Crystal Clear – A Book on Small Teams

I have just started reading Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams by Alistair Cockburn. I was not too sure what this book would provide for me in the way of relevant learning.

I am intrigued that this work came out of years of experience by Alistair. This quote from the book “Crystal Clear does not aspire to be a “best” methodology; it aspires to be “sufficient,” in order that your team will shape it to itself and then actually use it.” gave me hope. I work on a small team and I wonder about which practices will best suit our situation. I also wonder how our team can use tools and processes then reflect on their usefulness to decide if we will continue their implementation.

I am interested in reading the whole book, but a little concerned that there will be too much techno-words used throughout. I have a background in business, marketing, and the web but not to the degree of the some of the other books that I have read.

What learning have you gained from working on small teams? Have any of you read this book? If so, did you gain any insights that would help my team to develop?

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3 thoughts on “Crystal Clear – A Book on Small Teams”

  1. The greatest thing I’ve learned from working on small teams is that one methodology doesn’t fit all situations. I’ve been working for startups for the last 5 or 6 years and in each situation the teams have been small and responsible for multiple activities in the company from development to implementation and support.

    I am really interested in reading this book as I think I can relate quite a bit. As for your situation, not sure what your team dynamic is or what they are responsible for but we have tried applying Scrum principals such as using retrospectives to constantly measure and improve the processes we put in place to deal with rapid change and re-focus. This ‘adhoc’ method has worked but it feels like more organized (or partially organized) chaos. The benefit of course being the team is very ‘Agile’ but the biggest drawback being the team burns out quicker.

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