Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crystal Clear, by Alistair Cockburn

Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams , by Alistair Cockburn

Crystal Clear is another one of the many agile management styles out there today. It is geared specifically for small collocated teams not working on life-critical systems. The wildly different chapter formats I found odd, but Cockburn explains it well: “It is not my ambition that every reader should like every chapter and format. Rather, my hope is that through the use of different perspectives, each reader, coming from his particular background, can find some chapter format that conveys what is needed in order to understand Crystal Clear’s main ideas.” A lot of the methodology doesn’t apply to my current situation (Crystal Clear demands collocation but my team is scattered all over North America) but I still found some interesting ideas here. One I particularly liked was that Crystal allows for teams to choose less-than-optional ways of working; as long as the team is delivering software successfully all is well. This is much more forgiving than many methodologies which seem to require striving for perfection. Another concept I like is the approach to risk: “A safe methodology is one that increases the likelihood of the project succeeding.” Most risk discussions revolve around what can go wrong; this spin of increasing success factors rather than reducing avenues of failure I find to be much more positive. Because of the focus on small teams this isn’t directly applicable to all groups, but everyone should be able to glean something useful from this book.

First Sentence:
I distilled Crystal Clear by asking successful small teams what they would keep or change in the ways they worked.

No comments:

Search This Blog