The Agile ContraDictionary

Inspired by The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, this is a handy compendium of common misinterpretations (or misappropriations) of terms related to agile software delivery.

Fauxgile Methods
noun – Spurious but handy notions about agile one can conveniently whip out to convert intellectual deficiencies to process ones.

noun – One who’s faith in doing Scrum by ‘the book’ overpowers logic or common sense. Often believes that ‘Scrum’ speaks to them directly.

Eww-ser Story 
noun – A requirements artifact so poorly crafted that the primary thing developed from it is a feeling of disgust.

verb – To make up numbers, typically under duress from management, by artfully substituting accuracy with precision.

noun – a curiously elastic management concept that can represent capacity, productivity, and competence of an Agile team. Usually all at the same time.

Prayer Programming
noun – An approach to coding that involves two screens, two keyboards, four hands, and a singular hope that at least the other person knows what they’re doing.

Defamation of Done 
noun – the act of slanderously claiming that something is ‘almost done’, for five days in a row.

Rundown Chart
noun – A clever little graph, designed for management walks-by, that always reflects smooth progress, but is usually bitterly divorced from reality.

noun – a look back at days past involving spewing anger in all directions with the hope of obtaining relief, but only acquiring a bigger mess.

noun – An aspirational title for senior ScrumMasters who may justifiably believe that their current title doesn’t adequately signal their superiority over mere developers and testers.

and finally, that old chestnut…

Continence delivery 
noun – A release cadence that values holding things in, often until its too late, over smooth, regular movements (to production).

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to real persons, events or beliefs is entirely coincidental.

More definitions coming soon-ish.

If you would like to contribute some tongue-in-cheek definitions of your own, add them in the comments and I’m happy to curate a bigger list here (all appropriately credited of course).