The 12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Feb 19, 2022
Updated on
May 23, 2022
Table of Content

The Agile Manifesto is composed of 12 revolutionary principles that help you create better software. It was written in 2001 by a group of seasoned developers that saw a need for faster, more agile project management, and the software development world has never been the same since.

The manifesto is based on the values of individual interaction, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change. It also provides a basic framework that can be used to create more agile workflows.

In this article, we will explore the 12 principles behind the Agile Manifesto. We'll discuss what each principle means and how it can help your business become more agile.

1. Customer Satisfaction via Early and Continuous Product Delivery 

Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of agile software development. The first principle is that the customer should be satisfied by early and continuous product delivery; this means that teams should be able to release new features and updates frequently so that customers can see progress and provide feedback.

2. Embrace Changes in Requirements for the Customer’s Competitive Advantage

The second principle is that change is constant, and you must be prepared to adapt to changes in the market or customer needs, regardless of how far ahead they may be. This means being flexible and willing to pivot your plans when necessary. It also means developing software quickly and responding to feedback from customers.

3. Working Software Should Be Delivered Frequently Within a Short Time Frame

The agile methodology is founded on the principle of continuous delivery. This means that software should be delivered in smaller increments rather than all at once. It allows teams to test and feedback on features as they are developed, helping to ensure that the final product fulfills customer needs.

4. All Stakeholders Must Work Together Throughout the Project

Both business and development teams must work together to ensure that the project is going in the right direction. The developers need to understand what the business wants, and the business needs to be able to provide feedback on how well the developers are meeting their needs.

By working together regularly, business people and developers can better understand each other's needs and ensure that the end product meets the needs of both groups. The goal is to create a system where everyone works together towards the same idea, and stakeholders can give feedback and make changes as needed.

5. A Supportive Environment Can Help Motivate Individuals to Perform Better

A supportive environment is one of the critical factors that can help motivate individuals to perform better. This includes providing employees with the resources they need to be successful and creating an atmosphere where people feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. 

When employees are comfortable and feel like they are part of a team, they are more likely to be productive and innovative.

6. Face-to-Face Communication is the Best Way to Transmit Information Than Other Methods 

Communication is the most efficient and effective key to any project, and the agile manifesto emphasizes the importance of face-to-face communication. This allows for immediate feedback and enables team members to build relationships, leading to better communication.

Face-to-face communication is crucial during the early stages of a project when team members work together to define goals and requirements.

This type of communication can also help teams build trust and relationships, which is essential for collaboration. And since agile projects are often based on short cycles and frequent feedback, team members must communicate quickly and easily.

7. The Primary Measure of Progress is Working Software

This principle is based on the idea that the best way to measure progress is by looking at the results of your work. If you can see that your software is working, you know you are making progress.

Teams should focus on releasing functional products and meeting customer needs rather than meeting arbitrary deadlines or completing tasks according to a predefined plan.

8. A Constant Pace of Development Must be Maintained Throughout the Agile Processes 

The agile process must constantly be moving forward at a steady pace to be effective. It ensures that the team keeps up with continuously changing requirements and deadlines without sacrificing quality or sustainability. 

Moving forward at a steady pace means that teams should never fall too far behind or get ahead of schedule. If a team falls too far behind, they will have a hard time catching up, and if they get too far ahead, they may lose focus on the task at hand. 

9. Maintain Product Quality by Always Paying Attention to Technical Details

It's important to pay attention to the small details of the product. By paying attention to these technical details, agile teams maintain a high level of quality and avoid introducing errors or defects to the product. Technical details include writing clean code, testing thoroughly, and being mindful of potential problems. 

Attention to detail can be attained by ensuring that individuals and interactions are more important than processes and tools; working software is delivered frequently, and customer collaboration is valued over contract negotiation.

10. Always Keep Things Simple

This principle is based on the idea that simplicity leads to clarity and understanding. When you keep things simple, it's easier for people to understand what you're trying to achieve and what they can do to help.

Agile development aims to produce high-quality software promptly while minimizing waste. This means avoiding unnecessary complexity and focusing on what's important instead.

11. Promote Self-Organization in the Team in Order to Create the Best Products

Agile teams are often self-organized, meaning they can quickly make decisions without outside input. This allows them to be more responsive to change and better equipped to handle unforeseen challenges.

12. The Team Should Regularly Self-Reflect on its Performance for Continuous Improvement

Agile teams are constantly looking for ways to improve their process and get better results. Teams should regularly reflect on their performance and make changes to improve their workflow. This can include things like re-evaluating the project's priorities or adjusting how tasks are assigned to team members.


Conclusion

The 12 principles behind the Agile Manifesto can help teams be more effective and efficient while still responding to change. While there are many interpretations of what these principles mean in practice, they provide a solid foundation for agile teams. 

By following these principles, agile teams can be more productive and deliver working software that meets the needs of their users.


About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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