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Agile Principle

Build Integrity

Alternative name

no alternative name


Lean Software Development


One of the 7 main principles in Lean Software Development is “Build Integrity In”. “Integrity” is defined as “free from flaw, defect, and decay”.
The key to achieving integrity is through detailed information flow, from customers and user to developers and between the upstream and downstream processes of the development team. In line with the Agile Manifesto – Individuals and interactions over processes and tools, Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
Two type of integrity are perceived integrity and conceptual integrity. Perceived Integrity is affected by the customer’s whole experience of a system. The measure of perceived integrity is roughly equivalent to market share, or mindshare. Conceptual Integrity means that a system’s central concepts work together as a smooth, cohesive whole. The components match and work well together; the architecture achieves an effective balance between flexibility, maintainability, efficiency, and responsiveness. Conceptual integrity is a prerequisite for perceived integrity.


As this development sees the system as a whole which is very difficult in case of complex systems. But thinking about the whole system helps to guarantee consistency and integrity of the system. The work team designs its own processes, makes its own commitments, gathers the information needed to reach its goals, and polices itself to meet its milestones.
It is key that the system maintains integrity throughout the development cycle. That means integration test, unit testing and general testing is a must, particularly from the customer. Every time testing after producing a single unit though is useful to know defects but it’s very time consuming activity

Links to other agile principles or practices

Continuous improvement is about evaluating and identifying what has been done well and what needs to be improved. Build integrity applies to continuous improvement because evaluating and identifying gaps for improvement is monitoring progress of the project.It is also related to Agile Vigilance as this is also to constantly monitor and adjust like building integrity which is continues testing.

Links to PMO knowledge areas (KAs)

Change management helps the project meet expectations of stakeholders and help the project achieve success. Build Integrity applies to change management because in a rapidly changing environment, the management of change is critical for the project. Adapting, controlling, and effecting the change, a project can successfully adapt to change is the critical factor to ensure the project success (Margaret, 2010).

Examples of use outside to IT domain

In the late 1980s Kim Clark of the Harvard Business School set out to examine how some companies could consistently develop superior products. He studied the automotive market because cars are highly complex and development requires hundreds of people over dozens of months. He looked for critical differentiation between average and high-performing companies, and found that the key difference was something he called product integrity. He found that product integrity has two dimensions: external integrity and internal integrity also called as perceived integrity and conceptual integrity.
Perceived integrity means that the totality of the product achieves a balance of function, usability, reliability, and economy that delights customers. Conceptual integrity means that the system’s central concepts work together as a smooth, cohesive whole.


Poppendieck, Mary, and Tom Poppendieck (2003). Lean software development: An agile toolkit. Addison-Wesley Professional.

Poppendieck, T. (2003). The Agile Customer’s Toolkit. Poppendieck LLC.

Margaret Rouse, 2010, Change Management, [online] Available at: [accessed: 15 June, 2014].