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Values & Principles

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

Today I cover values and principles. I start by walking you through a thought exercise on discovering your own Values while vulnerably sharing a handful of my own. Next, a right-turn to name the values that revised the Twelve Principles of Agile Software Development (making them more accessible beyond software development, imho). Lastly, I end on an appreciation for Values and Principles, witnessing the impact they have on making lasting connections and personal transformations.


Values are the personal beliefs that shape how we live and work. Values are often disguised in our everyday thoughts, feelings, words, actions, and patterned behaviors, lying just below the surface for most of us in most circumstances. For example, when you hear the phrase "what's the matter?" That mattering may be a value underneath the seen emotion.

Let’s keep digging. First, grab something to write with and write on. Electronic aids are acceptable. If you rather just read for the info, that's ok, too. For those interested in getting in touch with their own values:

1. Jot down a few key moments of your life.

For instance;

  • Pick a peak experience (((resonance))) OR

  • Situation that angered you (((dissonance))) OR

  • Something of significance OR

  • Choose a hero/heroine/role model of yours

These are merely a handful of areas where values can be buried. Your task is to mine them.

So now that you have an idea of where to go looking for values, it's time to

2. Name the values within.

For example, one of my peak experiences in life was being accepted and receiving a scholarship to a prestigious school. I remember when and where I opened the letter as well as my reaction. I shouted "F*CK YES!" and pumped my fist in the air. So what values showed up? **NOTE: the same story may generate different values for you**

For me, it was my values of learning and excellence.

Below are further examples of my own values that I or others helped mine:

  • Family (a great source of support and energy for me)

  • Trust

  • An abundance mindset

  • Inclusion, collaboration, deep democracy, and hearing from all the voices in the room

  • Creativity

  • Simplicity

  • Fairness and ethics

Once you have a sufficient list, rate (1-5) where 1-low and 5-high;

3. How well are you living into each of your values?

The scores may surprise you. But having a non-judgmental stance can lead to rich, revealing areas of insight and action. For instance, 3 years ago, my trust score was at a 1! So I left my full-time job and spent most of my time rebuilding trust in myself, my relationships, and my work. Today, I'm happy to report that I've re-entered the workforce as a “Mentor Coach” at Edward Jones, and I couldn't be more excited. And bonus, in my recovery, I even discovered a value of integrity as cousin to my value of trust.


If values are one side of the silver coin, then principles are the other. Principles, by definition, are the set of rules with which we express our values. So let's apply my values of trust, learning, creativity, and simplicity to the principles of Agile. Behold.

Agile Principles (refined)

What were once 12 Agile Principles are now 8 in my book.

  1. The highest priority & best measure of success is frequently delivering value.

  2. Welcome change, even late in the process.

  3. Surround work with trusted, collaborative, self-organized teams.

  4. Relationships are the most effective means of communication. <-- value mining!

  5. Agile processes promote a sustainable pace.

  6. Attention to excellence enhances agility.

  7. Keep it simple; do less, well.

  8. Continually learn and adjust accordingly.

VP Takeaways

Values and Principles are present everywhere in life. They infrequently change; however, there can be varying degrees of living into our values and principles, thus either living a transformative life or a less authentic one. By getting to know your own values, you're better equipped to listen for and find them in others. For once you discover another's value(s) and begin speaking into it (them), you'll have a direct line to a valuable, enlivened, and lasting connection!

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