Planning for an inception
One of the question that is asked quite frequently is, “what should i look at while planning for an inception? What all should I consider?”
And the answer is: It depends!
Inception, while at a high level is a method that is used to get information from client, the aspects or activities or discussions that will happen in an inception will differ.
What we do in an inception depends on multiple factors. Below are a few common ones
- Maturity / Acceptance of the client for Agile tools & techniques
- Maturity / Knowledge of the problem at hand
- New product / expansion of existing product
- Complexity of the problem statements ‘eco-System’
- Process complexity
- People Dynamics
- Tech maturity
All of these factors adds nuances to the details of an inception plan.
One of the methods that i follow to come up with the inception plan is, to work backwards taking into consideration the nature of the client.
The question I ask is, “What do we need at the end of this inception or workshop?” I start from here. Shall we try this out?
So, What do we need at the end of the inception? — A Release Plan!
Now, what do we need to come up with a release plan?
Now that we know what we need for a release plan, how do we arrive at say, the prioritised list of features or parallelisation*?
Working backwards, below is what it looks like
Does the above make sense? Does it resonate?
Now that we know what we need, the next step is to come up with activities that will give us the information we need. For example: To arrive at the Vision, Goals, KPI etc we can for example, do an LVT (lean value tree) exercise.
Similarly, to arrive at the feature list, we can do User Goals, Personas & User Journeys.
See where i am heading? A simple google search will easily give you a list of exercises that we can do to arrive at the information we need and we have a wide variety of tools that we can morph or use as is based on our needs.
You can come up with a RAIDD (Risk, Assumption, Issue, Dependency & Decision) log taking into consideration the information gleaned from each activity.
Ok, (dusting hands!) now that that is done, what else do we need?
The peripherals of course!. We need the surrounding support structure to exist for us to have a well oiled team. They are (you guessed it right)
- Ways of working → the flow of stories, the tools we will use, the folks who will have a say in the decision making process & so on
- Meeting cadence → Client availability for tech huddles, analysis calls, showcases, iteration planning, standup & so on
- Governance process (the magic word that clients look for!)
Remember to factor in the nuances based on the factors mentioned at the start of this page and you are all set!
Below is a simple structure for an inception plan
Have fun planning!
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*also known as the number of parallel streams we can run, which in turn will tell usthe number of developers weneed on the team!