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).


5 thoughts on “The Agile ContraDictionary

  1. Product Pawner:
    One who cleverly pawns the future of the product and end user benefits to buy time and capacity to look good to a bunch of super-lord stakeholders by building a little bit of everything they ask for but nothing that the end user would value.

    Legend has it that the product pawner has mythical decision making super powers but they only get activated on rare auspicious occasions when some far away unknown stars align.

    At the pinnacle of their influence they can make funding rain while in the pits of their failure they are. .. well .. vegetables with nodding heads and lost eyes.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s