Agile Glossary (M-R)


Mass Customisation – the ability to produce a high volume throughput that is tailored to every consumer of the product or service.

Monument – a role or tool within a Value Stream that is very expensive to operate and maintain. As a result the organisation feels it must insure the monument is always busy to maximise its return-on-investment. This can lead to the wastes of waiting, overproduction, transportation, Work-in-process, and underutilisation.

Muda – a wasteful, useless or ineffective Activity.


Non-value Add – a waste-producing element in an Activity or its component.


Outcome – a measureable result produced by a Value Stream that has value a customer would pay for.


PDCA – the four stages of a cycle of continuous improvement popularised by W. Edward Deming.
•    Plan – Define the problem, methods to measure it, and obtain management support for future stages.
•    Do – do the tests and prototypes to understand the problem, establish root causes, and investigate alternatives.
•    Check – analyse the results of the “do” stage to determine if a solution effectively resolves the problem while breaking nothing else.
•    Act – fully implement the identified solution.

Performance Principles – a set of standards aligning daily tactics with over-all organisational strategy and value statements. While value statements set standards for evaluating worth, principles set standards for achieving that worth. Values can be looked at the “what,” whereas principles can be seen as governing the “how.”

Pig – (arch.) a term for a Team member, the term offended some people so is now rarely used, cf. Chicken.

Planning Poker – a game used to apply estimates to stories; it uses the Delphi method of arriving at consensus.

Policy Intervention – the tendency for an initiative to be delayed, diluted, or defeated by the natural feedback responses of the system to the initiative itself.

Principle – a rule or standard; especially of good behaviour.

Product Backlog – a prioritised list of stories that are waiting to be worked on.

Product Item – an item that is found on the Backlog list, which contains Epics and stories, including stories to deal with technical issues.

Product Owner – a person whom holds the vision for the product and is responsible for maintaining, prioritising and updating the Product Backlog.

Productivity – the ratio of customer value produced per unit of labour. For example, productivity can be measured as the transactions per employee hours worked or burdened labour invested.

Process – designated rules for performing Activities, including when, how and what resources are required.

Pull – downstream customers drive upstream events (eliminates inventory).

Pull System – when a downstream role of a Value Stream pulls work from the role or store that is directly upstream. Eliminates inventory; opposite of Push System.

Push System – in which items are created according to a schedule, whether or not they are requested by the downstream pull. Items can be produced and stored in a Queue system while waiting to be requested.


Quality – a condition where the effectiveness and efficiency of value added work effects continuous improvement in a process, while simultaneously causing reduction and elimination of waste or non-value added work.

Queue – a physical store for items as they wait for the next action in a Value Stream.


Release Burndown Chart – graphical representation of work left to do toward release of a project.

Resource – the assets of the organisation including: people, processes, technologies, materials, and time.

Retrospective – a session with the Scrum Master and Team geared to reflect on the process and commit to more improvements.

Right Sizing – assigning resources to a Value Stream such that they are just sufficient to perform a balanced flow of work throughout that
Value Stream.

Role – a group of specific Activities assigned to one or more individuals of an organisation, self-contained and designed for completion without interruption or transference of ownership to anyone else.

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