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12 Agile Manifesto Principles

What is the Agile Manifesto

Before looking into 12 agile manifesto principles we should know what a manifesto is: The Manifesto was written by 17 software professionals who were independent-minded and interested in finding better ways of software development. The agile manifesto depicts the 4 core values which were collaboratively agreed upon by this set of software professionals. It was made available to the public in February of 2001. 

The core values emphasized by the agile manifesto are:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation ¬†
  • Responding to change by following a plan

Why is Agile Manifesto Important to use Agile?

Agile is being widely used across different enterprises because of the major benefits it brings: –

– Quickly responding to changes
– Incremental value delivery
– High-quality product
– Faster feedback loops
– Customer centricity

Though Agile was initially designed for Software, over a period of time, other industries have found ways to implement Agile to suit their way of working. Thus, we can say Agile is suited for almost all kinds of industries. 

top 12 agile principles

Top 12 Agile Manifesto Principles

There are 12 agile manifesto principles that were drafted based on the four core values mentioned above. 

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

The focus is always on Customer Satisfaction. And it is achieved through Early and Continuous deliveries through Iterations / Sprints. Customers/ End Users being content is a key factor for an organization to be successful. 

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

Traditional procedures reduce modification during Development. After each successful delivery, agile teams learn new things from the feedback provided by customers/stakeholders. Smaller steps make it easy to add new requirements. People use the agile methodology in complicated situations where they don’t know all the specifics upfront. The benefit of adaptability implies that Agile teams can respond to shifting circumstances as they gain more knowledge.

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

The objective of an iteration is to deliver smaller increments at short and regular intervals. The length of an iteration usually varies from 1 to 3 weeks and at the end of every iteration, a small increment is delivered. This helps the customer to receive smaller deliveries at frequent intervals against the traditional approach, where the whole bulk product is delivered at the end of the project.

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

The delivery team conducts comprehensive requirement analysis by interacting with stakeholders involved, very frequently.  Frequent communication between the developers and Business Stakeholders is preferred. As it helps the Development team in understanding any changes required by the customer and helps in quickly including those changes while building smaller increments. 

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

Motivating the developers in an agile team and thus building a more self-organized team is one of the key areas of agile. Team members get motivated when they discover that their ideas are being discussed and valued. Motivated individuals should be given the opportunity to choose their work from the list of backlogs, rather than be forced to work on certain items. This helps in bringing more accountability, and value adds to the work done by the developers.

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

Face-to-face communication among the agile teams and also with the teams is the preferred way of communication throughout the project. Recent additions of Zoom, Microsoft teams, and more conferencing platforms have transformed the concept of face-to-face, but the underlying principle remains the same. Real-time communication is preferable to messaging services or email for sharing information 

7. Working software is the primary measure of progress. 

The first indicator of progress is functional software.

In the traditional way of development in software, the progress is usually measured through more documentation or whether the particular phase like requirements, design, and development is completed. In the Agile way of working, the progress is always measured in terms of working software, let it be the smallest of small increments in size.

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

Development teams should be able to deliver the incremental values consistently over all the iterations. Setting realistic achievable targets for the teams helps in Sustainable development.  Sponsors and Users must be in constant communication with the teams to discuss the backlogs and prioritize. 

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

Enhancing agility by continuously focusing on good design and technological excellence is a key factor. The sense of improving technical skills should be an ongoing activity. This learning culture helps in improving the design of the product and also helps in enhancing the overall quality of the product.

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

The skill of projecting the work not done or work still in progress is critical in an agile way of working. Frequent Backlog refinements,  Collaboration between the inter and intra teams, and Small and frequent planning sessions throughout the iteration help in mastering the art of simplicity.  

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

Self-organizing teams produce the most effective designs, specifications, and platforms.

Teams should be given the opportunity to take decisions, however, the leaders should be supportive to teams. Autonomy promotes self-organizing skills. Being Cross-functional helps the teams to organize their work better. The best architecture designs and backlogs emerge from the self-organizing teams.

12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective then tunes and adjusts
its behavior accordingly.

The agile teams work in iterations of 1 week to 3 weeks. There are regular ‚ÄėBacklog Refinement sessions to fine-tune the requirements. At the end of every iteration, there are ‚ÄėIteration Review‚Äô and ‚ÄėIteration Retrospection‚Äô events. These help teams in reviewing the work they have done during the iteration and also identify the several things which did not go so well. This retrospection helps the team to take the right actions in the subsequent iterations. Thus improving the quality and enhancing customer satisfaction.¬†

Key advantages of having an agile culture:

In addition to the advantages gained by enterprises by implementing agile, being agile also adds to the following:

  • Increase competitiveness.
  • Continuous learning
  • Faster innovation and transformation
  • Find and keep a high-performing workforce.


The Agile manifesto  principles are a set of declarative assertions that provide the greater yields of the Agile Manifesto with additional clarity. They are the views of professionals who want to keep learning and getting better in a world that is fast-changing and highly demanding. The primary goal of the SAFe agile training is to help learners grasp the topics well enough that they can confidently pass the SAFe certification exam.