What is the crystal framework in agile methodology?

What is the crystal framework in agile methodology? Alistair Cockburn developed the Crystal Method for IBM in 1991. Instead of focusing on step-by-step activities, he decided to create guidelines for collaboration and team interactions. Therefore, the characteristics of the Crystal Cockburn method are all based on the team itself:

  • Manpower (which means that the project should proceed flexibly and according to the needs and preferred working methods of people.)
  • Adaptive (meaning the approach does not use fixed tools and can be modified to meet the specific needs of the team.)
  • Ultra-lightweight (meaning the method doesn’t require a lot of documentation or reporting.)
What is the crystal framework
What is the crystal framework

Definition of crystal framework

Crystal is an agile framework that focuses on people and their interactions instead of processes and tools, which is actually one of the main values expressed in the Agile Manifesto.

The Crystal Agile framework is based on two core beliefs:

  1. Teams can find ways to improve and optimize their workflow on their own.
  2. Every project is unique and ever-changing, which is why the project team members are the best people to determine how the project works.

Crystal features

Frequent delivery

Frequent delivery allows you to regularly deliver products to real users for testing. Without this feature, you might be building a product that no one needs.

Expand improvement

It doesn’t matter how good or bad you have done your job. Since there are always areas for product improvement, teams can implement crystal to improve their future practices.

Osmotic communication

Alistair stated that it is important for teams to be in a common physical phase because it allows information to flow between team members like osmosis.

Personal security

There is no such thing as a bad suggestion in a crystal team, team members should feel safe to talk about ideas openly and without any fear.


Each team member knows exactly what they have to do, this allows them to focus on their work, which increases team interaction and work towards a common team goal.

Easy access to expert users

It increases the communication of the team with the users, and that’s why feedback is received regularly from everyone.

Technical tools

It includes very specific technical tools used by the software development team during testing, management, and configuration. These tools enable the team to identify any errors in less time.

How does the crystal work?

Considering that as the number of team members increases, the cooperation between team members and the speed of action decreases, hence Crystal has shown different groupings using different colors with the title of different methodologies.

How does the crystal work?
How does the crystal work?

These methodologies include the following:

Crystal clear

This team consists of only 1 to 6 members, which is suitable for short-term projects where people work in a shared workspace.

Crystal Yellow

The team has a small size of 7-20 members and reduces the excessive use of documentation.

Crystal Orange

Team sizes range from 21 to 40 members, with teams divided based on functional skills. The project generally lasts 1-2 years and releases are required every 3-4 months.

Crystal Red

Software development is driven by 40 to 80 members, where teams can be formed and divided based on needs.


Crystal is one of the most flexible frameworks out there, giving your development team a lot of freedom to develop processes that work for them. This framework is ideal for experienced and independent development teams. However, because Crystal focuses on team communication around the product being built and avoids unnecessary documentation and reporting, it is difficult for other parts of the organization to know how the product is being developed.

Check Also:

WSJF model for prioritizing project and product tasks

Why do agile teams need a team charter?

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