Crystal Agile Framework

Max 4min read

What Is Crystal Agile Framework?

Crystal Agile Framework Definition

“Crystal agile framework is a high-level framework that provides a common ground for software development teams to assemble their own set of practices and principles around the core concepts. The crystal agile methodology emphasizes individuals over procedures to enable teams to discover their answers rather than be restricted by rigid methods.”

Crystal is an agile approach used for product development

It focuses on the interaction between people rather than the processes involved or tools used. 

Crystal agile development understands the group’s identity and encourages flexible workflows compared to other rigid frameworks like scrum.

It empowers team members to adopt this approach as appropriate to their requirements. 

The types of crystal groups are classified based on different colors and the number of group members. They are as follows: 

  • Crystal clear – less than eight members
  • Crystal yellow – 10 to 20 members
  • Crystal orange – 20 to 50 members
  • Crystal red – 50 to 100 members

Who Invented the Crystal Agile Framework?

Alistair Cockburn is known to develop the crystal agile framework for IBM in the early 1990s. 

He encouraged team collaboration and communication guidelines instead of step-by-step development strategies.

What Are the Critical Components of the Crystal Agile Framework?

Crystal framework has seven key components, out of which the first three are mandatory, and the rest are optional. They are as follows: 

Components of the Crystal Agile Framework

1. Effective Delivery

Your work and efforts should reach the customers regularly. Otherwise, it will either be a waste of time or lack direction. There needs to be consistency in the kind of problems you solve for the users. 

2. Timely Reviewing

There needs to be a constant tab of checks done on your team’s work so far. As a group, there needs to be the elimination of faulty practices and improvements in the work culture wherever required. 

3. Osmotic Communication

Alistair Cockburn proposed that having a common location and the same physical seating for the team is crucial because it allows the unconscious assimilation of ideas and enhances the group’s cohesiveness. He called this “Osmotic Communication.” This process serves as a criticism of work from home. 

4. Safe Space

The team should serve as a safe space to disclose ideas and thoughts without judgment. Team members should be comfortable talking openly about their beliefs without feeling anxious about the right and wrong, good or bad. 

5. Focus On Work

Team members should know when to prioritize some tasks over others and gauge what tasks should be completed next. This requires solid communication and a medium that can provide regular updates on the progress of the team and individual work tasks. 

6. Appropriate Feedback From Experts and Users

Team members should receive feedback and constructive criticism from real experts from the field. Moreover, the customers need to communicate their needs with the development team to improve the quality and user experience

7. Technical Tooling

To minimize the cost surrounding trial and error, technology provides us with a helping hand to manage it without much human intervention. Thus, automated testing, configuration management, and continuous deployment should be accessible to the product development teams.

What Are the Pros of the Crystal Agile Framework?

  • Adaptable framework as per the needs of the team
  • Better responsiveness to changing environments
  • High level of transparency and accountability.
  • Team members have autonomy over the work.
  • More direct communication, lesser management.

What Are the Cons of the Crystal Agile Framework?

  • No rigid structure can confuse freshers.
  • No specification about online communication or virtual teams.
  • Blocks the bigger picture due to the absence of defined plans.
  • Less documentation and management can cause unfair payment.

When Is Crystal Framework Right for Your Team?

Crystal is a flexible methodology that gives autonomy over individually assigned tasks. 

This is a good option for those teams who seek independence and lesser management because it avoids documentation and reporting.

On the other hand, crystal facilitates and encourages direct communication between the team members, which may not prove beneficial for virtual teams or team members working from home. 

What Are the Crystal Agile Methods? 

The crystal agile methods are a set of ideas on making agile practices more effective across the entire organization. 

It’s a collection of straightforward crystal methods that form an agile manifesto. Hence crystal: crystal clear and crystal (agile) manifest.

You can apply the crystal agile methods to any organization, independent of its size and kind of business. They adopt the most effective practices from agile methodologies like scrum, lean startup, and crystal clear computer programming methodology. The agile crystal method is meant to improve almost all aspects of your company, so you won’t have to change everything at once. You will start crystalizing piece by piece until every part is crystal clear.

Different crystal agile methods can be categorized as follows:

Crystal Clear Method

  • Team Size: 1-6 people
  • Project Size: Small-sized projects

Crystal Yellow Method

  • Team Size: 7-20 people
  • Project Size: Small to Medium-sized projects

Crystal Orange Method

  • Team Size: 21-40 people
  • Project Size: Medium-sized projects

Crystal Red Method

  • Team Size: 41-80 people
  • Project Size: Medium to Large sized projects

Crystal Maroon Method

  • Team Size: 81-200 people
  • Project Size: Large sized projects

Crystal Diamond Method

  • Team Size: 200+ people
  • Project Size: Very Large sized projects


What are the different teams in the crystal agile framework?

Different teams in the crystal agile framework are named after colors and divided based on the number of team members. Crystal Clear has less than eight members, Crystal Yellow has 10 to 20 members, Crystal Orange has 20 to 50 members, and Crystal Red has 50 to 100 members.

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