Knowledge hub
Apr 16, 2024

Agile Manifesto | Principle 12

In previous weeks, we explored one principle of the Agile Manifesto every Tuesday. This week, it's the last principle's turn: Principle 12. From next week onwards, we will explore the values.

Principle 12

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Continuous learning is not a new thing. However, the interpretation of it is different with respect to Agility than in traditional working cultures. While we are encouraged to improve our specific expertise in traditional settings, agile work environments also value so-called T-shaped individuals (Agile Team). T-shaped skills refer to a combination of broad, foundational knowledge in multiple areas (the horizontal bar of the 'T') and deep expertise in a specific field (the vertical stem of the 'T').

Continuous learning involves not only people’s technical expert knowledge, but also relentless improvement of processes & interactions. This is built-in in agile methodologies, which all have a curious and experimental mindset at its core. The essence of Agility is to inspect – to learn – and to adapt. Usually this is ensured by so-called retrospectives, which happen once every iteration, but is not limited to that. Continuous improvement is a continuous effort and entails (self-) reflexion.

Reflexion goes beyond mere reflection in that it shapes the future state of what is being analysed.
– Julia Heuritsch

In other words, when we learn from our reflections, we are reflexive. Given that everybody is involved and has a say in the processes of relentless improvement, this sparks people’s autonomous motivation (Principle 5) and experience of self-efficacy.

Explore each principle & value with us

Introduction to the Agile Manifesto & Part 1 – The Agile Team: Skills & Culture

Principle 1: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable solutions*.

Principle 2: Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

Principle 3: Deliver working solution* frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Principle 4: Business people and team* must work together daily throughout the project.

Principle 5: Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Principle 6: The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within an agile team is real-time conversation.

Principle 7: Working solution* is the primary measure of progress.

Principle 8: Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, team*, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Principle 9: Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Principle 10: Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.

Principle 11: The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

Principle 12: At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Value 1: We value individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

Value 2: We value working solution* over comprehensive documentation.

Value 3: We value customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

Value 4: We value responding to change over following a plan.


Business Value: Business Value encompasses any deliverable, feature, or enhancement that directly contributes to customer satisfaction, employee well-being, or overall organizational success. It can encompass not only customer-facing elements but also internal enablers that improve efficiency and effectiveness within the organization.

Developers: has been exchanged by team to recognize that Agile Teams can encompass a diverse range of roles and functions beyond just software development

Iteration: An Iteration refers to a distinct phase or cycle within a development process, where a set of tasks or activities are completed in a defined timeframe. In Scrum methodology, an Iteration is known as a Sprint, typically lasting 2-4 weeks, during which a set of prioritized work items are completed.

Lead Time: Lead Time refers to the duration it takes for a task or project to move from the initial request or conception stage to its completion, including all necessary processes and steps.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product): The MVP is a basic, functional version of a product or service that includes essential features, allowing it to be deployed or released to gather early feedback from users or customers.

Software: has been replaced by solutions to account for the fact that Agility does not only apply to software development, but to any kind of value that a business offers to the customer.

Written by Julia Heuritsch, SAFe Practice Consultant & Agile Coach