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Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams, 1st edition

  • Alistair Cockburn

Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (October 19th 2004) - Copyright © 2005

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Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams

ISBN-13: 9780132800075

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"The best thinking in the agile development community brought to street-level in the form of implementable strategy and tactics. Essential reading for anyone who shares the passion for creating quality software."

—Eric Olafson, CEO Tomax

"Crystal Clear is beyond agile. This book leads you from software process hell to successful software development by practical examples and useful samples."

—Basaki Satoshi, Schlumberger

"A very powerful message, delivered in a variety of ways to touch the motivation and understanding of many points of view."

—Laurie Williams, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University

"A broad, rich understanding of small-team software development based on observations of what actually works."

—John Rusk

"A superb synthesis of underlying principles and a clear description of strategies and techniques."

—Géry Derbier, Project Manager, Solistic

"Alistair Cockburn shows how small teams can be highly effective at developing fit-for-purpose software by following a few basic software development practices and by creating proper team dynamics. These small teams can be much more effective and predictable than much larger teams that follow overly bureaucratic and prescriptive development processes."

—Todd Little, Sr. Development Manager, Landmark Graphics

"I find Cockburn's writings on agile methods enlightening: He describes 'how to do,' of course, but also how to tell whether you're doing it right, to reach into the feeling of the project. This particular book's value is that actual project experiences leading to and confirming the principles and practices are so...well...clearly presented."

—Scott Duncan, ASQ Software Division Standards Chair and representative to the US SC7 TAG and IEEE S2ESC Executive Committee and Management Board and Chair of IEEE Working Group 1648 on agile methods

"Crystal Clear identifies principles that work not only for software development, but also for any results-centric activities. Dr. Cockburn follows these principles with concrete, practical examples of how to apply the principles to real situations and roles and to resolve real issues."

—Niel Nickolaisen, COO, Deseret Book

"All the successful projects I've been involved with or have observed over the past 19 or so years have had many of the same characteristics as described in Crystal Clear (even the big projects). And many of the failed projects failed because they missed something—such as expert end-user involvement or accessibility throughout the project. The final story was a great read. Here was a project that in my opinion was an overwhelming success—high productivity, high quality, delivery, happy customer, and the fact that the team would do it again. The differing styles in each chapter kept it interesting. I started reading it and couldn't put it down, and by the end, I just had to say 'Wow!'"

—Ron Holliday, Director, Fidelity Management Research

Carefully researched over ten years and eagerly anticipated by the agile community, Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams is a lucid and practical introduction to running a successful agile project in your organization. Each chapter illuminates a different important aspect of orchestrating agile projects.

Highlights include

  • Attention to the essential human and communication aspects of successful projects
  • Case studies, examples, principles, strategies, techniques, and guiding properties
  • Samples of work products from real-world projects instead of blank templates and toy problems
  • Top strategies used by soft

Table of contents


1. Explained (View from the Outside).

2. Applied (The Seven Properties).

    Property 1. Frequent Delivery.

    Property 2. Reflective Improvement.

    Property 3. Osmotic Communication.

    Property 4. Personal Safety.

    Property 5. Focus.

    Property 6. Easy Access to Expert Users.

    Property 7. Technical Environment with Automated Tests, Configuration Management, and Frequent Integration.

    Evidence: Collaboration across Organizational Boundaries.

    Reflection on the Properties.

3. In Practice (Strategies and Techniques).

    The Strategies.

    Strategy 1. Exploratory 360°.

    Strategy 2. Early Victory.

    Strategy 3. Walking Skeleton.

    Strategy 4. Incremental Rearchitecture.

    Strategy 5. Information Radiators.

    The Techniques.

    Technique 1. Methodology Shaping.

    Technique 2. Reflection Workshop.

    Technique 3. Blitz Planning.

    Technique 4. Delphi Estimation Using Expertise Rankings.

    Technique 5. Daily Stand-up Meetings.

    Technique 6. Essential Interaction Design.

    Technique 7. Process Miniature.

    Technique 8. Side-by-Side Programming.

     Technique 9. Burn Charts.

    Reflection about the Strategies and Techniques.

4. Explored (The Process).

    The Project Cycle.

    The Delivery Cycle.

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