While Agile is often associated with specific practices and frameworks, its true power lies in the Mindset and values that underpin these methodologies. 

Agile Methodology Values

What are Agile Methodology Values?

The Agile Manifesto values are overarching beliefs or philosophies that guide the Agile approach. The highest-level guiding philosophies inform how work should be done under Agile.

What are the 4 Core Values of the Agile Manifesto?

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

These values emphasize the importance of people, communication, and adaptability in software development and project management.

What are the 5 Core Values of Scrum?

The five core values of Scrum are:

  1. Commitment, Courage
  2. Focus
  3. Openness
  4. Respect

These values emphasize the importance of teamwork, self-management, and accountability in product development and project management.

What are the 5 Core Values of Extreme Programming (XP)?

XP is an Agile methodology with five core values:

  1. Communication
  2. Simplicity
  3. Feedback
  4. Courage
  5. Respect

XP values highlight the importance of constant communication, simplicity in design, and learning from feedback in software development and project management.

What are the Values of Lean Software Development?

Lean Software Development, based on Lean manufacturing principles, has seven core principles, which can also be seen as values:

  1. Eliminate waste
  2. Amplify learning
  3. Decide as late as possible
  4. Deliver as fast as possible
  5. Empower the team
  6. Build integrity in
  7. See the whole

Lean values emphasize the importance of efficiency, continuous learning, and holistic thinking in product development and project management.

What are the 4 Core Kanban Values?

Kanban is an Agile methodology with four core values:

  1. Transparency
  2. Balance
  3. Collaboration
  4. Customer Focus

Kanban values emphasize the importance of visibility, balanced workload, teamwork, and customer satisfaction in software development and project management.

What are the 4 Core SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) Values?

SAFe, or the Scaled Agile Framework, is another Agile methodology that emphasizes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across large enterprises. Its four core values are:

  1. Alignment
  2. Transparency
  3. Respect for People
  4. Relentless Improvement

These values guide organizations in scaling Agile practices while focusing on delivering value (source).

LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum) Values

LeSS, or Large-Scale Scrum, shares many values with Scrum but also has its own set of values for scaling, such as Customer-centricity, Empirical process control, and Systems thinking.

LeSS helps organizations scale Scrum while strongly focusing on Agile values (source).

What are the 4 Core Crystal Values

“Crystal methodologies, developed by Alistair Cockburn, emphasize the values of

  1. Communication
  2. Simplicity
  3. Feedback
  4. Reflection

These values guide small teams in delivering high-quality software while maintaining a human-centric approach. You can find more information about Crystal values in Alyster Cockburn’s book, ‘Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams’ (source).”

Each methodology has unique values, but common themes like collaboration, communication, and continuous improvement exist. These shared values highlight the fundamental beliefs underpinning Agile methodologies and guide teams in pursuing excellence in software development, product development, and project management.

Unifying the Values Across Agile Methodologies

Taking a holistic perspective on the values shared across various Agile methodologies, we can demonstrate that Agile’s core beliefs are “methodology agnostic.”. 

People and Collaboration

Across several Agile and Lean methodologies, a consistent focus on people and collaboration is evident. For example, the Agile Manifesto (source) values “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” Similarly, Scrum values (source) include “commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect,” all of which center around people and teamwork. The XP values (source) of “communication, simplicity, feedback, and courage” further emphasize the significance of collaboration and effective communication.

Customer Focus

Many Agile and Lean methodologies value a strong emphasis on customer focus. The Agile Manifesto (source) includes the value of “Customer collaboration over contract negotiation,” demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction. The Kanban value of “customer focus” (source) similarly emphasizes the importance of understanding and meeting customer needs.


Adaptability is a key value shared by many Agile and Lean methodologies. The Agile Manifesto (source) values “Responding to change over following a plan,” highlighting the importance of flexibility in changing circumstances. The XP value of “embracing change” (source) further reinforces this theme.

Transparency and Openness

Transparency and openness are also widely recognized values across Agile and Lean methodologies. The Scrum framework, for example, emphasizes the importance of transparency in its values (source). Kanban’s Value of “transparency” (source) creates an open, transparent environment.

Fostering Agile and Lean Values in Your Organization

Leadership’s Role in Embracing Values

Leadership plays a crucial role in modeling and promoting Agile and Lean values within an organization. By demonstrating a commitment to these values, leaders set the tone for the entire organization and create an environment that supports the Agile transformation. For example, leaders can embrace the SAFe Value of “Respect for People and Culture” by promoting psychological safety, trust, and collaboration within teams SAFe. Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum, emphasizes the importance of servant leadership in Scrum, which focuses on empowering teams and removing impediments Scrum Guide.

Training and Continuous Learning

Training and educational opportunities for employees to learn about Agile and Lean values, principles, and practices are essential. Continuous learning is a cornerstone of the Agile Mindset, as emphasized in the Agile Manifesto’s Principle of “Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design” Agile Manifesto. In the book “Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit,” Mary and Tom Poppendieck stress the importance of investing in learning and skill development for teams Poppendieck’s Book.

Creating an Environment That Supports Agile Values

Organizational policies, processes, and structures should align with Agile and Lean values to create a supportive environment. For instance, the Kanban method encourages visualization, limiting work in progress, and managing flow, which supports the Kanban Value of transparency and continuous improvement Kanban. Don Reinertsen’s book “The Principles of Product Development Flow” offers insights into how organizations can create an environment that fosters value delivery and adaptability Reinertsen’s Book.

Regular Reflection and Improvement

Agile retrospectives and other feedback mechanisms significantly assess and reinforce values within teams and organizations. Teams can use these opportunities to continuously improve and align more closely with Agile and Lean values. 

The book “Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great” by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen provides practical guidance on facilitating effective retrospectives that help teams identify improvement opportunities and create actionable plans Derby & Larsen’s Book.

By embracing Agile and Lean values through leadership, training, creating a supportive environment, and regular reflection, organizations can foster a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, and adaptability.

Real-life examples of embracing Agile values


“An example of a company that has successfully embraced Agile values is Spotify. The popular music streaming service has created its own Agile framework, known as the ‘Spotify Model,’ emphasizing autonomy, collaboration, and a strong focus on the customer. The company’s success in delivering a high-quality user experience can be attributed to their commitment to Agile values.”

ING Bank

“Another example is ING, a global financial institution that has undergone a significant Agile transformation in recent years. By adopting Agile values such as collaboration, customer focus, and continuous improvement, ING has improved its time-to-market and customer satisfaction (source).”


By taking the time to understand and embrace the core values of Agile and Lean methodologies, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the complexities of today’s dynamic business environment and drive meaningful change in your organization.

Agile Values Self-Assessment

This self-assessment is designed to help you understand how well your organization aligns with Agile values. By rating your agreement with each statement, you can identify areas where your organization excels and improvements can be made. 

To complete the assessment, read each statement and rate your level of agreement on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). There are no right or wrong answers, so please evaluate honestly.

#StatementScore (1-5)
1Our organization prioritizes individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
2We consistently strive to deliver value to our customers and adapt our work to meet their needs.
3Our organization embraces an iterative and adaptable approach to planning and execution.
4We actively embrace change and continuously seek ways to improve our processes and products.
5Our decisions are primarily based on their value to our customers and our organization.
6Our organization fosters a culture of transparency, trust, and empowerment among team members.
7We actively promote inter-team collaboration to ensure a unified approach to product development.
8Our organization maintains a sustainable pace of work to ensure the well-being of team members and the quality of our products.

Once you have completed the assessment, review your ratings to gain insights into your organization’s strengths and areas for improvement. Use this information to guide discussions within your organization about embracing Agile values further and fostering a more Agile culture. Remember that adopting Agile values is an ongoing journey, and this self-assessment can be revisited periodically to track progress and ensure continuous improvement.

The Agile Ecosystem: Mindset, Values, Principles, Practices, Tools

The Agile ecosystem comprises several interconnected components that create a flexible, responsive software development and project management approach. 

These components include the Agile Mindset, values, principles, practices, and tools. 

  • Agile Mindset: At the core of the Agile ecosystem lies the Agile Mindset, a way of thinking that emphasizes collaboration, adaptability, and continuous improvement. The Agile Mindset is a set of beliefs and culture that permeates every aspect of an organization. It is the foundation upon which Agile values, principles, practices, and tools are built. By embracing the Agile Mindset, teams can better navigate uncertainty and deliver value to customers more effectively.
  • Agile Values: The values of Agile methodologies are the fundamental beliefs that guide decision-making and behavior within an Agile organization. These values help shape the Agile Mindset and influence the principles and practices teams adopt. Agile values enable organizations to cultivate a culture that embraces change, fosters collaboration and focuses on delivering value to customers.
  • Agile Principles: Principles provide the guiding framework for implementing Agile methodologies – offering a set of rules and best practices for teams to follow. 
  • Agile Practices are the specific techniques and processes teams use to apply Agile Principles and Values in their daily work. Practices vary between different Agile Methodologies and can be tailored to suit the unique needs of a team or organization. Examples of Agile practices include daily stand-ups, sprint planning, and retrospectives.
  • Agile Tools: Tools are the technologies and software applications that support implementing Agile practices. They can help teams plan, track, and manage their work more effectively, promoting collaboration and visibility. Examples of Agile tools include project management software, task boards, and continuous integration systems.

Values, Principles, and Practices in Lean and Agile Methodologies

Several Agile methodologies have emerged over the years as the industry has matured. While each methodology has its unique approach and focus, they often share commonalities at the level of values and principles. These methodologies have all contributed to developing the Agile Values, Principles, and Practices we know today.

As we move into the realm of practices, we see more variation between the different methodologies. 

Further Reading




  • State of Agile Report by VersionOne (Annual report on Agile adoption trends and best practices)
  • The Business Value of Agile Software Methods: Maximizing ROI with Just-in-Time Processes and Documentation by David F. Rico, Hasan H. Sayani, and Saya Sone

Case Studies:

  • Spotify Engineering Culture by Spotify Labs (A two-part series on Spotify’s Agile approach)
  • Agile Transformation at Ericsson by InfoQ (A case study on Ericsson’s Agile transformation journey)