Principle (n): a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning

We often talk of “design principles” at the beginning of projects. But are they really principles or merely suggestions?

The proof comes whenever you’re called to make a difficult design decision. The options before you call for sacrifices; one option may be more politically expedient while another will have a ​greater upside for end users. How will you decide?

Having clearly articulated principles can help make — and justify — difficult decisions. But in order to do so, principles must be grounded in reality; if they are platitudes nobody really buys into, they will be ignored.

Are you clear on what yours are?

Have they been articulated in a way everyone understands?

Are they aligned with your organization’s strategy, tactics, and ethos?

Does everyone feel strongly enough about them to uphold them when called to task?

(Definition from the macOS Dictionary app.)