Product Glossary for Product Management and business terms

This list of Product management and business terms has been compiled to give you an overview of what concepts, best practices and language you should get familiar with, if you are pursuing a career in Product Management. The product glossary has the goal to promote transparency and explain in simple language what the different terms you will come across when working as a Product Manager mean. This is perfect for beginners only just starting out or eager to pursue a career in Product Management. Ideally this can give you a kickstart into the Product Management world and get to learn the basic ideas behind Product Management and what drives teams and companies within this field. The product glossary ranges from agile methodologies explained to various business related terms such as what a conversion funnel means. Furthermore it explains design concepts such as parallel design investigations and gives you some insight into how teams and companies are organising themselves.

As I was browsing through the web looking for sites explaining the various terms associated with Product Management, I could not identify a single resource yet that has all the information compiled in one place efficiently. I am aiming to build this as a resource and am open to suggestions. I strongly believe that building up a community site happens with the input of the users. Therefore I would like to encourage you to get in touch with me, if you happen to detect a crucial term that is not yet listed here.
I hope this section helps you to further your Product Management knowledge and gain insight into what all these different methods and terms are about. The product glossary is an ongoing project and as I go along I will update it as much as I can.

Conversion funnelDescribes the customer journey the user is going through. It starts out when the customer is clicking on an advert and then is browsing your website to find their perfect product. Everything before a conversion happens (purchase for example) is described as the funnel such as comparing products, adding it to your shopping cart and going to the checkout point. Some customers are not going to directly purchase a product, they will go through a number of micro conversions (social media shares or likes, signing up for a newsletter etc.).
The funnel outlines all processes before a purchase is made (Macro conversion).
ExpediteAn expedite is an urgent story just like an unplanned story, the only difference here is that it does not necessarily have to be worked on immediately. When started an expedite should be finished by the next business day.
Backlog Refinement Meeting/ Grooming / Story TimeThe grooming (or however you may call it) is time put aside where the team gathers once every sprint usually for two hours to discuss backlog items, estimate the effort of such items , clarify requirements and acceptance criteria as well as organize product backlog items (epics) and split them into smaller user stories. By the definition the grooming is not a mandatory part of Scrum and only an extension, however it has proven to be very useful to hold such meetings to clarify stories and make sure developers are potentially ready to start them in the upcoming sprint should they be prioritized accordingly.

A Product backlog item should not be larger than 25% of the overall sprint capacity.
KanbanKanban is an agile process but not as structured as Scrum. Typically stories are presented on a kanban board and split into the sections To Do, In Progress, (Code Review) and Done. Kanban works in the way that team members pull items from the board and start work on it. Whenever a new work item is completed the next one is pulled from the top of the backlog. Kanban has great flexibility and allows the product owner to rearrange the backlog without impacting the team. It is recommended to limit the work in progress items to ensure work is done efficiently and team members are not overloaded.
ImpedimentsAn impediment generally describes any road blocks or obstacles a team is facing and which keeps them from being productive. Impediments can be caused by team members who is not able to finish work as planned or a technical issue arising for instance. It is anything that prevents the team from doing an effective job and blocks them in performing at its best. The Scrum Master is dedicated to resolve or avoid impediments to help the team work more efficient.

INVEST mnemonic modelBill Wake, who came up with the INVEST mnemonic model formulated what makes a great user story. INVEST stands for independent, negotiable, valuable, estimable, small and testable.

I - Independent: No dependency from another user story.
N - Negotiable: User stories, if not yet part of an iteration can be changed around and rewritten
V - Valuable: The purpose of a user story is to communicate what value will be delivered to the end user.
E - Estimable: Make sure your user story can be estimated
S - Scalable (small sized): It is important to note that user stories should not be unrealistically large so they can still be efficiently planned and prioritized.
T - Testable: At all times your user story should provide information on what will be done in terms of testing and lay the foundation to do so
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)The MVP, not to mistake with Most Valuable Player in Sports, in its essence is a product that has only core features and then is simply deployed to gain customer feedback. Typically you will find the MVP approach in StartUps wanting to test if the market is receiving the product well first and then build on great feedback to enhance features and the user experience.
Parallel Design InvestigationsParallel Design Investigations can be described as a method of approaching short and long term goals at the same time. Robert Brunner (former Director of Industrial Design at Apple) explored the possibility of forward thinking, ways of handling new technology and working on some long term goals by having a development team work offline and allowing the team to make mistakes along the way. He identified parallel design investigations as something fundamentally valuable and enriching as it takes away the pressure from the team and the usual work process.

Visit our Product Design section in our Product library to read some articles on Parallel Design Investigations.

Quality Assurance (QA)QA is a crucial component of product development. QA engineers make sure the site looks smooth and are responsible to detect errors and bugs for example. They run acceptance tests before a new feature is released for example to explore discrepancies with the application and potential blockers.
Retro/ReviewDuring a review development teams recap and present what they have done during the last sprint. This is a great way for discussion as well if more teams than the executing development team takes part in it.

A Retro is an internal team meeting only attended by the respective development team and the Scrum master. It is used to review the last sprint in terms of effectiveness and give team members the chance to point out difficulties experienced and/or address any concerns on their part that can then be dealt with. The Retro is monitored by the Scrum Master and issues are documented.
ScrumScrum is an agile software development framework that is used to manage and develop products. Typically you will have a team consisting of developers, graphic designers and QA, who work towards a common goal and product vision. The team works in so called sprints (1-3 weeks) where a number of stories are defined for the sprint and who shall be worked on.

Scrum process includes the following structural stages:
- Daily stand up
- Pre-Planning and Sprint planning
- Grooming / Story Time
- Retro/Review
- Backlog Meeting
ScrumbanScrumban is a combination of Scrum and Kanban as the name may suggest. For some companies that are operating in a fast-paced environment Scrum can be too structured and Kanban a bit too loose. Scrumban unifies both and applies the structure of scrum to the development process and the flexibility that is attached to using Kanban in software development.
Scrumban works in the way that team members pull items from the backlog and start progress on it. Just like in Kanban there are WIP (work in progress) limits. What differentiates it from being Kanban is the approach of planning security by embedding Scrum methodology in the form of plannings, daily standups, review and retrospective. Plannings can be held as needed. This usually is the case when the amount of items in the to do section of the board hits a certain low.

Furthermore Scrumban uses a bucket size planning, which enables for great flexibility for product managers and stakeholders to react quickly. 1 year (idea), 6 months (goal), 3 months (requirements and story) --> goes to production board.

For more on Scrumban check the Product Library by clicking here.

Scrum masterA scrum master is appointed to monitor and observe the agile development process for a team that uses scrum. The scrum master is responsible for assuring that guidelines of the scrum model are not violated and lays the foundation for information to be exchanged throughout the team so they can succeed on their goals.
Furthermore a scrum master assists the product owner in managing the product backlog and acts as an overall support figure of the team to make sure projects are organised in an efficient way.
SpikeA spike is a story as part of a sprint where a developer/PM has to research/work on a certain topic that is relevant for an upcoming story but where investigation beforehand is necessary to assess the technical dimensions, reduce risk and what has to be done in order to build a feature for example.
SprintA sprint is a component of the Scrum methodology and describes a time period in which various stories and features will be worked on. Normally sprints last from 1 to 3 weeks.
Sprint PlanningDuring the Sprint Planning you sit down together with your development team to define, discuss and go through the stories of the next sprint.
User storyA user story is an essential part of agile software development and compresses requirements and functionality a feature should have from the perspective of a user. User stories are written as part of a ticket in a project management software (e.g. Jira). In the user story you should clearly state what has to be done and what the business value of your proposed feature is.

Example: As a user I would like to have a search function embedded into the website so I can search for items/products more efficiently.
UX DesignUX Design describes the process of improving usability of a website in the front-end of an application. UX designers are commonly appointed to lead these investigations and explore opportunities on how to design an interface that captures the users attention and interact with the product.

For articles on Product and UX Design click here
Unplanned StoryA user story, which is urgent and has to be worked on immediately. This can be a critical bug that needs to be fixed or a very important story, which cannot wait until the next sprint starts and has to be worked as part of a current running sprint.
Value PropositionA promise that is made to the customer to deliver a product, which meets their needs and expectations.

For articles on Value proposition click here
Scrum of Scrums (SoS)The meeting is primarly used to coordinate the work of multiple Scrum teams with one representative of each Scrum team attending.
Scrum of Scrums meeting are not held regularly but whenever needed (usually two to three times a week). The agenda is the same as the daily scrum meeting.