While more and more clients and teams ‘get it’, we sometimes get questioned when we propose running an inception. This is how we respond:
I like the idea of this ‘Inception’. Just remind me, how do I explain it to my colleagues?
An inception is a lightweight set of activities to align on what we’re going to achieve, and how we will get there.
It’s the minimum amount of work needed, to start delivering the right thing. We’ll look at people, processes, scope, technology, risks, dependencies, constraints etc...
This sounds expensive. Is it worth it?
The upfront cost of an inception is outweighed multiple times by the cost of potentially building the wrong thing.
What’s the impact if we find out in 6 months that we need to start again? What if we could have identified and mitigated this risk during an inception?
We have ambitious deadlines – is it really worth spending time just talking about what we want to do?
You’re right: this is why we will only focus on the core questions we need answers to, to get the team started on delivery.
The time needed will vary depending on the size of the challenge, and can be broken into smaller workshops.
Isn’t that like waterfall? Why don’t we start delivering in Sprints right away?
Not quite: inceptions aren’t a project phase, but a set of activities we run before (and during) delivery. We only go so far with the detail, because identifying everything upfront is risky, will affect our agility and likely result in rework.
Is this really needed? Our stakeholders are very busy.
Inceptions help us protect your time in the long run. By spending this time upfront, we can reduce certain questions that will come your way throughout delivery.
Fortunately we have done requirements elicitation already, I can share the business requirements doc with you so we can get right into solution design.
Excellent! We’ll definitely leverage the work done so far in the inception.
We’ll also need to understand the context around the requirements (what assumptions do we need to validate?) and agree on how we’ll work together: both core components of an inception.
We don’t need all those people involved, it would just add noise. The initiative sponsor and programme director can tell you everything.
Inceptions are designed to reduce noise: making sure we have the right people in the right sessions. With diverse inputs, we’ll havea better chance to ask nuanced contextual questions. We will also be able to build the relationships needed during delivery to ensure we are able to work at pace.
That’s great. Then we’ll have all the answers and all details we need to deliver.
We will definitely have enough information to start delivery. During delivery, we’ll work through lower levels of detail, so new questions will arise which we’ll work together to answer.