The Crystal Method is a family of methodologies developed by Alistair Cockburn in the mid-1990s. It is composed of several agile processes, including Clear, Crystal Yellow, Crystal Orange and other methods with unique characteristics. The idea behind Crystal Methods is that teams involved in software development often have varied skills and talents, so the Process element is not an important factor. The frequent delivery is the regular publication of iterations of the software program.
This idea comes from agile methodologies. Designers and developers decide what features to include in each version and design and test each version. With Crystal methods, iterations are published weekly or quarterly; publication times depend on the duration of the project. Reflexive improvement involves developers taking a break from regular development and trying to find ways to improve their processes. Iterations help with this by providing feedback on whether the current process works or not. Focusing on the glass refers to two things: first, focusing on an individual task in a project long enough to move forward and, second, it refers to the direction in which the project is being directed.
Crystal defines two rules for dealing with problems that may interrupt the focus. One is to establish a two-hour period in which the developer has no interruptions. The other is to assign a developer to a project for at least two days before switching it to another project. With the second meaning of focus, topics such as the definition of goals are discussed. The definitions must be clear and developers must know exactly what the objectives of the project are.
The project leader must prioritize objectives that will allow developers to focus on particular areas. Since teams can perform similar tasks in different ways, the Crystal family of methodologies is very tolerant of this, making it one of the easiest agile methodologies to apply. On the other hand, the Crystal Sapphire or Crystal Diamond methods are used in large projects that pose a potential risk to human life. In the description of Crystal Orange and Crystal Clear (Cockburn 199), this incremental development had many activities. Cockburn says that while Process is important, it should be considered after all other elements as a secondary approach. If you're on a project that has a transparent framework and you increase the number of people in your project to more than 6, then Alistair Cockburn recommends that the project move to the next upper frame level (Crystal Yellow), rather than trying to expand on previous Crystal Clear practices.