Agile ManifestoIn 2001, seventeen influential leaders of Extreme Programming, Scrum, Feature-Driven Development, and other agile practices met to discuss the fundamental values and principles of agile software development. Together they agreed upon and subsequently published the Agile Manifesto.

The Agile Manifesto is not perfect. That said, we find it useful and yes, even essential, for organizations that are pursuing competency in Agile software development.

In OpenSpace Agility, we agree that “Agile practices” are those that align with the Agile Manifesto’s 4 core values and 12 supporting principles.

Traditional software development spends a lot of time and energy focused on processes and tools, producing comprehensive specification documents, negotiating detailed contracts, and strictly following plans. This approach makes it very difficult to adapt to changing business needs.

According to the Agile Manifesto, the more important values are individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change. Agile organizations use processes and tools, appropriate documentation, contracts, and plans to support the more important 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

The 12 supporting principles describe how to create a working environment that supports the Agile Manifesto.


  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.

During the 100 days, executives, directors, managers, and teams are encouraged to experiment with any and all practices that align with the Agile Manifesto. These same groups are discouraged from experimenting and/or using any practices that clearly do not align with (or are otherwise clearly in opposition to, or do not support) the Agile Manifesto.


Written by: Mark Sheffield, OSA Certified Trainer