Alistair Cockburn


Alistair Cockburn is a Cutter Expert and consulting fellow at Humans and Technology, where he helps clients succeed with object-oriented projects, including corporate strategy, project setup, staff mentoring, process development, technical design, and design quality. He is the originator of Crystal Light methodology and has more than 20 years' experience in leading projects. Dr. Cockburn was special advisor on project management and development issues to the Central Bank of Norway. He coordinated a critical multisite development project using the ideas he advocates: light methodology; a flexible, alert process; communication; and thinking. In the early 1990s, Dr. Cockburn designed the OO methodology for IBM's worldwide Consulting Group, which is still in use today and is applied to business process reengineering. He served on the IBM US Marketing and Services Architecture Advisory Board, for which he reviewed project plans and designs; is the author of Surviving Object-Oriented Projects; and has written papers and articles for a variety of trade journals.

For Ralston Purina, Dr. Cockburn orchestrated project setup and requirements for a corporate project in which few of the team of 40 had object technology experience. He later returned to lead technical development, set up the process, and take responsibility for design quality. Over a period of one year, Dr. Cockburn trained and led the requirements team, the analysts, and the programmers.

The German consulting company sd&m (part of Ernst & Young) invited Dr. Cockburn to work with 10 of its senior project managers over several months to capture their experience and the risk-reducing strategies they use on projects. The strategies were captured as patterns in Dr. Cockburn's special "medical pattern" format. The captured patterns will help newer project managers learn to observe and reduce risks on their own projects.

Dr. Cockburn has developed courses in project survival, methodology development, requirements writing, OO design, and project management strategies. He has been invited to teach and talk at the Software Technology Conference, Object World, Software Development, and OOPSLA. He has taught OO concepts and design to hundreds of executives, managers, and programmers around the world. Attendees in his courses consistently give him highest grades for being a subject matter expert with practical experience, skilled in listening, questioning, and explaining.

Dr. Cockburn describes his personal philosophy as: "Computers must support the way in which people naturally and comfortably work, for job satisfaction and for corporate survival. I am committed to speeding this development by improving human-computer communication, programming methods, and development tools." He can be reached at