Atern-8-PrincipalsMany organisations guide general behaviour with high-level values and culture.  Well-understood principles are better guides than detailed process procedures. In Atern principles are used to provide guidance throughout the project.

Atern has eight underlying principles and the complete framework can be directly derived from these. The principles are based on best practice in its truest sense.  They define “the way things are done”.

Breaking one of these principles can lead to failure, as these are the basic building blocks for Atern, and bind together all the other elements of Atern.





target Focus on the Business Need Deliver what the business needs when it needs it. The true business priorities must be understood with a sound business case.
watch Deliver on Time Timeboxes are planned in advance and the timeframe set. The dates never change; features are varied depending on business priorities, in order to achieve the deadline.
people Collaborate Teams work in a spirit of active co-operation and commitment. Collaboration encourages understanding, speed and shared ownership. The teams must be empowered and include the business representatives.
diamond Never Compromise on Quality A solution has to be “good enough”. The level of quality is set at the outset. Projects must test early and continuously and review constantly.
pyramid Build Incrementally from Firm Foundations Increments allow the business to take advantage of work before the final product is complete, encouraging stakeholder confidence and feedback.  This is based on doing just enough upfront analysis to proceed and accepting that detail emerges later.
iterate Develop Iteratively Accept that work is not always right first time. Use Timeboxes to allow for change yet continuously confirm that the solution is the right one.
talking Communicate Continuously and Clearly Use facilitated workshops, daily standups, modeling, prototyping, presentations and encourage informal face-to-face communication.
ctrl Demonstrate Control The team needs to be proactive when monitoring and controlling progress in line with Foundations Phase.  They need to constantly evaluate the project viability based on the business objectives.


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