning.

Refinement: see Product Backlog Refinement

S

Scrum: Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems as defined in the Scrum GuideTM.

Scrum Board: a physical board to visualize information for and by the Scrum Team, often used to manage Sprint Backlog. Scrum boards are an optional implementation within Scrum to make information visible.

Scrum Guide™: the definition of Scrum, written and provided by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, co-creators of Scrum. This definition consists of Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and the rules that bind them together.

Scrum Master: Role within a Scrum Team accountable for guiding, coaching, teaching and assisting a Scrum Team and its environments in a proper understanding and use of Scrum.

Scrum Team: a self-managing team consisting of one Scrum Master, one Product Owner, and Developers..

Scrum Values: a set of fundamental values and qualities underpinning the Scrum framework; commitment, focus, openness, respect and courage.

Self-Managing: Scrum Teams are cross-functional, meaning the members have all the skills necessary to create value each Sprint. They are also self-managing, meaning they internally decide who does what, when, and how. 

Sprint: Scrum Event that is time-boxed to one month or less, that serves as a container for the other Scrum events and activities. Sprints are done consecutively, without intermediate gaps.

Sprint Backlog: Scrum Artifact that provides an overview of the development work to realize a Sprint’s goal, typically a forecast of functionality and the work needed to deliver that functionality. Managed by the Developers.

Sprint Goal: a short expression of the purpose of a Sprint, often a business problem that is addressed. Functionality might be adjusted during the Sprint in order to achieve the Sprint Goal.

Sprint Planning: Scrum Event that is time-boxed to 8 hours, or less, to start a Sprint. It serves for the Scrum Team to inspect the work from the Product Backlog that’s most valuable to be done next and design that work into Sprint backlog.

Sprint Retrospective: Scrum Event that is set to a time-box of 3 hours, or less, to end a Sprint. It serves for the Scrum Team to inspect the past Sprint and plan for improvements to be enacted during future Sprints.

Sprint Review: Scrum Event that is set to a time-boxed of 4 hours, or less, to conclude the development work of a Sprint. It serves for the Scrum Team and the stakeholders to inspect the Increment of product resulting from the Sprint, assess the impact of the work performed on overall progress toward the Product Goal and update the Product backlog in order to maximize the value of the next period.

Stakeholder: a person external to the Scrum Team with a specific interest in and knowledge of a product that is required for incremental discovery. Represented by the Product Owner and actively engaged with the Scrum Team at Sprint Review.

T

Technical Debt: the typically unpredictable overhead of maintaining the product, often caused by less than ideal design decisions, contributing to the total cost of ownership. May exist unintentionally in the Increment or introduced purposefully to realize value earlier.

V

Values: When the values of commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect are embodied and lived by the Scrum Team, the *Scrum pillars* of transparency, inspection, and adaptation *come to life* and *build trust* for everyone. The Scrum Team members learn and explore those values as they work with the Scrum events, roles and artifacts.  Download the Scrum Values Poster

Velocity: an optional, but often used, indication of the amount of Product Backlog turned into an Increment of product during a Sprint by a Scrum Team, tracked by the Developers for use within the Scrum Team.