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Paperback Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams Book

ISBN: 0201699478

ISBN13: 9780201699470

Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams

(Part of the The Agile Software Development Series Series and Agile Software Development Series Series)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This book introduces Crystal Clear, a better lightweight methodology forbuilding software. It describes the roles, teams, values, intentions, habits, activities, policies and work products of a small software development team forwhom time-to-market and development costs are critical considerations.Alistair Cockburn is one of the founders of the Agile software developmentmovement. He spells out proven best practices based on his extensiveexperience...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The best book about agile software development in practice

Cockburn is one of the best writers in the software development arena. I read its books like I'm reading a good SciFi novel :-) ! His other books are more focused on the theory behind the needs of agile and iterative development. But now this book focus on the practical aspects of an agile methodology which I found is the best one until now. I read the FDD, Scrum, DSDM, XP, ASD and other agile books and I found this one most full of practical advice to teams which really want to deliver software products on time and with good quality!!! Thank you Mr. Cockburn for your amazing book!!!

A book you can actually put to use

This is a practical book, plain and simple, geared toward people who want to cut through unnecessary development clutter and get their team running efficiently. The wisdom collected between these pages draws from years of interviews with real teams, and it shows. Crystal Clear builds on a common, essential core shared by successful teams, and helps the reader adapt these to his or her own unique situation. The author has hit a sweet spot, providing some structure without the feeling of a straightjacket. A strength of this book is that the explanation takes place in several different styles--each presenting insights from a different perspective and filling in the overall picture so you get a broad understanding of how this can apply to your team. Through a series of hypothetical letters, the reader first shares the experience of learning how a successful team adapts lightweight practices to their own environment. From there, you'll learn the properties a team needs to reach the safety zone and beyond. Next is a set of specific strategies and techniques that some teams use to achieve those Crystal properties, followed by a detailed look at how a well tuned process should flow through time. Dozens of work products your team might consider are described (most of these are ultra-light cousins of products generated in heavyweight shops). Chapters targeting common mistakes, a FAQ, and a Case Study round things out. The book closes on a one page distillation of the whole process, with the wonderful tag line, "All the other pages in this book only expand on this page."

Best since XP - maybe even better...

Despite the fact that a very large number of books about agile methodologies have come out since the beginning af agile software development in 2001 - this Chrystal Clear is a major breakthrough: In this book Cockburn takes the reader by the hand, shares his deep insight in people-centric software development and give precise instructions and advise on how to run sofware projects with communication and human values as the base. You learn a number of proporties, strategies and techniques. I find it hard to tell the difference between these. I think they are all best practices - but really usefull and very well proven best practices. Unlike most other books on methodoligies Chrystal Clear explains itself in depth - and manages on the same time to communicate with the same "lightness" that should be performed in development projects. The lightness is especially present (and refreshing) in the section about the work products, which is the horror of all other methodologies I know... Cockburn learns us, that most work products makes the biggest difference in the project, if they are made on the walls on whiteboards or stickers - as opposed to the usual way where work products are made on computer screens and saved (or "hidden") on server disk drives... Being a full blown methodology - with detailed instructions on how to run your project - I see Chrystal Clear as the first full blown leightweigh methodology since eXtreme Programming - and recommend the book highly to all project managers and everybody else who wants to succeed with their software development projects. Ole Jepsen, Founder of the Danish Agile User Group

Best single book in the Agile canon

Alistair has always been an interesting thinker, one worth reading for the clarity of his thought and the insights he brings from his very open minded observation and talking with development teams. With his new book, Crystal Clear, however, Alistair has become a really good writer. In fact, I would say he has written the single best book in the collection of writings on Agile methodologies. If you want the most comprehensive overview of Agile, you still must read Highsmith's Agile Software Development Ecosystems. If you want the most poetic, read Kent's White Book. For amazingly clear and simple writing and thinking, Poppendieck. But if you want a really really useful book on how to actually do agile, and you don't have that much time to invest, get Alistair's book. One of the things I really like is the variety of different writing styles from chapter to chapter: from the email "love letters" written to Crystal (Alistair's methodology muse), to the simple exposition of seven properties underlying agile, to the clearly illustrated strategies and techniques, to work product samples, and to the final one page chapter giving an expert (level 3) view of the whole methodology. His writing is constantly engaging, inventive, conversational and even fun. While Alistair writes about one methodology (and only one of his Crystal family of methodologies), the book is still universal. It covers the basic things that few agile teams would disagree with. Even if you work in a large, complex environment, this is the place to start. -May your travels be light and the green bar always on your forward horizon. --Michael

Read it, no matter what methodology you're using

It was through Alistair Cockburn's earlier writings that I 'got it' that good people, not methodologies and tools, deliver successful projects. Although Crystal Clear is meant only for small teams (there's a Crystal color for every size team), the properties, practices, principles, examples and techniques in this book would benefit any software development team. The subtitle begins "A Human-Powered Methodology...", and that's the key to this book. Cockburn understands how to allow people to do their best work. The book is so well-organized and well-written, even readers new to agile development will have no trouble understanding how and why Crystal Clear works, and how to implement it. I'm part of a Scrum/XP team, but I took away many helpful and practical ideas from this book. No matter what methodology you use - even if you work in a traditional waterfall environment - you will find much you can use here.
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