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12 Agile Principles Every Professional Must Know

19th Feb, 2024
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    12 Agile Principles Every Professional Must Know

    Let us begin with a query, why do we need a different method for managing projects in the first place? The solution is straightforward: various project types call for various methodologies. We constantly adapt how we act in our daily lives to the circumstances, frequently in minor and subtle ways. We don't address every problem we encounter in the same way, as a robot; rather, we modify our strategies to be most efficient in each circumstance. The same idea also applies to projects, some of which call for an agile approach, particularly knowledge work initiatives in a dynamic, complex context. This is simplified by the 12 Agile principles, and we will discuss more about these principles in this article. 

    People discovered that when knowledge work ventures expanded, the communication and teamwork required rendered this type of job, less defined and more uncertain than industrial work. Frustration—and project failures—rose when people attempted to apply industrial work procedures to knowledge work projects. Agile methodologies were created as a solution to this issue. 

    Agile forerunners gathered the greatest information work methodologies and modified them for use on projects, testing to see what worked best. Since its inception in the software development industry, this new approach has been used in numerous knowledge work initiatives. Those who are interested in improving their agile methodologies skills can get certified agile course for beginners

    What are Agile Principles?

    The Agile Manifesto

    You must have a deep understanding of the Agile Manifesto, which is the most essential statement of agile values and agile principles. In February 2001, a gathering of software and methodology professionals who were at the forefront of developing agile approaches produced the Agile Manifesto. The people in attendance were: 

    1. Kent Beck 
    2. James Grenning 
    3. Robert C. Martín 
    4. Mike Beedle 
    5. Jim Highsmith 
    6. Steve Mellor 
    7. Arie van Bennekum 
    8. Andrew Hunt 
    9. Ken Schwaber 
    10. Alistair Cockburn 
    11. Ron Jeffries 
    12. Jeff Sutherland 
    13. Ward Cunningham 
    14. Jon Kern 
    15. Dave Thomas 
    16. Martín Fowler 
    17. Brian Marick 

    Agile Values 

    Source - 

    Agile Values

    12 Agile Principles with Examples 

    Principle 1: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software h3 

    Customer satisfaction is our primary focus, and we achieve this through the timely and consistent delivery of high-quality software. There are three main components to this principle. Customer satisfaction comes first. Our focus should be on the client; if we generate perfect plans and paperwork but, please the project management office (PMO) or the quality assurance (QA) group, we have failed. Delivery that is timely and ongoing is the second point. The project and development team must be structured to offer value regularly and early. 

    It is preferable to make a mistake early on and have it fixed than to find the problem much later when a lot more has been added on top of a poor foundation. The last thing to note is that the things we give our valuable software, are not finished work products, WBS items, paperwork, or plans. Keep your eyes on the end goal, please. 

    Agile Principles

    Source - 

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

    Even late in the development process, welcome changing requirements. Agile methodologies harness change for the benefit of the customer's competitiveness. For instance, changes might be helpful for a project if they enable us to deliver a high-priority, late-breaking product. Changes, however, are frequently seen negatively in non-agile projects; they may be referred to as "scope creep" or held responsible for the project straying from the original plan. Only the most urgent changes can be accepted since change control procedures are so stringent on many non-agile projects. On such projects, logging and tracking change requests take up a significant amount of time and effort. 

    Agile acknowledges that changes will happen since this form of strict change management is problematic for any project in a highly variable environment, such as software development. The XP technique encourages us to "embrace change." Agile approaches use a lightweight, high-visibility approach, such as regularly updating and prioritizing changes in the backlog of work to be done. Agile projects are kept as adaptable and flexible as feasible by using strategies for handling changes that are well-known and visible. By accepting the inevitable changes that will occur and putting in place a methodical strategy to cope with them 

    Principle 3: Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for a shorter timescale

    Deliver working software regularly, preferably in shorter time frames of a few weeks to a few months. Despite our best efforts and knowledge of the value of early feedback, it is a human tendency to wait until our work is finished before sharing it. To prevent traveling the wrong path, it is preferable to receive criticism frequently and early. The significance of releasing work into a test environment and receiving feedback is emphasized by this principle. Software developers utilize continuous integration solutions to provide feedback about any code they have written that disrupts the build because frequent testing and feedback are so crucial. 

    Agile teams require feedback on the work they have produced so far to decide whether they can move on or, of course, if a change is required. Delivering quickly also has the advantage of keeping the product owner involved and fostering ongoing project discussion. We will regularly have results to show the consumer and the opportunity try to seek feedback if we make frequent deliveries. These demos frequently reveal new requirements or shifting corporate goals, both of which serve as useful planning inputs. 

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

    Throughout the project, businesspeople and developers must collaborate every day. One illustration of how the business representatives and developers collaborate throughout the project is the numerous demos stated above. One of the hardest ideas to put into practice is daily face-to-face client interaction, but it’s well worth pursuing. Face-to-face interactions are more effective at communicating information than written papers, emails, and even phone calls. We can learn more about the business by working with business representatives daily than we could ever learn via a series of requirements-gathering meetings. 

    As a result, we are more competent at offering solutions and substitutes in response to company needs. The business representatives also discover which aspects are inexpensive and which are expensive or sluggish to create. In response, they can start to modify their requests. Agile techniques strive to get the business representatives and the development team to work together regularly in some fashion, possibly every two days or whatever form of frequent involvement will work when daily contacts between the two groups are not possible. 

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

    Build ventures around motivated people. Trust them to complete the task and provide them with the environment and assistance they require. Having intelligent and driven team members is likely to make a significant difference in the success and efficiency of our project. Even while we might not always be able to put together our ideal team, we can encourage and support the members we do have. Agile development methodologies encourage empowered teams because the development team is such a crucial component. 

    When given the freedom to arrange and plan their job, people perform better. The team should be freed from the micromanagement of checking off tasks on a Gantt chart, according to agile approaches. Craftsmanship, peer cooperation, and teamwork are prioritized instead since they increase production. Projects involving knowledge work need team members with specialized knowledge. When given the freedom to control many project-related daily decisions and local planning processes, such individuals produce their finest work. 

    Principle 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 is the most effective and efficient way to share information with a development team. Written records are excellent for keeping a permanent record of actions and judgments, but their creation is time-consuming and expensive. Face-to-face communication, in contrast, enables us to swiftly communicate a lot of information in a fuller manner including body language and emotions. When speaking face-to-face, queries can be answered right away rather than being "parked" in anticipation of a later clarification or follow-up explanation. 

    Written materials must begin with a lower assumption to avoid confusing their larger audience. Agile teams strive to adhere to this suggestion for face-to-face interactions wherever possible, but it obviously cannot be extended to all project communications. This is one illustration of how agile approaches must be scaled or modified for every project. As teams get bigger, it gets more difficult to communicate face-to-face, thus we need to add the necessary level) of written material. 

    Principle 7: Working software is the primary measure of progress. 

    Progress is mostly measured by workable software. We change our focus from documentation and design to working results by choosing "working software" (or "functioning systems") as our main metric of progress. In agile, we evaluate our progress in light of the newly developed product or service we are developing. As opposed to "Is the design complete?," questions like "How much of the solution is done and accepted?" are preferable because we want to concentrate on usability and usefulness rather than conceptual development. 

    The old sayings "What gets measured gets done" and "You get what you measure" are applicable in this situation because measurement encourages performance. action. A feature is not deemed complete if it cannot be measured, tested, or, in other words, if it "doesn't operate." Instead of labeling items as "finished development" when they haven't yet been acknowledged as "done," this focus on a usable product helps to ensure that we get features approved by the customer. Progress is defined here as "functioning systems," which gives the project a results-driven perspective. There will be no externa! recognition for interim deliverables or incomplete tasks. Since a product that adds value to the company's operations is the project's main objective, we wish to concentrate on that instead. 

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

    Sustainable development is promoted through agile methodologies. It should be possible for the sponsors, developers, and users to continue at the same pace indefinitely. In the long run, agile methodologies aim to maximize value. Before agile, several rapid application development (RAD) methods encouraged—or at the very least accepted—long, intensive prototyping sessions before demos. People start to burn out and start making mistakes when using the RAD technique, which involves working in teams for lengthy days over a prolonged period. 

    This is not a long-term strategy. Agile techniques favor a sustainable pace that enables team members to sustain a work-life balance rather than lengthy, intense development periods. An organization benefits from a sustainable pace in addition to the team. Long workdays cause employees to resign, which costs the company talent and subject expertise. It takes time and money to recruit and onboard new team members. On the other hand, a team that is working at a speed that can be sustained indefinitely is happier and more effective. More so than overworked teams, happy teams get along with corporate representatives better. 

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

    We need to keep the design simple, effective, and flexible even if we want the development team to work hard and produce a lot of value. The development team can simply comprehend and adapt the design thanks to excellent technical execution and thoughtful design. An agile team must strike a balance between delivering high-value features and paying constant attention to the solutions' design. This facilitates a smoother project and hastens the team's advancement. 

    In the domain of software, an organization loses its ability to adapt to new needs as soon as the code base gets tangled. In other words, it loses its agility. So, we must allow adequate time for refactoring to be done by the development team. Refactoring is the process of cleaning up, simplifying, and housekeeping code to make it more stable and long-lasting. 

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

    The features that we don't construct are the most reliable because there is nothing that could go wrong with them. Additionally, up to 60% of features created in the software industry are never or infrequently used. Agile approaches place a strong emphasis on simplicity because so many features that are created are never actually used and because complex systems have a higher potential for reliability issues. This entails reducing our requirements to just their core components. 

    Complex projects require more time to complete, are subject to risk across a wider time horizon, have more potential failure points, and are more likely to experience cost overruns. Therefore, agile approaches urge that the "simplest thing that may work" be constructed first. This strategy simply says, "Let's get the basic version created first. It is not intended to prevent future extension and refinement of the product." In addition to reducing risk, this strategy also fosters more sponsor confidence. 

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

    Depending on how you read this principle, it might sound strange. In essence, it contends that we must allow individuals to self-organize to bring out their finest qualities. People like self-organization because it allows them to select a strategy that fits their methods, their relationships, and their environment the best. They will fully comprehend the strategy and be in favor of it because they contributed to its development. They will therefore generate better work as a result. The fact that a self-organizing project team's members are most familiar with the project's technical specifics is another argument in favor of this theory. 

    They can therefore more easily identify problems with implementation and areas for improvement. Agile techniques, therefore, make the most of the team's ability to diagnose and enhance the project's architectures, requirements, and designs rather than attempting to teach external parties about the project's dynamic structure. After all, the team members are the most knowledgeable and invested in the project. 

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

    In my opinion, gathering lessons gained after a project has been completed is too little, too late. Instead, we must compile the lessons we've learned while they are still relevant and useful. This means that we must collect them throughout the project and, more significantly, ensure that we apply what we've learned to modify how the remaining portions of the project are completed. Agile project management techniques frequently look back, or "retrospective," to assess how things are going and find areas for improvement. These retrospectives are often conducted after each iteration to give the team regular chances to evaluate their workflow. 

    We don't forget about concerns and problems because we conduct retrospectives so frequently. In contrast, a single lesson learned review at the end of a project requires team members to reflect on the previous year or more to remember what went well and where they encountered problems. The organization won't fully benefit from the lessons until another project with a similar business or technical domain or team dynamics comes along, which is another drawback of merely collecting lessons learned at the end of a project. At that moment, it is simple to write off the lessons from a previous project as not being relevant to the current circumstance. 

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    Agile Core Values

    Although the things on the right have value, we place a higher value on the items on the left. Although the Agile Manifesto is brief and has a straightforward structure, there is a lot of useful information in these four values. It's crucial to comprehend the concepts presented in these values not only for the exam but also to apply an agile approach to any project involving knowledge work. 

    Intention, concentration, and effort are addressed by the format of the four values, A over B ("Individuals and interactions over procedures and tools"). There are more options here than just saying, "Do A instead of B." Instead, it states that both A and B will be included in our initiatives, but that we should put more effort into them. 

    Agile value 1: Individuals and interactions Over Processes and Tools 

    The takeaway from this is that while procedures and tools will probably be required for our initiatives, we should aim to direct the team's attention toward the individuals and interpersonal interactions involved. This is true because people, not tools, carry out projects, and people, not processes, solve problems. Similar to this, people negotiate the concept of a successfully "done" project, discuss the project's scope, and accept projects. 

    Early attention to the growth of the project's members and a focus on positive and fruitful interactions help a project to have a successful start. This is not to say that tools and processes cannot be used to help a project be completed successfully. They are unquestionably valuable assets. However, since projects are ultimately about people, we must spend the majority of our time in this environment, which may be less convenient, messier, and unpredictably unexpected. 

    Agile Value 2: Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation

    Working systems over comprehensive documentation, where "system" stands for the good or service the project is creating. This value serves as a reminder to concentrate more on the goal or business value we're aiming to achieve than on the associated paperwork. (Many forms of documentation are necessary for some highly regulated industries, such as the manufacturing of medical equipment; this is only a necessary component of the labor. This value describes the type of documentation that isn't required to complete the task correctly.) Therefore, even though we prioritize product development over documentation, it doesn't imply that we ignore the opposite value. 

    The primary objective of software projects is typically to produce valuable, high-quality software, but they frequently become entangled in interim deliverables like lengthy documentation that doesn’t assist the end objective of producing software that works. Without documentation, the software is undoubtedly problematic and difficult to support and maintain. Comprehensive documentation, however, is useless in the majority of firms without software. 

    Agile value 3: Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation

    This value serves as a reminder to be adaptable and cooperative rather than rigid and demanding. It is comparable to the distinction between "doing the right thing" and "being right." If the customer's preferences or priorities change, we could still construct the product exactly as planned, but it would be preferable to be adaptable and work toward the new goal rather than the one that was first set. Establishing an upfront, consistent picture of what should be built is notoriously tough. The changing nature of knowledge work products—particularly software systems—results in this problem since the software is invisible and hard to reference, businesses seldom create identical systems twice, and business and technological needs change quickly. 

    We should accept that things will change from the outset and work with the client to define a common definition of "done" throughout the project rather than subjecting the client to a change management process that is more of a change suppression approach. This shifts the focus from non-value-adding activities (like arguing about scope) to productive output, but it necessitates a more trusting relationship and flexible contract types than we typically see on projects. alters quickly. 

    Agile value 4: Responding to Change Over Following a Plan

    In knowledge work initiatives, we are aware that our original plans are unsustainable because they are built on a lack of understanding of the necessary resources. We want to focus more of our attention and energy on responding to the changes that will occur rather than trying to bring the project back into line with our initial plan. This does not imply that we should stop planning and only respond to changes, though. We must accept that while planning is still necessary, our initial plans must be revised as the project develops because they were created when we knew the least about them (at the beginning). 

    Particularly true for software projects, where high rates of change are typical, the significance of adapting to change over following a plan is paramount. Once more, we need to accept that things will change instead of trying to stifle them and spending a lot of time monitoring and administering a static strategy. Backlogs and task boards, which are used in agile projects, are visible queues of work and plans. By changing plans and addressing their effects, this value seeks to increase the pool of people who can easily participate in the planning process. 

    When Do You Need Agile Principles?

    Twelve guiding agile principles and a declaration of four values are all included in the Agile Manifesto. 

    The Agile Manifesto isn't a set of guidelines that directs us to choose one course of action over another. It helps us think about initiatives from a value-based viewpoint, which makes it both more subtle and more effective. Yes, for our initiatives we will require processes, tools, documentation, and plans. But when we work with these resources, we must keep in mind that our attention must be on the team members, the product we are creating, cooperation, and adaptability. 

    The ability to complete projects while concentrating on the qualities on the left side of these value statements rather than those on the right is known as agility. In light of this, let us take a closer look at these statements. Also, for better understanding, you can opt for KnowledgeHut agile course. 

    Benefits of Agile Principles

    Through a flexible, reactive framework, businesses can improve results by streamlining their product-development cycles with the help of the 12 agile principles. Customers ought to get the finished product sooner and offer insightful criticism to guide further releases. Here are some of the main justifications and advantages of Agile and why leading businesses choose to use it to manage their projects using agile principles: 

    • Increased visibility 
    • Increased adaptability (agility) 
    • Increased alignment 
    • Increased product quality 
    • Increased business value 
    • Increased customer satisfaction 
    • Decreased risk 


    A useful tool for managers, team members, and clients is the Agile framework. The agile manifesto including 4 values and 12 principles has a wide range of advantages, from raising product quality to promoting team members' professional growth. It assists teams in avoiding traps like out-of-control expenses and scope creep. Anyone who would like to improve their knowledge of Agile manifesto can take up KnowledgeHut Agile course for beginners

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)  

    1. What are the 5 principles of Agile methods?

    Embrace user input, facilitate live interaction with actionable software for better visualization and feedback, be open to challenges and changes, and prioritize quality over quantity when communicating. 

    2. What is the difference between Agile and Scrum? 

    The primary distinction between Agile and Scrum is that Scrum is a particular Agile framework that is employed to facilitate a project, whereas Agile is a project management philosophy that makes use of a fundamental set of values or principles. 

    3. What are the 3 Agile principles? 

    The three principles of agile tools are transparency, iteration, and empowerment. You may quickly become lost in the agile methods jungle because it is so large. Some techniques, including Scrum, Design Thinking, and OKR, are more popular and utilized more frequently. 


    Geethalakshmi Radhakrishnan


    Dr. Geethalakshmi, a CSP-SM is a diversified leader with 12 years of rich experience who is known for maintaining a track record of successfully improving the growth of the companies in the Lifesciences and Pharmaceutical industry. Specialized in Client management, Product Management, Business Development, Project Management, and stakeholder management.

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