What are the agile values and principles?

by Daniel J. Power
and Ciara Heavin

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development was published in 2001. Seventeen leaders in the field of software development noted "We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

** Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

** Working software over comprehensive documentation

** Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

** Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. Visit

An agile principle is a fundamental proposition that supports agile behavior and reasoning. The Agile Alliance ( identifies 12 principles and guiding practices that support teams in implementing and executing with agility. The principles are based on the Agile Manifesto. Agile practitioners should try to understand and then internalize the following principles.

1) Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

2) Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

3) Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

4) Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

5) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

6) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

7) Working software is the primary measure of progress.

8) Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

9) Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

10) Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.

11) The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

12) At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. identifies 10 key principles of agile software development. There is significant overlap with the 12 Agile Alliance principles. The key principles are: 1) Active user involvement is imperative; 2) The team must be empowered to make decisions; 3) Requirements evolve but the timescale is fixed; 4) Capture requirements at a high level; 5) Develop small, incremental releases and iterate; 6) Focus on frequent delivery of products; 7) Complete each feature before moving on to the next; 8) Apply the 80/20 rule; 9) Testing is integrated throughout the project lifecycle – test early and often; 10) A collaborative and cooperative approach between all stakeholders is essential.

The above principles should guide our thinking and our behavior.


Bhowmick, A., "The 80/20 Rule in User Experience," Design at IBM, July 7, 2017 at URL

"12 Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto," Agile Alliance, 2009 at URL

Note: The Manifesto for Agile Software Development was discussed, written and crafted by 17 developers during an outing on Feb. 11-13, 2001, at The Lodge at Snowbird ski resort in Utah.

Last update: 2020-04-08 11:53
Author: Daniel Power

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