Alistair Cockburn

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Alistair Cockburn
Alistair Cockburn (2007).jpg
Alistair Cockburn in Seattle in 2007
Nationality American
Occupation Computer programmer

Alistair Cockburn /ˈælɨstər ˈkbərn/ is one of the initiators of the agile movement in software development, helping write the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001, the agile PM Declaration of Interdependence in 2005, and co-founding the International Consortium for Agile in 2009 (with Ahmed Sidky and Ash Rofail). He is a principal expositor of the use case for documenting business processes and behavioral requirements for software, and inventor of the Cockburn Scale for categorizing software projects.

The methodologies in the Crystal family (e.g., Crystal Clear), described by Alistair Cockburn, are considered examples of lightweight methodology. The Crystal family is colour-coded to signify the "weight" of methodology needed. Thus, a large project which has consequences that involve risk to human life would use the Crystal Sapphire or Crystal Diamond methods. A small project might use Crystal Clear, Crystal Yellow or Crystal Orange.

Cockburn received his PhD degree from the University of Oslo in 2003.


  • Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game, Alistair Cockburn, 2nd edition, October 2006, pages 504, paperback, Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-321-48275-1, ISBN 978-0-321-48275-4 .
  • Crystal Clear : A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams, Alistair Cockburn, October 2004, pages 336, paperback, Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-201-69947-8.
  • People and Methodologies in Software Development, Alistair Cockburn, February 2003, pages 180, paperback, D.Ph. dissertation, U. of Oslo Press, online at [1].
  • Patterns for Effective Use Cases, Steve Adolph, Paul Bramble, with Alistair Cockburn, Andy Pols contributors, August 2002, pages 272, paperback, Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-201-72184-8.
  • Agile Software Development, Alistair Cockburn, 1st edition, December 2001, pages 256, paperback, Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-201-69969-9.
  • Writing Effective Use Cases, Alistair Cockburn, 1st edition, January, 2000, pages 270, paperback, Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-201-70225-8.
  • Surviving Object-Oriented Projects, Alistair Cockburn, 1st edition, December, 1997, pages 272, paperback, Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0-201-49834-0.

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