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Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams

Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams

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  • Copyright 2005
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-280007-1
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-280007-5

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.

Sample Content

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).




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