Scrum Glossary

Burn-down Chart: A chart showing the decrease of remaining work against time.

Burn-up Chart: A chart showing the increase of a parameter, e.g. value, against time.

Complex System: A system composed of many interacting parts (‘agents’) displaying collective, emergent behaviors that cannot be modeled or understood by a reductionist understanding of its constituent parts. It is a ‘Complex Adaptive System’ when one emergent phenomenon is the optimization of system features.

Daily Scrum: A daily event, time-boxed to 15 minutes or less, to re-plan the development work during a Sprint. The event serves for the Development Team to share the daily progress, plan the work for the next 24 hours and update Sprint Backlog accordingly.

Definition of Done: The set of expectations on quality that a product Increment must exhibit to make it releasable, i.e. fit for a release to the product’s users.

Development standards: The set of standards and practices that a Development Team identifies as needed to create releasable Increments of product no later than by the end of a Sprint.

Developers (also: Development Team): The group of people accountable for all evolutionary development work needed to create releasable Increments no later than by the end of a Sprint.

Emergence: The process of the coming into existence or prominence of unforeseen facts or knowledge of a fact, a previously unknown fact, or knowledge of a fact becoming visible unexpectedly.

Empiricism: The process control type in which decisions are based on observed results, experience and experimentation. Empiricism implements regular inspections and adaptations requiring and creating transparency. Also referred to as ’empirical process control’.

Forecast: The anticipation of a future trend based on observations of the past, like the selection of Product Backlog deemed deliverable in the current Sprint or in future Sprints for future Product Backlog.

Impediment: Any hindrance or obstacle that is blocking or slowing down the Development Team and cannot be solved through the self-organization of the Development Team itself. Raised no later than at the Daily Scrum, the Scrum Master is accountable for its removal.

Increment: A body of releasable work that adds to and changes previously created Increments, and–as a whole–forms a product.

Product (n): A tangible or non-tangible good or service providing immediate value to specific consumers (1); the outcome of specific actions or some defined process (2). Defines the span of: Product Owner, Product Backlog and Increment.

Product Backlog: An ordered, evolving list of all work deemed necessary by the Product Owner to create, deliver, maintain and sustain a product.

Product Backlog refinement: The recurring activity in a Sprint through which the Product Owner and the Development Team add granularity to future Product Backlog.

Product Owner: The person accountable for optimizing the value a product delivers, primarily by managing and expressing product functions and solutions in a Product Backlog. The single representative of all stakeholders and consumers.

Scrum: A simple framework that enables people to derive value from complex challenges.

Scrum Master: The person accountable for fostering an environment of Scrum by guiding, coaching, teaching and facilitating one or more Scrum Teams and their environment in understanding and employing Scrum.

Scrum Team: the combined accountabilities of Product Owner, (team of) Developers and Scrum Master.

Scrum Values: A set of 5 fundamental values and qualities underpinning the Scrum framework; commitment, focus, openness, respect and courage.

Self-design: the expression of self-organization where only the Scrum Team decides what skills are or are not needed and present within the team.

Self-management: the minimal expression of self-organization in Scrum, holding that only the Scrum Team decides how to perform the work within a Sprint.

Self-organization: The process of people forming organized groups around problems or challenges without external work plans or instructions being imposed on them.

Sprint: An event that serves as a container for the other Scrum events, time-boxed to 4 weeks or less. The event serves getting a sufficient amount of work done, while ensuring timely inspection, reflection and adaptation at a product and strategic level. The other Scrum events are Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective.

Sprint Backlog: An evolving plan of all work deemed necessary by the Development Team to realize a Sprint’s goal.

Sprint Goal: A concise statement expressing the overarching purpose of a Sprint.

Sprint Length: The time-box of a Sprint, which is 4 weeks or less.

Sprint Planning: An event marking the start of a Sprint, time-boxed to 8 hours or less. The event serves for the Scrum Team to inspect the Product Backlog considered most valuable at that time and design that forecast into an initial Sprint backlog against the Sprint Goal.

Sprint Retrospective: An event marking the closing of a Sprint, time-boxed to 3 hours or less. The event serves for the Scrum Team to inspect the Sprint that is ending and establish the way of working for the next Sprint.

Sprint Review: An event marking the closing of the development of a Sprint, time-boxed to 4 hours or less. The event serves for the Scrum Team and the stakeholders to inspect the Increment, the overall progress and strategic changes in order to allow the Product Owner to update the Product Backlog.

Stakeholder: A person external to the Scrum Team with a specific interest in or knowledge of a product that is required for the further evolution of the product.

Time-box: A container in time of a maximum duration, potentially a fixed duration. In Scrum all events have a maximum duration only, except for the Sprint itself which has a fixed duration.

Velocity: Popular indication of the average amount of Product Backlog turned into an Increment of releasable product during a Sprint by a specific (composition of) a team.


The Scrum Glossary has been translated in 20+ languages. The combined international translations of the Scrum Glossary below are available as a free download (PDF): Scrum Glossary (International versions) -Oct 2019.

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