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Crystal Development Methodology

The Crystal methodology, or framework, is an agile software development approach that focuses primarily on people and their interactions when working on a project rather than on processes and tools. The concept is that people's skills and talents, as well as the way they communicate, has the biggest impact on the outcome of a software development project. The Crystal framework is a direct outgrowth of one of the core values articulated in the Agile Manifesto.  Alistair Cockburn, credited as one of the original popularizers of agile, developed the Crystal method for IBM in 1991. 

The Crystal agile framework is built on two core beliefs and 7 main peroperties or principles:

  • Teams can find ways on their own to improve and optimize their workflows

  • Every project is unique and always changing, which is why that project’s team is best suited to determine how it will tackle the work























What are the Strengths and Weakness of Crystal?

Crystal’s strengths include:

  • Allows teams to work the way they deem most effective

  • Facilitates direct team communication, transparency and accountability

  • The adaptive approach lets teams respond well to changing requirements

Crystal’s weaknesses include:

  • Lack of pre-defined plans can lead to scope creep

  • Lack of documentation can lead to confusion


Should You Use Crystal?

The Crystal method is among the more flexible agile frameworks, because it is designed around a project’s people and is not dependent on any single set of processes or tools. In that sense, it can be a viable methodology for organizations that want to empower their teams to work however they deem most effective.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that because Crystal emphasizes direct team collaboration around the software they’re building—and de-emphasizes the importance of documentation and reporting—this could mean the other teams across the organization will have less visibility into the team’s progress.

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