The Values and Principles of Agile 2


We value all of these things, and strive to balance or combine them for each situation.

  1. Thoughtfulness and prescription.

Thoughtfulness means considering context, and taking action only after one has attempted to understand the situation. Prescription means following predefined steps, as in a framework, unchanged and not tailored to the situation, without necessarily understanding or being thoughtful about those steps or what they are for.

  1. Outcomes and outputs.

Outcomes mean the direct and indirect end results that occur after one has taken action. Outputs refer to what is directly produced by an action: for example, working software is the output of a programming task. Outcomes require outputs, and both matter; but outcomes are what matter most.

  1. Individuals and teams.

Individuals and their differences are important, and should never be forgotten: people are not the team that they belong to. Teams are important, and team spirit is important, and making agreements and compromises for the benefit of one’s team is important. But team interests and individual interests should be in balance: one is not more important than the other in an absolute sense.

  1. Business understanding and technical understanding.

Technology personnel need to take an interest in business issues, and business personnel need to take an interest in technology issues. Neither should say, “I don’t need to know that.” Today, a holistic understanding of technology and business is necessary.

  1. Individual empowerment and good leadership.

Individuals need to have agency: they need to be allowed to decide how to perform their own work, and they need to be given the opportunity to innovate and express new ideas and take chances to try those ideas. By so doing, they exercise personal leadership. Leaders of others need to empower those they lead, but they also need to assess how much freedom those can handle, and position them for growth.

  1. Adaptability and planning.

Adaptability means expecting that plans need to change, and being prepared to revise plans. Planning is important because plans set direction for action, and they represent thought about what the best direction is.

We feel that these values are a better foundation for true agility.

We are Agile 2! A second iteration of Agile that understands and seeks to address today’s challenges….


1. Planning, Transition, and Transformation

  1. Principle: Any initiative requires both a vision or goal, and a flexible, steerable, outcome-oriented plan.
  2. Principle: Any significant transformation is mostly a learning journey – not merely a process change.
  3. Principle: Change must come from the top.
  4. Principle: Product development is mostly a learning journey – not merely an “implementation.”

2. Product, Portfolio, and Stakeholders

  1. Principle: Obtain feedback from the market and stakeholders continuously.
  2. Principle: The only proof of value is a business outcome.
  3. Principle: Work iteratively in small batches.
  4. Principle: Product design must be integrated with product implementation.
  5. Principle: Create documentation to share and deepen understanding.
  6. Principle: Those offering products and services should feel accountable to their customers for the impact of defects.

3. Data

  1. Principle: Data has strategic value.
  2. Principle: An organization’s information model is strategic.
  3. Principle: Carefully gather and analyze data for product validation.

4. Frameworks and Methodologies

  1. Principle: Fit an Agile framework to your work, your culture, and your circumstances.
  2. Principle: Organizations need an “inception framework” tailored to their needs.

5. Technical Dimension and Technical Fluency

  1. Principle: Technical agility and business agility are inseparable: one cannot understand one without also understanding the other.
  2. Principle: Business leaders must understand how products and services are built and delivered.
  3. Principle: Technology delivery leadership must understand technology delivery.
  4. Principle: Technology delivery leadership and teams need to understand the business

6. Individuality v. Team

  1. Principle: The whole team solves the whole problem.
  2. Principle: Foster diversity of communication and diversity of working style.
  3. Principle: Individuals matter just as the team matters.
  4. Principle: Both specialists and generalists are valuable.
  5. Principle: Different Agile certifications have unequal value and require scrutiny.

7. Team v. Organization

  1. Principle: Favor mostly-autonomous end-to-end delivery streams whose teams have authority to act.
  2. Principle: Foster collaboration between teams through shared objectives.
  3. Principle: Favor long-lived teams, and turn their expertise into competitive advantage.

8. Continuous Improvement

  1. Principle: Place limits on things that cause drag.
  2. Principle: Integrate early and often.
  3. Principle: From time to time, reflect, and then enact change.
  4. Principle: Don’t fully commit capacity.

9. Focus

  1. Principle: Respect cognitive flow.
  2. Principle: Make it easy for people to engage in uninterrupted, focused work.
  3. Principle: Foster deep exchanges.

10. Leadership

  1. Principle: The most impactful success factor is the leadership paradigm that the organization exhibits and incentivizes.
  2. Principle: Provide leadership who can both empower individuals and teams, and set direction.
  3. Principle: Leadership models scale.
  4. Principle: Organizational models for structure and leadership should evolve.
  5. Principle: Good leaders are open.
  6. Principle: A team often needs more than one leader, each of a different kind.
  7. Principle: Self organization and autonomy are aspirations, and should be given according to capability.
  8. Principle: Validate ideas through small contained experiments.
  9. Principle: Professional development of individuals is essential.