Looking at the statements in the agile manifesto, it seems to reflect user-centered design principles quite well.

With a few very minor wording changes, it would probably work for a UX manifesto. I especially like the fact that the agile manifesto seeks to find a balance, which the UX designer definitely needs to do because we work in a multi-disciplinary team/environment. Is this making too much of a link?

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

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

  • 2
    I would say it is the product of the same intellectual movement bringing human factors into engineering. That is, both philosophies stem from a common root. Would like to hear direct evidence from the horse's mouth, though. May 24, 2013 at 7:31
  • I like to call Agile "Enough with the useless piles of documentation, let's just get something built and test it in front of users" though I admit, that get's a bit cumbersome to say. But, regardless, yes, when done right, it is user-centered which IMHO is always good for UX.
    – DA01
    May 29, 2013 at 5:39

2 Answers 2


Check out Hugh Beyer's 'User Centred Agile Methods' http://books.google.com.au/books/about/User_Centered_Agile_Methods.html?id=CoYxZ7mWapUC&redir_esc=y Even though it's a monograph it's extremely easy to read and explains the philosophy and methodology of Agile to a UX practitioner audience. UX Book Club Melbourne read it last year and it was very popular. It's a great starting point for designers wanting to understand Agile (and where the cultural tensions between the two lie).


No - is the the short answer.

The Agile manifesto came about through a bunch of folk with different lightweight development processes coming together and finding common ground (you can read about the history of the manifesto for more info).

My google-fu is failing me but I think a at least one signatory of the manifesto has been asked this question explicitly in the past and have said "no" (Ron Jeffries or Kent Beck I think...).

The "customer" that the manifesto talks about is the person who requests the software be developed - not necessarily the end user.

The "individuals and interactions" are primarily the stakeholders and the product development team - not necessarily the end user.

You're certainly not the first to notice that there are commonalities though. To some extent, I guess, you could say that the agile manifesto is an approach to making the process of software development a better experience.

That isn't to say that Agile development approaches aren't good for UX. Many people (myself included) have found integrating UX practices into agile processes a very effective way of approaching developing successful products. The Agile focus on feedback and collaboration provides many more routes for UX folk to have a huge impact - many more than more traditional waterfall approaches.

Agile is great news for UX as far as I'm concerned - but not because it's based on UX principles. You might find this UX Matters article on Agile UX Design a relevant read (bias warning: I'm one of the contributors ;-)

For me Agile & UX are peanut butter & jelly. Great by themselves. Even better together.

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