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Crystal Clear : A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams (Agile Software Development Series)

by: Alistair Cockburn

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On-line Price: $41.95 (includes GST)

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Retail Price: $49.95

Publisher: ,30.10.2004


ISBN: 0201699478
ISBN13: 9780201699470

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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 software teams that excel in delivering quality code in a timely fashion
Detailed introduction to emerging best-practice techniques, such as Blitz Planning, Project 360º, and the essential Reflection Workshop
Question-and-answer with the author about how he arrived at these recommendations, including where they fit with CMMI, ISO, RUP, XP, and other methodologies
A detailed case study, including an ISO auditor's analysis of the project
Perhaps the most important contribution this book offers is the Seven Properties of Successful Projects. The author has studied successful agile projects and identified common traits they share. These properties lead your project to success; conversely, their absence endangers your project.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Author Bio

Alistair Cockburn is a renowned software expert and accomplished instructor. He carefully separates advice to experts from advice to newcomers. Newcomers to agile development will find a step-by-step introduction to selected agile techniques previously not described elsewhere. Experts will see new strategies and techniques to try, as well as the contextual information they need for advanced decision-making.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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.

  The Iteration Cycle.

  The Integration Cycle.

  The Week and the Day.

  The Development Episode.

  Reflection about the Process.

5. Examined (The Work Products).

  The Roles and Their Work Products.

  Roles: Sponsor, Expert User, Lead Designer, Designer-Programmer, Business Expert, Coordinator, Tester, Writer.

  A Note about the Project Samples.

  Sponsor: Mission Statement with Trade-off Priorities.

  Team: Team Structure and Conventions.

  Team: Reflection Workshop Results.

  Coordinator: Project Map, Release Plan, Project Status, Risk List, Iteration Plan and Status, Viewing Schedule.

  Coordinator: Project Map.

  Coordinator: Release Plan.

  Coordinator: Project Status.

  Coordinator: Risk List.

  Coordinator: Iteration Plan ? Iteration Status.

  Coordinator: Viewing Schedule.

  Business Expert and Expert User: Actor-Goal List.

  Business Expert: Requirements File.

  Business Expert and Expert User: Use Cases.

  Expert User: User Role Model.

  Designer-Programmers: Screen Drafts, System Architecture, Source Code, Common Domain Model, Design Sketches and Notes.

  Designer-Programmer: Screen Drafts.

  Lead Designer: System Architecture.

  Designer-Programmer: Common Domain Model.

  Designer-Programmer: Source Code and Delivery Package.

  Designer-Programmer: Design Notes.

  Designer-Programmer: Tests.

  Tester: Bug Report.

  Writer: Help Text, User Manual, and Training Manual.

  Reflection about the Work Products.

6. Misunderstood (Common Mistakes).

  'We colocated and ran two-week iterations-why did we fail?'

  'Two developers are separated by a hallway and a locked door.'

  'We have this big infrastructure to deliver first.'

  'Our first delivery is a demo of the data tables.'

  'No user is available, but we have a test engineer joining us next week.'

  'One developer refuses to discuss his design or show his code to the rest.'

  'The users want all of the function delivered to their desks at one time...'

  'We have some milestones less than a use case and some bigger.'

  'We wrote down a basic concept and design of the system. We all sit together, so that should be good enough.'

  'Who owns the code?'

  'Can we let our test engineer write our tests? How do we regression test the GUI?'

  'What is the optimal iteration length?'

7. Questioned (Frequently Asked).

  Question 1. What is the grounding for Crystal?

  Question 2. What is the Crystal family?

  Question 3. What kind of methodology description is this?

  Question 4. What is the summary sheet for Crystal Clear?

  Question 5. Why the different Formats?

  Question 6. Where is Crystal Clear in the pantheon of methodologies?

  Question 7. What about the CMM(I)?

  Question 8. What about UML and architecture?

  Question 9. Why aim only for the safety zone? Can't we do better?

  Question 10. What about distributed teams?

  Question 11. What about larger teams?

  Question 12. What about fixed-price and fixed-scope projects?

  Question 13. How can I rate how 'agile' or how 'crystal' we are?

  Question 14. How do I get started?

8. Tested (A Case Study).

  The Field Report.

  The Auditor's Report.

  Reflection on the Field and Audit Reports.

9. Distilled (The Short Version).