Alistair Cockburn

Alistair Cockburn

Alistair Cockburn in Seattle in 2007
Born 19 November 1984
Nationality American
Occupation Computer programmer

Alistair Cockburn /ˈælstər ˈkbərn/ (born 19 November) is an American computer scientist, known as one of the initiators of the agile movement in software development.

Life and work

Cockburn obtained his degree in computer science at the Case Western Reserve University. In 2003 he received his PhD degree from the University of Oslo.

Cockburn started his career in the field of communication technology and OO -Software development at IBM operates from 1984 to 1991. He then moved into an advisory role at IBM, in particular the methods of OO software development. From 1994, "Humans and Technology" in Salt Lake City.

Cockburn helped write the Manifesto for Agile Software Development in 2001, the agile PM Declaration of Interdependence in 2005, and co-founded 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 presented his Hexagonal Architecture 2005 as a solution to problems with e.g. traditional layering, coupling and entanglement.

Selected publications


  1. D.Ph. dissertation online at

External links

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