The 12 Agile Manifesto principles

The business transformation we are experiencing today originates from the Agile Manifesto principles. These Agile methodologies are unique approaches to product development. They align with the values ​​and principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. First beginning in 2001, the Agile Manifesto was coined by a group of professionals. These individuals used several tools in the tech sphere with similar objectives.


What is the Agile Manifesto?

The Agile Manifesto is a document signed by 17 software developers. It revolutionizes projects and is ideal for professionals seeking an alternative software development process. Despite using different approaches and methods, this solution shares the same fundamentals and needs. With the manifesto, a business can stop worrying about planning and documenting cycles. Instead, they can now focus on making customers happy.


What’s more, the impacts of the Manifesto and its proposed method of agile development can be seen in companies across a wide range of sectors. This is especially true when including Objectives and Key Results (OKR), a framework for goal-setting and tracking. You can use an OKR framework template to inform and focus your processes by setting up straightforward, inspirational goals.


The four values of the Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto features four fundamental values and 12 supporting principles. These encapsulate its approach to software development. Each Agile methodology applies the four values in different ways. However, all of them exist to guide the development and delivery of high-quality, fully-functional software.

1 – Individuals and interactions over processes and tools: software development is a human activity. Therefore, the quality of interactions between people can solve chronic communication problems. Processes and tools are important, but they should always be simple and useful.

2 – Working software over comprehensive documentation: the biggest indicator that your team has actually built something worthwhile is functional software. Customers want results, and that can only happen with working software. Documentation is also important, but only to the extent that it adds value to your process.

3 – Customer collaboration over contract negotiation: we must work together with clients, rather than “against” them. Therefore you should focus on collaboration, joint decision-making, and teamwork.

4 –Responding to change over following a plan: developing software and products is an environment of high uncertainty. Therefore, we cannot dive into huge plans full of assumptions. Instead, we should learn from new information and feedback, and adapt our plan accordingly at all times.


The 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto

Based on 12 principles, the Agile Manifesto has become a guide that informs the choice of actions, methods, and tools in agile project teams. These principles that help to maximize results are:

    • Customer satisfaction through early and continuous software delivery;
    • Accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process;
    • Frequent delivery of working software;
    • Collaboration between the business stakeholders and developers throughout the project;
    • Support, trust, and motivate the people involved;
    • Enable face-to-face interactions;
    • Working software is the primary measure of progress;
    • Agile processes to support a consistent development pace;
    • Attention to technical detail and design enhances agility;
    • Simplicity;
    • Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designs;
    • Regular reflections on how to become more effective.

The intention of these principles is to align development with business needs. Agile projects focus on the customer and encourage their guidance and participation. As a result, the Manifesto has grown into an overarching view of software development.


The importance of the Agile Manifesto

At first, the Manifesto was a management tool for the development of agile software. It solely and exclusively focused on the customer’s opinion, in order to deliver positive user experiences. Therefore, the agile methodology aims to deliver excellent products to customers, operating in an environment that does more than name-check “people as our most important asset”. It genuinely considers customers to be more important than anything else.


The Agile Manifesto disrupts the idea that building software should follow just one recipe. Its principles have been adopted on a large scale and at different levels within countless businesses and projects. Thanks to the Manifesto’s efficiency, developers can now generate new ramifications for other areas of technology.


Differences between Traditional and Agile Methods

The Agile Methodology is more practical, while the traditional one plans each phase of a project in advance. Traditionally, a leader is responsible for the entire project and delegates tasks to other parts of the team.


In the Traditional method, only one delivery is carried out once the project is 100% ready. The Agile Methodology, meanwhile, advocates for partial and continuous deliveries, until the project is delivered in full. Both approaches vary when it comes to flexibility too. The Traditional method offers next to no flexibility, while the Agile method is more open to changes.


Another difference between both methods is the budget, since as we mentioned earlier, the Agile method follows “working software over comprehensive documentation”, while the Traditional method documents planning and defines each development stage.


Agile encompasses several methods which stem from its core principles and values. Aligned with the Agile Manifesto principles, it acts as a guide so that software developers know how to choose the best methods or tools for their projects.