Technique Summary: BABOK 10.23 and Agile 7.14

By Alissa Johnson

Below is a summary of section 10.23- Glossary from BABOK® version 3 and Agile Technique 7.14 – Retrospectives from the Agile extension to the BABOK v2.

Technique 10.23– Glossary

A list of terms and established definitions provides a common language that can be used to communicate and exchange ideas among stakeholders. Glossaries provide an organized, and continuously accessible, common understanding of stakeholder terms, within a particular domain.
Stakeholder terms may have different meanings for any two people. Organizations or industries may use a term differently than how it is generally understood.

  • A term is included in the glossary when:
    • The term is unique to a domain,
    • There are multiple definitions for the term,
    • The definition implied is outside of the term's common use, or
    • There is a reasonable chance of misunderstanding.

A glossary should be created in the early stages of a project to facilitate knowledge transfer and understanding. A single point of contact should be responsible for the maintenance and distribution of the glossary throughout the initiative. Organizations that maintain glossaries often find additional uses for this information and are able to leverage the glossary for future initiatives.

  • Consider the following when developing a glossary:
    • Definitions should be clear, concise, and brief,
    • Acronyms should be spelled out if used in a definition,
    • Stakeholders should have easy and reliable access to glossaries, and
    • Editing should be limited to specific stakeholders

Usage Considerations                                                                            

Strengths Limitations
Promotes common understanding of the business domain and better communication among all stakeholders Requires an owner to perform timely maintenance, otherwise it becomes outdated and may be ignored
Capturing the definitions as part of an enterprise's documentation provides a single reference and encourages consistency It may be challenging for different stakeholders to agree on a single definition for a term
Simplifies the writing and maintenance of other business analysis information including but not limited to requirements, business rules, and change strategy  


Agile Technique 7.14 – Retrospectives
Retrospectives provide an opportunity for the entire team to continuously improve by reflecting on what went well, and what could have gone better, on recent deliveries. Retrospectives are held at key milestones in the solution life cycle, normally at the end of every iteration/release, so learning can be quickly embedded in the processes and practices going forward. Retrospectives focus on identifying process improvements and include safety checks to ensure team members can speak freely and constructively. It may be useful for Retrospectives to be facilitated by a neutral facilitator rather than by a member of the team.

  1. Review Previous Action Items: action items identified in the previous retrospective are reviewed, and progress and impact assessed.
  2. Preparation: The team prepares ideas from the recent iteration that may be analyzed in the retrospective.
  3. Safety Check: The team agrees, together, to trust each other and to believe every comment or suggestion is intended for the sole purpose of improving the team's performance.
  4. Identify the Items: There are many mechanisms to identify items to discuss. One of the most common is for all team members to write up things that went well, things to improve, and things of interest to share as a group.
  5. Choosing Future Actions: Once all the ideas have been discussed to the satisfaction of the team, the team decides which solutions or improvements to focus on next. The team then identifies a timeline and assigns responsibility to an individual team member who ensures the solution or improvement is implemented.

Usage Considerations

Strengths Limitations
An excellent way for the team to find a collective voice around opportunities for team improvement Team members may feel obliged to pretend that they trust each other, even though they do not
Addresses issues early and focuses on improving the process Retrospectives are only of value if the team acts upon the learning from the session to improve the process
Allows continuous improvement of the team Most ideas raised are known to at least one member of the team, and should be addressed as they arise rather than in the retrospective
Empowers the team If issues raised in the retrospective are not addressed, there is a risk to team morale and motivation
Can be self-facilitated by the team