First let me state that I believe in a hybrid model for a successful project that helps keep the totality of the project on tract and people focused on the end goal. Combining waterfall, scrums and sprints with Kanban to create product faster allow for pivots to keep cost and time rained in!
Here’s the only commercial I give the the tool I like that’s lets me use combined styles and report to management teams on the project the way they want to see it is OrangeScrum.com. I also like that it lets me handle communication like Basecamp, but where Basecamp falls short on tasks and timelines we get from OrangeScrum.com.
Ok back project inception is your view for dispelling the fog and mystery around your project. A collection of ten critical questions and exercises you be nuts not ask before starting your project.
How it Works
The idea behind the project inception is that if we can get the right people in the room asking the right questions, this will do wonders for collectively setting expectations about our project. By putting the team through a series of exercises capturing the output on a slide deck usually PowerPoint, we can collectively get a pretty good idea about what this project is, and what it is, and what’s going to take to deliver.
The right people for the project inception are anyone directly involved in the project. This includes customers, stakeholders, team members, developers, testers, analysts anyone who can materially contribute to the effort and effective execution of the project. Don’t be shy speak up and make sure people show up!
It is also really important that you get the stakeholders involved, because the project inception is not only a tool for project managers but also for stakeholders to help them make the critical go and no go decisions on whether we should even proceed...
A typical project inception back can take anywhere from a couple of days to about two weeks to create. It is good for about six months of the project planning and should be revisited anytime there is a major change “Pivot Point” in the Sprint or project.
That’s because the project inception is a living breathing document. It’s not something we do once and then file way only to become a fossil. Upon completion, teams like to put it up on the wall in their work areas to let it serve as a reminder about what they are working on and why.
Of course, the questions and exercises presented here are just the beginning. You’re going to think of other questions, exercises, and things you are going to want to clarify before you start.
So, use this as a starting point, but don’t follow it blindly or be afraid to change it up to make it work for your own use.
The inception in a nutshell
Here’s a high, level overview of the project inception questions and exercises:
- Ask why we are here.
- This is a quick reminder about why we are here, who are customers are, and why we decided to do this project in the first place.
- Create an elevator pitch.
- If we had 30 seconds and two sentences describe her project, what would we say?
- Design a product box.
- If we were flipping through a magazine and saw an advertisement for our product or service, what would it say, and, more importantly, would we buy it?
- Create a not list.
- It is pretty clear what we want to do on this project. Let us be even clear and show what we are not doing.
- Meet your neighbors.
- Our project community is always bigger than we think. Why don’t we invite them over for a coffee and introduce ourselves?
- Show the solution.
- Let us draw the high level reprints of the technical architecture to make sure we are all thinking of the same thing.
- Ask what keeps us up at night.
- Some of the things that happen on projects are downright scary. But talking about them, and what we can do to avoid them, to make them less scary.
- Size it up.
- Is this the thing a three, six, or nine-month project?
- Write some of the big block efforts - is this a Chihuahua, Beagle, Husky or Great Dane.
- The clear on what is going to give.
- Projects have levers like time, scope, legend, and quality. What is most and least important for this project at this time?
- Show it is going to take.
- How long is it going to take? How much will it cost? And what kind of team are we going to need to pull this off?
I hope this helps you get started on your project and give you some things to think about. We will discuss further points on the project and some of the items we discussed above in future posts.
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