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Patterns in the Agile Principles

August 29, 2022

Learning and remembering the Agile Values is not too difficult.  I think the relationships between the values helps lock them in.  I found that sharing them often with folks and writing them (or drawing them) on a whiteboard helps too.  See if you can recognize and remember them using these drawings:

Agile Values Drawings

The 12 Agile Principles seemed to be a much more difficult list of things to remember. One factor that made it difficult for me is that I didn’t see any type of pattern in the list. I decided to print out the principles and cut them out and see if any patterns would emerge.

Agile Principles


Value Delivery


The first pattern that I saw was Principles 1, 3, & 7 were about the importance of delivering valuable software often. I also thought about how this directly correlates to the Agile Value of Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation. The category that seemed to fit was Value Delivery.





The second pattern that I saw was the relationship between Principles 2 & 12 as they focused on the need to be able to change and adapt. This resonated with the Agile Values of Responding to Change over Following a Plan….and Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation. As I thought about Principle 9…the goal of that principle is to be able to change and adapt. The category that emerged for these was Adaptation.





The next grouping of principles came from Agile Principles 4 & 6. These principles aligned with the Agile Values of Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools…and also touched on the customer collaboration element too. I saw a correlation with Principle 11  as it is also focused on the importance of the team Collaboration, which ended up being the category for these 3.





I’m left with 3 principles…. really important principles…but I didn’t see an immediate correlation between these 3. As I thought about them and read them over as a group, and idea started to form about who is most likely to help bring about Principles 5 & 8 in most organizations. Leaders!  When I saw if from this perspective, I thought about how the shift from quantity to quality (Principle 10) is also one that requires leadership influence. The category for these 3 emerged as Leadership.


If you find this useful you can download a copy of the Agile Principles Sorted with the sweet retro stylings of the Agile Manifesto in the background on the Soul of Scrum Resources page in the Downloads section.


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