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The Crystal methodology is fairly often included in lists of Agile methodologies and it is easy to find articles from recent years giving an overview of it and comparing it to other Agile methodologies, however I am unable to find any references to it being in active use, whether people discussing their experiences of it, job adverts mentioning it, or similar.

Is Crystal actually still in use anywhere? If so, are there are any resources providing information on this?

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In the past, I have seen a very small number of job postings that referred to Crystal, but I believe it was always in a list. The organization was looking for people familiar with different agile methods and listed several, including Crystal. However, a quick search of job sites today isn't revealing anything.

The Crystal family of methodologies - the intention was to have several, based on the staffing size, complexity, and criticality of the product under development - was developed by Alistair Cockburn based on interviewing development teams at various organizations having different levels of success at their efforts. Crystal Clear was the most detailed version. Other methodologies that saw wide adoption, like Scrum and Extreme Programming, were developed and practiced by real teams on real projects before they were developed.

I'm not sure that Crystal was ever something that was meant to be used. Crystal Clear and Extreme Programming share a lot of the same core concepts, but it always seemed to me like Crystal was more a way to help organizations think about the practices they use rather than a methodology or framework to be deployed.

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  • Thanks for this Thomas. I'm fairly sure Crystal Clear at least was intended to actually be used, Alistair Cockburn's book about it from 2004 goes into detail about how to implement it as a methodology, issues you might encounter, specific practices you might want to adopt etc. With regards to your point about always seeing it in a list, that ties into why I'm asking this question, which is a suspicion that people include it in lists because they're copying from another list of Agile methodologies, as opposed to it actually being something they use themselves. Nov 5 '21 at 14:19
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Because it is created around a project's people and is not dependent on any particular set of processes or tools, the Crystal approach is one of the more flexible agile frameworks. In that sense, it could be a feasible practice for companies or anyone that want to empower their employees to work in whichever way they see fit.

I agree with this "I'm not sure that Crystal was ever something that was meant to be used. Crystal Clear and Extreme Programming share a lot of the same core concepts, but it always seemed to me like Crystal was more a way to help organizations think about the practices they use rather than a methodology or framework to be deployed." because it's rarely seen / talked about.

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  • Thanks for the answer but this doesn't address what I was asking about. I'm aware of what Crystal is, what I'm interested in is if it's actively used nowadays. (As I mentioned in my comment on Thomas's answer, it's easy to find articles talking about it as if it's currently used or is an option that people might consider when comparing Agile frameworks but I can't find any evidence of it actually being made use of anywhere.) Dec 6 '21 at 14:06
  • I have not come across where it's been expressly/actively used in an organization but I do know that some persons use it but don't really make reference to it as it not really popular. In some way it's integrated into project management but never acknowledged which I will argue is because it's less documented than XP and Scrum. Dec 7 '21 at 15:23

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