Alternative name(s)


Ambiguity can be described as doubtfulness or uncertainty as regards interpretation or something open to having several possible meanings or interpretations. Business analyst have developed a number of competencies over the years to make career advancements. Ambiguity management is definitely an integral one. Organizational changes that occur internally and externally could cause a lot of ambiguity but the ability to manage it ensures that management can make the appropriate decisions as and when needed.

Agile values

Communication-- effective communication is an integral way of managing ambiguity. Conflicts occur as a result of inadequate communication. This causes staff members to consume time doing irrelevant jobs that inhibit the project process. A clear job definition by the project manager ensures that all members of the team understand their roles and carry out their jobs effectively and avoid ambiguity.

Agile principles

Open Information--unclear information could cause ambiguity to occur in a project team. Ambiguity is better managed through the employment of open information because it enables cooperation among team members and aids in the avoidance of conflicts that regularly occur as a result of limited information (Orville et al, 1975). Information sharing boost mutual relationship among staff members and improves communication to ensure that any problem that may arise can be easily dealt with so that the expectation of stakeholders are met.

Agile practices

Collective Ownership—this is a general belief that every member of the team exercises the right to apply the necessary changes to facilitate the completion of a task being developed, to improve the overall structure of codes or to apply the necessary repairs to a defect. The work should be a shared responsibility for every member of the team to ensure that ambiguity is avoided and goals are achieved.

Retrospective—this can be described as a meeting where iterations that were carried out are reflected upon. The team looks back to acquire the lessons learned so as to enable them perform better in subsequent iterations. A retrospective is driven by the team and they make decisions together on how to improve. At the end of every sprint, retrospective meetings should be held to address any issues of ambiguity in the work if there is any. According to Rouse (2011), the objective behind the retrospective meeting is to ensure that previous mistakes are not repeated in future works. Furthermore, Team coordination can be boosted as a result of this meetings helping to avoid ambiguity so that the desired goal is achieved.


Continuous iterations in the management of ambiguity ensures that all possible causes of a problem are explored deeply. According to Mashayekhi and Gill (2010), a problem is not necessarily rooted to its symptoms in space and time therefore continuous iterations enables the root of the problem to be reached. According to Forrester (1969), all answers are wrong but the one that identifies and addresses the difficulty in a manner that is comprehensive is the required answer.

Links from Ambiguity Management to KA's

Ambiguity Management-- An integral factor of project success is ambiguity management. As a result of project complexity, Proper management between project team and all stakeholders involved will ensure that any area of ambiguity is managed effectively. According to (Gaffney, 2011), ambiguity management can improve staff motivation and eliminate the conflicts that usual occur in a project environment

Agile Management-When organizations operate, they aim to reduce ambiguity at all cost and make the necessary changes when necessary. Agile management ensures that organizations remain flexible to adapt to changes when they are required.

Project Risk Management:Ambiguity management is linked to management of risk in projects as they are both aimed at tackling uncertainty.


Forrester, J. W. (1969). Urban Dynamics. Boston: MIT Press

Gaffney, S. (2011) Leading and Operating in Ambiguity.Available at: [Accessed to: 6th April 2013]

Mashayekhi, A. N., & Ghili, S. (2010). Real Estate Cycles: A Theory Based on Stock Flow Structure of Durable Goods Markets. Working Paper.

Orville C, Walker, Jr, Gilbert A, Churchill, Jr & Neil M (1975) Organizational Determinants of the Industrial Salesman’s Role Conflict and Ambiguity Journal of Marketing 39 (1) pp. 32-39 [Online] Available: [Accessed: 6th April 2013]

Rouse, M. (2011). Agile retrospective. Available at: [Accessed: 6th April 2013]

External links

Communication in Agile
Motivation in Agile
Agile Retrospective
Agile Alliance
Managing Ambiguity
Agile Management
Uncertainty With Agile

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