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What Is Most Important According to the Agile Manifesto?

The Agile Manifesto is based on 4 pillars and 12 key principles. According to the Agile Manifesto, these are the most important aspects of planning and executing a project. 

The 4 pillars are:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Any processes or tools should be flexible enough to adapt to the needs, skills, and priorities of team members and stakeholders. Individual needs should have priority over following processes. 
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation. The emphasis is on creating enough documentation to support working deliverables (software) but not so much documentation that its creation delays the project timeline. 
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation. Customers should be considered partners. Collaboration and communication should be ongoing throughout the life of the project.  
  4. Responding to change over following a plan. The project team should be willing and able to adapt to changing customer expectations and requests throughout the project, rather than sticking to a fixed scope. 

The 12 principles are:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. Customers should receive deliverables or iterations across regular intervals, rather than not receiving anything until final product delivery. 
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. The ability to adapt to last-minute changes and quickly work in change requests at any time is critical, with minimal delay. 
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. Agile embraces short project timelines with fast turnaround of workable products. 
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Regular communication and interaction of all stakeholders is vital to project success. 
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. Your focus should be on motivating the project team and supporting them to do their jobs. 
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Co-locate teams and stakeholders whenever possible. Opt for video conferencing over phone or email.  
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress. The emphasis is on completed, working deliverables, not hours spent, time elapsed, or supplementary deliverables such as documentation. 
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Agile projects should have a consistent pace for each iterative cycle or sprint. This should eliminate the need for overtime or crashing schedules while promoting frequent output of workable products. 
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. An agile focus should be on improving the product and achieving advancements consistently over time. 
  10. Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential. The goal is to get just enough done to complete the requested project. Any additional documentation, steps, processes, or work that does not add value to the outputs should be avoided or eliminated. 
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. A fundamental belief of Agile is that motivated, autonomous, and skilled teams will deliver the best results and products. 
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. The team’s focus should be on continually advancing their skills and processes so they can continually grow and improve. 
Further Reading
blog post

The 4 Pillars of Agile Marketing

blog post

Agile Marketing: Buzzword or Top Strategy for Fast-Paced Marketing Teams?

article

Manifesto for Agile Software Development