Also: Iteration Review, Sprint Review

A meeting, held at the end of an iteration, at which the development team demonstrates working software and solicits feedback from the product owner, the customer, management, other development teams and other project stakeholders. In Scrum, this meeting is called a Sprint Review.

Mike Cohn describes the format of a Sprint Review in his introduction to Scrum:

“The sprint review meeting is intentionally kept very informal, typically with rules forbidding the use of PowerPoint slides and allowing no more than two hours of preparation time for the meeting. A sprint review meeting should not become a distraction or significant detour for the team; rather, it should be a natural result of the sprint.”

In Scrum, the meeting is time boxed to no more than 5% of development time, i.e., one hour at the end of a one-week sprint.



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See Definition of Done.

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A large user story that awaits decomposition into smaller stories prior to implementation.  Epics are typically stories that are far off on the development horizon, usually lower priority items. When an epic story works its way up the backlog, it is usually decomposed into smaller stories.

NB: One can easily be tempted to associate the term ‘epic’ with importance; in Agile, epic relates only to size.


Mike Cohn coined the term epic as it relates to Agile.

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Evolutionary Development

See Iterative Development.

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Extreme Programming (XP)

An Agile software development methodology that emphasizes customer involvement, transparency, testing and frequent delivery of working software.

The Extreme Programming canon includes a Customer Bill of Rights and a Developer Bill of Rights, and lists its core values as communication, simplicity, feedback, courage and respect. XP is a developer-centric methodology, and unlike Scrum, it prescribes specific coding practices like Pair Programming, in which two developers work side by side at a single machine, automated unit testing, and frequent integration. Another key practice in XP is refactoring, or the continual improvement of design over many iterations.

The basic advantage of XP is that the whole process is visible and accountable. The developers will make concrete commitments about what they will accomplish, show concrete progress in the form of deployable software, and when a milestone is reached they will describe exactly what they did and how and why that differed from the plan. This allows business-oriented people to make their own business commitments with confidence, to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, and eliminate dead-ends quickly and cheaply. – KentBeck


In 1996, Chrystler’s visionary CIO, Sue Unger, gave Kent Beck free reign to form a team to tackle the Chrystler Comprehensive

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Functional Test

See Acceptance Test.

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In Scrum, 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 may include such things as:

  • A meeting to attend
  • A lack of technical expertise.
  • A technical issue (eg, a network is down).

Scrum co-founder Ken Schwaber declared removing impediments to be “The ScrumMaster’s top priority” in his 2002 book, Agile Software Development with Scrum.



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Incremental Delivery

See Iterative Development.

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Information Radiator

Also: Big Visible Charts

In Agile Software Development, the preferred way of displaying data visualizations is to post them on the wall in the team’s common workspace (i.e., rather than logging them in a spreadsheet). Examples of information radiators include a burn down chart, a burn up chart, and a task board, although other types of chart are possible. These may also be referred to as Big Visible Charts.

Keeping information visible at all times promotes transparency (one of the three legs of Scrum).


Alistair Cockburn coined the term “information radiator” in 2000, and introduced it in his 2001 book, Agile Software Development.

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Also:  Sprint, Small Release, Timebox

The uninterrupted period of time during which an Agile development team performs work, most commonly one week to one month in length, at the end of which the team delivers “potentially shippable” product. This deliverable can be a new feature or feature set, or the improvement or expansion of an existing feature that was completed in an earlier iteration. In Agile, iterations typically begin with a planning meeting, and end with a retrospective.


In Scrum, the iteration is referred to as a Sprint. Extreme Programming refers to “small releases,” using this term interchangeably with the term iteration. Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) refers to the iteration as a timebox.Etymology

According to Merriam-Webster Online, an iteration is “a procedure in which repetition of a sequence of operations yields results successively closer to a desired result.” In Agile, the definition of an iteration is broader, as the iteration may deliver either improvement upon existing functionality, or an increment or increments of new functionality.

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