What is the Agile Manifesto?

The Agile Manifesto is a document written up by a group of 17 developers called the Agile Alliance. It details four key values and 12 principles that software developers should adhere to for their work. It’s important to note that the Agile Manifesto doesn’t prescribe a specific methodology or framework. Instead, it proposes a mindset that software developers should adopt.

Teams were already using agile approaches to development, but the Agile Manifesto was the first documentation of them.

The alliance originally produced the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development” in a ski lodge in February 2001. They proposed that the Agile approach was a more efficient alternative to the traditional way of building software. That traditional approach generally involved developers gathering all the needs of their users. They would then build and release all the software in one go.

The four values and 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto helps teams to achieve the best frame of mind for developing software products. The actual processes and tools used to follow those values are largely determined by each individual developer.

For the Agile Alliance and their Agile Manifesto, the key is to achieve an agile mindset.

The four values of the Agile Manifesto

These Agile Manifesto values are the four key tenets of the agile frame of mind.

These values govern the approach that software developers should consider.

Here are the four Agile Manifesto values:

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

For a detailed breakdown of each if the four agile values, click here.

The 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto

As well as the four Agile Manifesto values, there are 12 principles you need to be aware of. These principles go into a little more detail and expand upon the four values.

Here are the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto, in order:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

For a detailed breakdown of each of the 12 agile principles, click here

Everything you need to know about the Agile Manifesto

  • A group of 17 software developers called he Agile Alliance produced the Agile Manifesto in 2001.
  • The manifesto consists of four key values and 12 principles.
  • The Agile Manifesto helps software teams adopt the right mindset in order to produce the best quality software.