The 12 Agile Manifesto Principles
Agile Methodology

The 12 Agile Manifesto Principles | Ethics of Agile Software Development

Struggling with Agile Project management? When you’re in the thick of an agile project, it’s easy to get swept up in the fast-paced, ever-changing environment. Does it mean agile don’t work? Nah! Agile isn’t gaining widespread popularity just like that. Obviously it has much more to offer. Your struggle simply means that you need to get back to the basics. And that brings us to the 12 Agile Manifesto Principles for Software development. Hope you are already aware of the four Agile values, the foundation of Agile methodology!

Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.

Agile Manifesto Principles

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

Highest priority + Satisfy the customer + Early and continuous delivery + Valuable software = Shorten the distance between requirements gathering and customer feedback with early delivery of ‘working’ software that is built to be put to use by an end user, solve a problem, do their job better or more efficiently, etc.

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

Welcome changing requirements + Customer’s competitive advantage = shorten the distance between conceiving and implementing an important change (rapid and flexible response to change) that makes the product more relevant with recent times, thus giving it a competitive edge.

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

Deliver working software frequently = shorten the distance between the system-as-designed and the system-as-built. Focus more on creating software rather than just planning for it, providing immediate values to the customers by delivering working features.

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

Business people and developers + work together daily + throughout the project = shorten the physical distance between a question and its answer. It helps the two sides better understand each other and leads to more productive work, throughout the project.

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

Motivated individuals + Environment and support they need + Trust them = shorten the distance between intent and action, i.e. say no to micro-management. Teams should be self-directed and self-reliant.

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

Efficient and Effective method + Information + Face-to-Face conversation = shorten the time between a question and its answer. When teams work together under the same (virtual) roof, it’s much easier to ask questions, make suggestions, and communicate. On-line meetings and instant messaging tools are available that improve communication when teams are separated.

  1. Working software is the primary measure of progress.

Working software + Measure of progress = shorten the distance between thinking we’re done and knowing we’re done. This is the primary metric an agile development team should be judged by. Ideally, done should mean that the feature is potentially shippable. A good team needs to make continuous progress on quality software — all other measures are pretty much irrelevant if you can’t get it working.

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

Sustainable development + Maintain a constant pace = shorten the distance between productive bursts. Don’t burnout, work should be done in short productive bursts. Focus on choosing the right pace for the team members.

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

Continuous attention + Technical excellence + Good design = shorten the distance between implementation and ideal. Developers shouldn’t wait to clean up redundant or confusing code. Code should get better with each iteration.

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

Simplicity + Amount of work not done = shorten the distance between comprehension and completion. Avoid doing things that don’t matter.

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

Best architectures and designs + Self-organizing teams = shorten the distance between need and action. A great agile team takes its own direction. Members don’t need to be told what needs to be done — they attack problems, clear obstacles, and find solutions. It should be a red flag if the project manager has to micromanage.

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

Regular intervals + Reflects + Adjusts = shorten the distance between introspection and adaptation. Inspect and adapt – this is a crucial principle in agile project management. If there is a better way of moving a project forward, the team should implement adjustments.

These 12 Agile Manifesto Principles are fairly simple in concept, but are profoundly deep in practice. For agile to be successful it must be both quick and simple – regular delivery of working software, excellent team communication and Software design excellence are the key. Agile software development promotes a different way of thinking or mindset about how to build things and evolve processes to deliver continuous improvement. If you are transitioning to an agile work style or are looking for ways to improve your current agile practice – these 12 Agile Manifesto Principles are a set of guiding concepts.

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