C.R.A.C.K. Users Are Addictive


Barry Boehm, inventor of the spiral model of software development, may also be the originator of the CRACK acronym for the type of users we want on our projects. When defining (and executing on) projects, we don’t just want CRACK users, we want CRACK stakeholders. And we want them to stick around. In fact, we’re addicted to them.

What Are CRACK Users?

We are not talking about substance abusers here. We are talking about users, and stakeholders in general, who have the following characteristics:

  • Collaborative stakeholders define goals and provide feedback and are available to work together
  • Representative – they characterize (or embody the personas) who make up our key users
  • Accountable – along with collaboration comes a sense of ownership: we succeed or fail together
  • Committed – not just in percentage of time dedicated to the project, but also continuity of involvement over time
  • Knowledgeable understanding more so than knowledge leads to insights but both improve our deliverables

Thanks, Mike Griffiths, of Leading Answers, who points out the value to agile teams of having CRACK users. His article is actually focused on what to do when you can’t get users – and I love suggestion number three. Thanks Mike, and keep it up!

Before giving Mike all the credit, I wanted to see if anyone else was writing about CRACK users. Several of the top search results pointed to articles or presentations by Barry Boehm, who, due to his significant software engineering contributions, gets our “he must have invented it” accreditation.

As a quick tangent – during the search, I found a couple presentations by Barry were awesome.

This is a short one, but the idea is strong, and the linked presentations give you plenty of good stuff! Thanks Barry and Mike!

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