Arturo Herrero

Agile Inception

Many projects die before being released, mainly for two reasons:

  • They fail to ask the right questions.
  • They don’t have the courage to ask the difficult questions.

Before a project begins, each team member has a different idea of what the project is and how it should be approached in order to succeed.

The Agile Samurai, by Jonathan Rasmusson, describes the Agile Project Inception.

Basically, the book suggests we should consider a series of questions before starting any project. The idea behind this is to bring the project to its true essence, defining and communicating that vision between all team members.

10 Questions

1. Why are we here?

This is the first and most obvious question. It is a reminder of why we are here, who are our customers, and why we decided to do this project.

2. Create an elevator pitch

If we had thirty seconds and two sentences to describe our project, what would we say?

3. Design a product box

If we flip through a magazine and see an advertisement of our product or service, what would it say? And most, importantly, would you like to buy it?

4. Create a NOT List

We have a clear idea about what we are going to do in this project. Let’s try to be clearer and see what we will not do.

5. Know your community

The community of our project is always bigger than we think.

6. Show the solution

Consider, on a high-level, what architecture and technologies we are going to use.

7. Ask what keeps us up at night

There are a thousand things that could go wrong in our projects. Some we can handle; others we can’t. This exercise is about making sure we identify the risks.

8. Size it up

Is it a three, six or nine months project?

9. What are your priorities?

All projects have constraints, such as time, money, scope or quality. What are the most -and least- important things for this project, at this time?

10. How much is it?

How much is it? Who are you going to need for your team?