Glossary of Agile Terms

With help from MarketerGizmo along with other trusted sources, we’ve collected a glossary of terms used in Agile Marketing.

Be sure to check back. New terms will be added as we learn and discover them. 

* Items are terms created by Scrum50


Agile: A tactical marketing approach in which marketing teams collectively identify high-value projects on which to focus their collective efforts. Teams use sprints (short, finite periods of intensive work) to complete those projects cooperatively.

Adaptability: The ability of a marketing team to adjust to changes in the market, feedback from their customers, the competitive landscape, and data from their campaigns. The goal of adaptability is to avoid being trapped in a pre-established marketing plan even when it becomes clear that changes need to be made.

Backlog: An evolving list of product requirements, prioritized by the customer (or customer representative), that conveys to an Agile team that features to implement first. Agile projects typically employ a top level backlog, known as a product backlog. Each Agile team working on a project usually creates a backlog for each development iteration, known as an iteration backlog or sprint backlog.

At either the release level or iteration level, a backlog typically comprises features or requirements, often expressed regarding user stories, that may be assigned estimates (e.g., in points or hours) by the development team. The customer or customer representative prioritizes the items in the backlog (and may assign them business value).

Burn-down chart: A visual chart showing the daily progress of tasks during a sprint.

Burn-up Chart: A chart showing the evolution of an increase in a measure against time. Burn-up charts are an optional implementation within Scrum to make progress transparent.

Business owners: A small group of stakeholders that has ultimate responsibility for the value delivered by a sprint. Their primary role is in sprint planning and review to help with prioritization.

Decomposition: The process of breaking user stories down into a) smaller, more executable user stories or b) tasks. Epics may be broken down into user stories, and tasks may be organized into more laser-focused tasks.

Development Team: The role within a Scrum Team accountable for managing, organizing and doing all development work required to create a releasable Increment of product every Sprint.

Epic: A large user story, goal or objective that needs to be tackled over multiple sprints and/or broken down into smaller, more manageable increments.

* Epic Platform:  The essence of a brand that gives it a voice in marketing, advertising, and social platforms.

Fail Fast: A strategy of trying something, getting fast feedback, and then rapidly inspecting and adapting. In the presence of high levels of uncertainty, it is often less expensive to start working on a product, learn whether we made a good decision, and if not, kill it fast before more money is spent.

Fans: Other employees that, while not players in the sprint, may have projects that are impacted by sprint objectives. They typically observe and do not participate in sprint planning or review.

* Field Guide:  A document that outlines the channel and content strategy for a brand.

Framework: A collection of values, principles, practices, and rules that form the foundation of Scrum-based development.

Hypothesis: A possible source for a sprint task/objective, this is something your team wants to test and evaluate. For example, by moving our introductory video so that it’s adjacent to our call to action we can improve the both video views and action completion rates.

Impediment: Any obstacle preventing a developer or team from completing work. One of the three focusing questions each member of a Scrum team answers during the daily Stand Up Meeting is: What impediments stand in your way? Impediments can include: A meeting to attend, a lack of technical expertise, a technical issue.

Iteration: A repeating instance or occurrence. Sprints are said to be iterative because they are repeated over and over with new tasks/goals/objectives. Waterfall marketing plans are not iterative because they are done only once.

* Path-Through-Purchase™:  The journey a consumer takes from awareness, consideration, purchase, “use” and social sharing.

Persona: A fictional character with individual needs, goals, and habits, created by an Agile team as a representative user, to serve as a reference point for usability during product development. Agile teams may refer to a set of personas as they develop a product, to test whether or not the product meets these users’ needs and desires.

Players: Those taking part in a sprint by owning particular tasks.

Product Owner: Person whom holds the vision for the product and is responsible for maintaining, prioritizing and updating the product backlog. In Scrum, the Product Owner has final authority representing the customer’s interest in backlog prioritization and requirements questions. This person must be available to the team at any time, but especially during the sprint planning meeting and the sprint review meeting.

Retrospective:  A meeting held at the end of a sprint cycle to determine what worked and what did not work with an eye toward continuous improvement.

Scrum or Stand Up: A daily meeting during which team members stand up and report to one another on what they did yesterday, what they plan to do today, and any obstacles they are encountering.

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 Circles:  A series of visuals that outline key brand values and what those values mean to the brand or company.

Scrum Master: The person responsible for running all sprint plannings, sprint reviews, sprint retrospectives and daily scrum meetings. This person ensures that things stay on task during these meetings. They are also responsible for helping remove impediments to progress brought up during daily scrum/stand ups.

Scrum Team: A self-organizing team consisting of a Product Owner, Development Team, and Scrum Master.

Sprint: The length of time allotted for achieving particular marketing goals. Software development sprints tend to run about 2 weeks; marketing sprints may need to be longer if statistically relevant data on current objectives will take longer to gather. Feel free to adjust the length of your marketing sprints based on what you’re trying to test/achieve for that particular sprint, but don’t go any longer than six weeks.

Sprint Backlog: A prioritized list of tasks to be accomplished during the sprint

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 to achieve the Sprint Goal.

Sprint planning meeting: A meeting held at the beginning of a sprint. Attended by players, business owners, scrum master, and fans. During this meeting, you should determine what you want to achieve during the sprint using the product backlog and dialog with the entire team to determine the time that work will take. This will form the sprint backlog.

Sprint Poker or Planning Poker: How the team estimates the relative effort required for addressing user stories in the backlog.

Sprint Review: Business owners, players, scrum master and fans re-assemble just as in the sprint planning meeting, this time to see what goals were completed and which ones were not. Team members get to show off what they have completed and/or learned, such as new email campaigns, blog posts, or metrics. Incomplete goals may be moved into the product backlog for consideration in future sprints.

Success Criteria: Criteria used to determine if a task is complete. Typically evaluated by a product owner.

Task: In Scrum, a unit of work estimated in hours. During the iteration planning meeting, user stories are decomposed into tasks.

* Try Pyramid:  A three-tiered triangle that outlines a brand’s entry stakes, valued attributes, and differentiating characteristics.

User story: A sentence that states in plain language what a customer or consumer may want or need from your product. They are used to drive what goals and tasks are addressed during a sprint based on their priorities.

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