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Feb 27, 2024

Agile Manifesto | Principle 5

In the forthcoming weeks, we are exploring one Agile Manifesto principle or value every Tuesday. This week, it's Principle 5's turn.

Principle 5

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

In Agility we have the following formula: “Happy Employees --> Happy Customers --> Happy stakeholders”. Individuals matter (Value 1). Scientific research has shown that autonomously motivated employees do not only show a better job performance, but also better well-being. For example, autonomous motivation is related to a higher job satisfaction, commitment, competence, personal initiative & involvement, effort, work motivation and less emotional distress, role stress, absenteeism and turnover intentions.

Change is constant – the impact is yours.
Renate Cremer & Ashley Poelhuis in Gladwell’s 1st Transformation Journey webinar

In order to foster an environment of autonomously motivated employees, an agile leader is more of a servant leader than a “boss”. Instead of micromanaging and making top-down decisions, an agile leader is an enabler and facilitator. He or she makes sure that the employees are provided with the tools, resources and information they need to do their job. The servant leader supports with the removal of impediments with a focus on the progress towards continuous value delivery (Principle 1 & 7) and enables synergies between employees. He or she empowers employees to self-organise (Principle 11) and trusts their competence and motivation to get their job done. Fostering a failure culture is vital to inspire innovation, creativity and transparency.

Curious about what motivates people at work and how employee engagement is one of the most critical metrics reflecting on a successful transformation? We recorded our 1st Transformation Journey webinar for you to rewatch any time convenient for you: Gladwell’s 1st Transformation Journey webinar

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. (soon)

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

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

Value 3: We value customer collaboration over contract negotiation. (soon)

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


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