Frequent Agile Questions – Agile Answers

Answers to those common agile questions
We have compiled a list of frequent agile questions and answers, to help you with your agile transformation.

As agile principles and practices have evolved over the past two decades, undoubtedly terms have merged, often losing purpose or clarity. So, we thought we should help by using our experience and expert agile knowledge, to bring some clarity to the agile terms being used every day. Please get in touch if you can’t find your frequent agile question listed below, or if you need a more detailed answer. We are always here to help.

Our team is made of up of agile practitioners, with decades of experience between them. Whilst we bring clarity to the agile terms being used and we’re able to answer any questions about agile practices and principles, we also bring pragmatism to any agile adoption or agile transformation.

What is an Immersive Learning Dojo?

Immersive Learning Dojo /ˈdōˌjō/: An immersive environment where agile teams embark on an intensive learning journey that enables teams to make breakthroughs more rapidly and consistently.
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How does weighted shortest job first (WSJF) work?

When you have to prioritize a list of requirements from different stakeholders or customers, you can choose from many different methods. One popular method, advocated by lean-agile approaches such as SAFe®, is weighted shortest job first (WSJF). WSJF is an approach that gives preference to items that provide the most economic impact in the shortest […]
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What are the requirements SAFe?

When you want to express a requirement for functionality in SAFe, you can use stories, features, capabilities and epics. When is each of these used? What level of detail do they contain? And, who has content authority for them?
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What metrics will help my agile team?

Gathering metrics for your agile team will help them find opportunities for improvement in both the product and themselves.
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What are the SAFe events?

In the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®), there are regular events (meetings) at different levels. What are they, who should attend, and what is their purpose?
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What is the difference between a Product Manager and a Product Owner in SAFe?

‘Product manager’ (PM) and ‘Product Owner’ (PO) are two roles that appear in many organizations which have adopted agile approaches to their work. In SAFe, these roles are distinct, each with specific responsibilities.
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What is DevOps?

DevOps is an approach to enable teams to independently build, test and deploy solutions quickly, safely reliably, and securely to customers.
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What is an agile culture?

An agile culture is one that has a bias towards collaboration and cooperation and minimizes autocracy, control, and bureaucracy. It pushes decision-making down the organization to enable teams to take ownership of business outcomes and holds them to account.
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What is an RTE in SAFe?

The Release Train Engineer (RTE) is a role in the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe). They are responsible for ensuring that the agile release train (the team of agile teams) works well together and follows the SAFe processes.
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How could I run PI Planning when everyone is working remotely?

In the Scaled Agile Framework®, SAFe®, Program Increment (PI) planning is an essential element and is generally run as a ‘big room planning’ event where everyone is in the same location. Often some people connect remotely but how could PI Planning be done when everyone is working remotely?
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How do I start implementing SAFe?

The Scaled Agile Framework®, or SAFe®, is one of a growing number of frameworks that seek to address the problem of coordinating the activities of multiple teams when using lean and agile delivery methods. This article advises on how to start using SAFe.
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What are the 10 essential SAFe elements?

The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) has different configurations. Many aspects are optional or depend on the configuration that you have chosen to use. However, there are 10 elements of SAFe that are considered so important to the framework that, if they are not used, then SAFe is not being used. These 10 essential SAFe elements […]
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What is an Agile Release Train?

In the Scaled Agile Framework® SAFe® an agile release train (ART) is a team of agile teams. Additionally, it includes an associated group of stakeholders. An ART frequently delivers valuable functionality into a system.
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What SAFe training courses are available?

The Scaled Agile Framework®, or SAFe®, has a set of certified training courses that are aimed at specific roles within SAFe. Each of these courses prepares delegates for their role in an organization and enables the delegate to take examinations to gain the associated qualification.
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What are the roles in SAFe?

The Scaled Agile Framework®, or SAFe®, has roles that are usually associated with different levels: Team, Program, Solution, and Portfolio. Key SAFe roles at Team level The key SAFe roles and main responsibilities at team level are: Agile Team – responsible for delivery and quality of the work undertaken. Scrum Master – responsible for ensuring […]
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What is SAFe?

The Scaled Agile Framework®, or SAFe®, is a set of workflows and patterns to help enterprises scale lean and agile practices. It is one of a growing number of frameworks that seek to address the problem of coordinating the activities of multiple teams when using lean and agile delivery methods.
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What is a cross-functional team?

You will often hear agile teams described as cross-functional or at least aspiring to be. When a team is defending why they haven’t completed something at the end of a sprint and cries “the development is done, we have passed it over to the testers!”, or “it’s just waiting for dev ops to deploy it […]
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What’s different between coaching and mentoring?

"Two common stances for a scrum master are coaching and mentoring. Often these words are used interchangeably, but they are two very distinct approaches to working with and developing others."
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How does an empirical process work?

Empirical process control is a technique used when the complexity of activities means a defined process control cannot be employed.
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What is a self-organizing team?

When Takeuchi and Nonaka studied world-leading innovative product teams in the eighties and published their paper "The new product development game" one of the key attributes they identified was self-organizing teams. They proposed that a group possesses a self-organizing capability when it exhibits three conditions: autonomy, self-transcendence, and cross-fertilization.
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What scaling agile frameworks are available?

As agile has developed over the last 10-15 years, questions have arisen around how you scale when you get several teams working on the same product. There are several scaling agile frameworks designed to help to solve the problem of numerous teams working across the same or closely linked products. Using our own experience and […]
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What is servant leadership?

Servant leadership is the idea that the main goal of someone in a leadership position is to serve others. A true servant leader will put other people’s needs and priorities first, and help people develop and perform as highly as possible. When reading and learning about the Scrum framework you will most often see servant […]
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What is a backlog item?

The Scrum Guide lists the first responsibility of a product owner in managing the backlog as “Clearly expressing Product Backlog items” but what is a backlog item?
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What is a sprint goal?

A sprint goal is a shared high-level objective that describes the key outcome for each sprint that a Scrum team undertakes. In the same way that a product vision guides the longer-term direction of a product, the sprint goal guides the development team on why it is building the current increment. It also covers why […]
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What are the Scrum Values?

Scrum is based on a set of fundamental values. The values provide a code of behavior, or ethics, for Scrum Teams – some rules of conduct for teams to embody and live by as they work with Scrum.
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What makes a good agile practitioner?

The definition of a practitioner is “a person actively engaged in an art, discipline, or profession” or “someone who works in a job that involves long training and high levels of skill”. An agile practitioner is therefore someone actively engaged in practicing agile techniques to help organizations respond to both continued and rapid change; using […]
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How do 7 Lean wastes apply to software?

Eliminating waste is a key concept in lean process thinking. Waste reduction is often seen as a way of increasing productivity. Since lean is the grandfather of agile we can perhaps borrow this key concept and apply it to software engineering. Through identification and elimination of waste in our software teams we can build our […]
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Incremental vs Iterative Development?

Incremental development slices work into small bite-sized pieces. These are called increments. Each increment builds on top of what has gone before. Fully functional modules grow bit-by-bit over time. Each evolution adds to preceding functionality. Iterative development is the process of repeating and refining a cycle/way of working. This is called an iteration.
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What is a product roadmap?

A product roadmap is a visible plan for the future. There’s no one type of plan. Different sorts will be of interest and use to different people. If you’re using the agile product delivery framework, Scrum, the sprint backlog is a plan for the immediate sprint. Most teams will have a product backlog, which is […]
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What is a product owner?

A product owner is a decision-maker. Fundamentally, the role exists to help represent the needs of both the business stakeholders and the users within a complex environment. They broker the needs of those two sets of people condensing their requests for features and enhancements into a single prioritized list of tasks for the development team […]
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What is a sprint?

In the Scrum framework for agile product development, the sprint is a fixed period of time in which a defined set of activities take place and at the end of which a product increment is created. A sprint would usually be set between one and four weeks and would be fixed for a product development […]
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What is the difference between agile and agility?

‘Agility’ is our ability to respond to change. We know that companies, teams, and individuals who cannot respond to the changes around them struggle to compete, perform and succeed. If you can think of an organization that has gone out of business, lost significant market share, or begun to lack credibility in the eyes of […]
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What is a product increment?

In the context of agile software product development, using a framework such as Scrum, a software product increment is what gets produced at the end of a development period or timebox. In Scrum, for example, the regular development cycle is a Sprint, a period of between one and four weeks in which a planned set […]
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