This explains some of the terms used elsewhere in the Library.

Cargo Cult
A name drawn from the phenomenon of certain South Sea islanders who believed that by building mockups of airplanes and constructing runways that they could bring back the planes and all the wealth that accompanied them during World War II, when advance U.S. bases in the Pacific used the islands as staging areas. So, by reconstructing or simulating the artifacts of a situation, they could effect its occurrence. The goal is to avoid cargo-cult adoption of agile (going through the motions without understanding why). Issues with cargo cults include:

  • Belief that imitating actions alone produces desired results
  • Correlation implies causation
  • Process is more important than core principles
  • No need to know the foundational “why” that underlies the mechanics of an agile process like Scrum

In the context of Agile / Scrum, the term “cargo cult” usually refers to a team carrying out the rituals of Scrum, without any understanding why those rituals in place. That results in not achieving maximum benefit from Scrum.

Cost of Delay
The financial cost associated with delaying work or delaying achievement of a milestone. Cost of delay emphasizes the concept that time has a real financial cost, and to make economically sensible trade-offs it is important to know that cost.
Cross-functional team
A team composed of members with all the functional skills (such as UI designers, developers, testers) and specialties necessary to complete work that requires more than a single discipline.
A sense-making framework that helps us understand the situation in which we have to operate and decide on a situation-appropriate approach. See Understanding Agile Using the Cynefix Framework for more details.
Minimum Marketable Features (MMF)
The smallest or minimum set of functionality related to a feature that must be delivered for the customer to perceive value (for it to be marketable) (MMF).
Minimum Releasable Features (MRF)
1. The minimum set of features that must be present in a release to make it viable—useful enough to end customers such that they want it and would be willing to pay for it. 2. Features composed from a collection of minimum marketable features. Synonymous with must-have features. (MRF)
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The smallest things we can test to enable one cycle of the build – test process. (MVP)
Musketeer attitude
1. All for one and one for all. 2. The attitude among members of a team that they are all in the same boat and that they will win or lose together as a team.
Nokia test
A brief test developed by Nokia to determine if their teams were at least running a basic version of Scrum:

    Are you doing Iterative Development?

    1. Iterations must be timeboxed to less than 4 weeks
    2. Software features must be tested and working at the end of each iteration
    3. The Iteration must start before specification is complete
  1. Are you doing Scrum?
    1. You know who the product owner is
    2. There is a product backlog prioritized by business value
    3. The product backlog has estimates created by the team
    4. The team generates burndown charts and knows their velocity
    5. There are no project managers (or anyone else) disrupting the work of the team
Self-organizing team
A team that doesn’t depend on a manager or an outside person to decide who does what work. Self-organizing teams must have a high sense of ownership.
Shu Ha Ri (then Kokoro)

Shu Ha Ri is a Japanese martial art concept which describes the stages of learning to mastery. Kokoro is taking it a step further.

  1. Shu: Learn a technique. Copy techniques, probably without any real understanding. In Scrum or Kanban, this would mean that the ceremonies and basic activities are being implemented.
  2. Ha: Learned the technique, but have to think hard about the best way to do things and which approaches to use. There is learning from the masters, and that is integrated in practice. In Scrum or Kanban, this would mean that the ceremonies are being implemented, with some understanding of why those are being used, and learning from Agile Coaches.
  3. Ri: The top few percent of a profession. Have started to develop their own tools, techniques and methodology. Confident, instinctively knowing what to do, and may have trouble explaining to the Shu level. In Scrum or Kanban, this would mean that not only are the processes are implemented to perfection, but the mindset behind it is clear, and the mindset drives all actions.
  4. Kokoro: Reserved for the true masters. Develop thinking not by moving to even higher levels of complexity, but by returning to simplicity. They deconstruct the complex stuff. Radical simplification. Teach all levels well. In Scrum or Kanban this would translate to there being such an integration of the Agile mindset into everything done, that then there is a reduction of activity to just the fundamentals.
T-shaped skills
A metaphor used to describe a person with deep vertical skills in a specialized area (such as UX design) as well as broad but not necessarily very deep skills in other relevant areas (such as testing and documentation). Team members with T-shaped skills better enable swarming behavior.