Agile software development is an increasingly popular approach to creating custom software. Through the process of agile development, solutions emerge from combinations of self-organizing, multi-functional teams. Using the agile methodology, businesses actively embrace the unpredictability of the software development lifecycle. The agile methodology promotes an active and flexible response to change while utilizing project planning, progressive development, timely distribution, and constant improvement.

In the past, many companies implemented a waterfall approach to software development. In the past decade, an alternative agile approach has grown in popularity. The waterfall methodology lacked communication and adaptability that is typically required to excel in today’s fast-paced world of product development.

Agile Software Development – 5 Terms To Know

Because a growing number of businesses are implementing an Agile methodology, it’s important to understand the basic terminology associated with this unique approach to software development. Here are 5 terms commonly used during the agile software development process:

    1. Backlog – is a list of tasks or goals that a software development team maintains or accomplishes. These are necessary pieces to accomplishing the task at hand, and if one of the features does not contribute to the end goal, it should be removed. In addition, if a task or feature becomes important to the development, it is typically added to the project backlog. This list of information is the primary authoritative source for agile development team members.
    1. Burndown Chart – is a visual aid that shows how quickly a team is “burning” through your customer’s user stories. A user story is a list of the customer’s goals for their software development. By creating a burndown chart, team members are better able to understand the work completed, versus the work remaining. These graphs help keep all of the information together while providing an outlook of the project’s progression. The charts rarely follow a straight line because the velocity of a team moves at different speeds.
    1. Product Owner – Is essential to starting any agile development project, because this is the role of the team leaderThis individual is the project’s key stakeholder, sharing a huge role in software development. This position requires a person to create a vision for the project and to communicate this to the team members. The product owner is often the person that creates the team backlog and makes sure projects are being completed in a timely manner.
    1. Iteration – is the word used in agile software development that is responsible for providing time and duration to the project. This is essentially a time chart for the project’s completion. Iteration is generally aligned with calendar weeks so that the project stays on track.
  1. Scrum Board – is a way of tracking the work completed and the work still in progress. The scrum board is also a powerful visual aid, like the burndown chart, but this features multiple user stories on one board. Often, these guides are set up in a chart like a manner with columns titled: Story, To Do, In Process, To Verify, and Done. These columns are then filled in with rows of information, tasks, and notes. The scrum board is adaptable and allows team members to add and subtract to the project while maintaining organization.

While these are just a few of the common terms used during the agile development process, it is easier to comprehend the basic goals and progression of this methodology when you understand the terminology. This terminology is specific to agile development and is crucial to accomplishing project goals, providing adaptability for team members, and enhancing communication for everyone involved.

As a growing number of companies turn to the agile methodology as the preferred approach for product development, the terminology associated with this approach is likely to become more commonplace and widely understood.

David Easterling has been leading software development companies for more than 15 years. Starting his technology career as a partner with Everest Technologies, David decided to open his own company named Prosoft in 2003. Prosoft quickly became a leading software development and IT staffing firm in Louisville, Kentucky. Recognizing a need to offer more efficient and affordable custom software, agile programming, and web design solutions to growing businesses, David founded Prosoft Nearshore in 2008, with offices in Louisville, KY, and San Jose, Costa Rica. Prior to his career in IT management, David was the Director of Sales with Zellerbach in Virginia. He holds a degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. David is a Certified Scrum Master and is an active member of the Scrum and Agile User Group. He is also a member of the National Vistage CEO Leadership Group.

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