Software Glossary For Business Analysts & Product Managers
As a business analyst or product manager, there is a lot to know about software engineering!
To excel in this industry, it takes a bit of upfront memorization (and then comprehension). Between acronyms, tools, and slang, if you want to communicate with technologists, you’ve got to know the essentials.
Here is our software glossary for business analysts and product managers, in as simple terminology as possible!
An API is an application programming interface. APIs connect backend systems with apps, IoT, and mobile devices so data can be easily sent back and forth.
API use example: You might import Google Analytics data into your company’s custom dashboard using an API.
Asana is a project management software that is great for Agile teams. You can access it via a web application (app.asana.com) or a mobile app.
Example: “I like Asana more than Basecamp for managing tasks.”
AWS, Amazon Web Services, is one of the nation’s largest on-demand cloud computing platforms.
Fun Fact: Amazon Web Services is responsible for only a fraction of Amazon’s total revenue, but makes up over 70% of its profits.
The backend of an application is where a lot of the “work” happens. It includes hosting, database management, cloud storage, authentications, and other information that a user doesn’t see.
An analogy: Backend is sort of like the bottom of an iceberg, hidden away but massive, keeping the top half (frontend) afloat.
Bitbucket is a web-based application that hosts Git revisions. It lets developers collaborate on code, making development teams aware of what everyone else is doing.
Caching temporarily stores some data so it’s easier to render. For web applications, this data is stored in files in your browser.
In other words: Caching is good, it makes the web run fast.
Continuous integration/Continuous deployment is the practice of testing changes to your codebase early and automatically and then deploying those changes to your system.
It’s a central part of: DevOps
A code review is exactly what you think it is: when a developer or technologist reviews your code and looks for inefficiencies.
Shameless plug: We can do a code review for you! Contact us.
Codeship is an online tool. It works with Github and Bitbucket to let you continuously integrate.
The Git commit is a command used to save a developer’s changes to the local repository.
Its sorta like: A “save.” What’s cool about Commit is that you can see who saved and when it was completed.
CSVs are files with comma-separated values. CSVs are great because they work in any spreadsheet program including Excel, Google Sheets, and Numbers. You can also upload CSVs into programs like MailChimp, BambooHR, and SalesForce.
Totally relatable: The first time you ever opened a CSV expecting a spreadsheet, you were like whatisthis.
A database is an organized collection of data that lives on server farms.
Big ones: Some of the largest databases in the world are Amazon (59 million user’s personal information), Google (trillions of search queries), and the World Data Centre for Climate (temperatures, precipitation, wind globally).
To debug is to find bugs and then remove them.
Wikipedia: Here are some of the most infamous bugs in recent history.
Deployment / migration
Deployment or migration makes your software available to your users.
In other words: “Launch!‘
Dev stands for “development” and includes planning, coding, building, and testing. Ops is the “operations” and includes release, monitoring, response, and learning. DevOps together is a continuous cycle of development and operations, resulting in efficient iterations and better workflows.
DevOps includes: philosophies, process implentation, and tools.
A domain name system (DNS) is a database! The “phonebook of the internet.” DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so you can access your favorite sites.
Fun fact: There used to only be six top-level domains in existence (.com, .net .gov, .org, .edu, .mil) but now there are over 700 including .blog, .us, and .rocks.
Drupal is a CMS (content management system) that lets website admins manage and create content. Drupal is open source so developers can completely customize the design and backend.
Elastic compute cloud (EC2) lets you resize your computing capacity so that you can manage periods of low and high traffic easier.
Example: Your marketing campaign just went viral and you suddenly have five million website visitors. With EC2, your website won’t crash because your hosting company will automatically give you more bandwidth. Once your campaign is over, you’ll go back to normal server use.
The frontend of your application is what your user interacts with. It’s your dashboards, profiles, forums, web pages, and any other interface they see when interacting with your software.
An analogy: It’s the top of the iceberg, shiny and beautiful.
Git is local, open-source system software that lets you track changes made to your software’s source code. It helps your developers coordinate and understand who is doing what.
It’s local, aka: You have to download Git to your computer.
Github uses Git, but it’s a cloud-based service. It’s hosted on the web and provides a user interface.
The difference between Git and Github? Git is a downloadable product, Github is a web-based service.
An IP Address is an internet protocol address.
In laymen’s terms: It’s your device’s (desktop, mobile, tablets) address. In order to connect to a server and download information, you need an IP address.
Abbreviated as: JS
JIRA is a project management software that is especially suitable for software development because of its bug tracking and testing capabilities.
Competitors: Asana, Trello, and Pivotal Tracker
Here’s a cool site that uses JSON: https://population.io/
The benefit of this platform: Meteor is great for mobile app development because you can create everything with one language. This makes it simple, cost-effective, and fast.
MongoDB is a database that is good for unstructured data. Its marketing slogan is, “the most popular database for modern apps.”
Good to know: It has superb marketing, but isn’t “better” than MySQL or other databases. It has different, more limited uses.
MySQL / PostgreSQL
MySQL, also known as My Structured Query Language, is a relational database management system. It is best for structured data with clear schema. Learn more on our SQL 101 post.
Fun fact: the “My” in MySQL was given for the co-founder’s daughter.
Another content management system that is much newer than Drupal or WordPress. It features continuous deployment and serverless functions.
PHP stands for hypertext preprocessor. PHP is a programming language originally designed for web development.
Where it’s used: Most of today’s eCommerce stores and CMSs (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla) are built with PHP.
Prod is just a shortened “production.“
There is also: PREPROD which, you guessed it, is “pre-production.”
Python is another programming language. Learn Python 101 here.
What’s cool about Python: It’s compact and easy to read, even for non-developers.
A readme file is a .txt file that has essential development information regarding instruction, updates, and helpful tips. Readmes should be updated frequently.
These are important: During handoffs, if your Readme file isn’t helpful, the new developers could be spinning their wheels trying to figure out how to update something.
A regression in software is a bug that disrupts a functioning feature after a certain event (like an update). Regressions are usually caused when bugs are fixed in a shoddy or makeshift way.
The more you know: A performance regression is also a thing. It doesn’t disrupt a function, but it makes your software perform slowly.
Saas stands for software as a service. It’s a business and distribution model where businesses host applications and make them available to their customers via the internet.
Examples: Adobe Creative Suite. Adobe used to be a software company (software installations via a disk or download). Now, they host those applications on their servers and you pay a monthly fee.
UAT is user acceptance testing and takes place after automated testing, before product release. Learn more about QA and testing, specifically for product managers, right here.
In other words: It’s when real people test your software.
One of the most popular Content Management Systems out there, built on PHP. It’s great for blogs.
Share this software glossary for business analysts with your friends, and if we’ve forgotten an essential definition, let us know!