Glossary

This section provides you with common words we use to discuss the features of AgileZen as well as a few we borrow specifically from lean:

Account – Accounts in AgileZen are used for billing purposes, and you can have as many paid accounts as you'd like. For example, you might want one account for business purposes (billed to your corporate credit card), and one for your own side projects. You can upgrade or downgrade an account at any time.

Archive – The archive is the phase in your process that contains completed stories. It is the panel on the right side of the board. Your process must have this phase, though you can change the name of it if you’d like. The end time of a story is calculated when it reaches the archive, so when you move stories to the archive, this will affect your performance metrics.

Archived Project – An archived project is one that you are no longer working on. If you’d like to keep a project’s data, rather than delete the project, you can archive it. The allows you to unarchive projects later if something comes up. Archived projects do not count toward the total number of projects allowed for an account. A project can be archived from its homepage.

Attachment – Attachments are files that can be added to AgileZen stories. They can be things like pictures, word documents, or spreadsheets. They can be added from the board or on the story focus screen. If a story has attachments there will be an indicator of this on the story card.

Backlog – The backlog is a phase in your process that contains all the stories that need to be worked on. There is a backlog for each project and it is located on the left side of your board. Cycle time begins when a story is moved out of the backlog.

Blocked - Blocked is an indicator on the board that there is an issue with a story. When the card is marked as blocked, a red outline appears letting everyone know that attention should be directed there. There is also a textbox to enter a reason why the story is blocked. You can block a story by clicking on the story’s header and clicking the red blocked icon. You can also block a story from the story focus screen using the blocked button at the top. The time a card is spent blocked will be counted towards Blocked Time in the reports on the performance page.

Blocked Time – This is the time that stories spend in a blocked state on the board. The performance page reports an average across all stories for the selected time period. The chart graphs this metric over the entire length of the project, so you can see whether it is increasing or decreasing.

Board – The board is a view of your stories that organizes them visually. From this view you will be able to see the status of all of your work items.

Card – A card in AgileZen is equivalent to a story. It represents a piece of work that needs to be worked on. See also story.

Collaborator – A collaborator is anyone that you invite to work on a project or several projects within your account. You can invite collaborators to your project on the people page. An invitation will be sent to the collaborator by email so that they can join the project. You can assign the collaborators in your team to various roles with customized permissions. The AgileZen plans vary in the amount of collaborators allowed.

Color – Color in AgileZen refers to the color of the story cards. You can pick from several different ones to differentiate different groups of stories.

Creator – The creator of the story is the person who originally created the story card. This may or may not be the same person as the owner.

Cumulative Flow Diagram – This diagram shows the number of stories in each phase on a given day and tracks it over time on a stacked area chart. If a phase shows a wide area, it suggests there is a lot of work in progress in that particular phase. If this continues over several days, it is an indication that work is not being pulled to the next phase and something is interrupting the flow.

Cycle Time – Cycle time in AgileZen starts when a story is pulled out of the backlog and ends when the story is pulled into the archive. Each story has a cycle time and the mean cycle time for all stories in a project (for the selected time period) is displayed at the top of the performance page. This metric is a good heuristic to use when trying to determine when a story might be complete. The chart graphs this metric over the entire length of the project, so you can see whether it is increasing or decreasing.

Dashboard – Your dashboard is the first screen that you see when you log in to AgileZen. From this page you can change your plan, update your billing information, and view all of your projects.

Date Panel - The date panel is a way to select a particular time period on the performance screen. By changing the date range in this panel, you can see your performance over the time period selected.

Deadline – A deadline is when a story is due to be complete. You have the option to set a date for this on each story card.

Details – The details of a story are any additional information related to a story that should be shared with the team, but not listed out in the text of the story card. The field is free form and can be used for comments, questions, acceptance criteria, or anything else you can think of. You can view the story details by hovering over the number on the card and clicking on the magnifying glass to go to the story focus screen.

Efficiency - Efficiency is calculated as work time / cycle time. An average is reported at the top of the performance screen. If you continue to use the same process over several months you can compare efficiency over time and determine whether your process is improving. The chart graphs this metric over the entire length of the project, so you can see whether it is increasing or decreasing.

Filter – Filtering is a way to see a group of stories on the board by fading or hiding stories that don’t fit what you’re looking for. You can filter on everything from colors to tags to owner. You can also filter the performance page by viewing charts and key performance indicators based on what you are looking for.

History – Each story contains the history of the last few actions that were performed, which can be found on the story focus screen.

Identification Number (ID/Number) – This is a unique story identifier. The numbers are assigned as the stories are created.

Kanban Card – In AgileZen, a kanban card represent some unit of work that needs to be completed. It can be referred to as a card or story. You can create a kanban card, using the add stories panel in the tool. Typically the card is added to the backlog and then pulled onto the board when someone is ready to begin work on it. When the card is on the board, it is moved through several stages on work until it’s done. The stages of work are the columns on a board view. The board view in AgileZen shows all the kanban cards that are being worked on, so that you can see everything that is in process in a project all on one screen. The phases on your board will correspond to the phases outlined on your value stream.

Lead Time – The lead time of a story begins when the story is created and ends when the story is pulled into the archive. The average of this metric for the date range selected is at the top of the performance screen. The lead time can be thought of as the cycle time plus any time the story spent in the backlog. The chart graphs this metric over the entire length of the project, so you can see whether it is increasing or decreasing.

Lean - Lean thinking originated with Taiichi Ohno, known as the father of the Toyota Production System, who thought that anything that consumed resources but did not create value for the customer was waste. At the heart of lean thinking is a fundamental idea: eliminating waste.

Owner – A story’s owner is the person the story is currently assigned to. You can claim a story by picking your name out of the drop down list of team members. Just click on the name of the person who currently owns the card to change it. You can also click on the header of the story to view the story panel and click the star!

Project – A project is a place where work is organized in AgileZen. Within a project, you can create work items called stories and invite people to work with you. The AgileZen plans vary in the number of projects that can be created in a given account.

Pull – Pull means that a person who needs work pulls a story card that is ready to be worked on rather than having the work pushed to them.

Ready to Pull – Marking a card as ready to pull means that the story is done in that phase and ready to be pulled to the next phase. Typically in lean, stories are pulled rather than pushed into phases. The ready to pull status is a great way to alert other collaborators that they can begin work on that card when they are free to do so. When a story is marked ready to pull, the time it spends idle counts toward Wait Time in the reports on the performance page.

Recent Activity – The recent activity shows the last few actions performed in a project and can be found on the project’s homepage.

Role – Roles are ways to organize the collaborators in your project. When you invite people to participate, you will need to assign a role, which corresponds to different permissions that you can customize. Roles can be added or deleted on the people page.

Size – Size is a field on a card where you can add an estimate to the work item if you would like to do so. You can use any format you’d like from hours to t-shirt sizes (small, medium, large).

Story – A story is the card on the AgileZen board that represents a work item that needs to be completed. It can be hung on the board and moved from left to right until it is done.

Story Focus Screen – The story focus screen is a zoomed view of one story. You can access it by clicking on the magnifying glass that appears next to the story’s identification number. You can do many functions on this screen including adding story details, adding attachments, viewing story history, viewing story metrics, and more.

Story Panel – The story panel allows you to perform actions on a story like changing the color, adding tasks, adding tags, adding attachments, and marking a story as ready to pull or blocked. Click on the header at the top of the card to expand the panel or to close it.

Tag – A tag is a way to group stories together. Tags are free form, so you can use them for almost anything. The tags are displayed in a list at the bottom of the story cards.

Task – A task is part of a checklist of items that are attached to a story. It can be thought of a step towards completing a story card. You can add and view them by opening the story panel. There is an indicator on the story card of the number of tasks and the percentage complete. Tasks can be dragged to be reordered and when a task is complete, a line will appear through the text and the completion time will be added to the task.

Throughput - This is the total number for stories completed (placed in the archive) for the time period selected on the performance screen.

Value Stream – The value stream consists of all the phases that a story needs to go through to be complete. Essentially you are mapping your value stream (or at least part of it) when you organize your phases on the process screen. These phases on the value stream are represented as the columns on the board with the names of the phases at the top.

Wait Time – This is the time that stories spend marked as ready to pull on the board. The performance page reports an average across stories for the time period selected. The chart graphs this metric over the entire length of the project, so you can see whether it is increasing or decreasing.

Waste – Waste is anything that takes away from creating value. The goal of lean is to minimize waste. Examples of waste could be switching between too many tasks or waiting for other people.

Work-In-Progress Limit – A Work-In-Progress (WIP) limit means that you restrict the number of things that can be worked on at any one time. This allows people to focus on what’s important and not switch too much between tasks (which creates waste). WIP limits in AgileZen can be added to phases on the process screen.

Work Time – Work time is the time a story spends on the board not in a queued or blocked state. The average of this metric is displayed on the performance page for the selected time period. The chart graphs this metric over the entire length of the project, so you can see whether it is increasing or decreasing.

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