What’s the outcome of an Inception?

KNOWING WHAT TO DO NEXT AND BEING SET UP TO DO IT

An inception answers the following questions:

  • What must we achieve, and why?

  • Do we agree that this is a good thing to do?

  • How will we achieve this?

  • How long will it take and how much will it cost?

  • What could possibly go wrong?

  • What will we do next (and then in the mid / long term)?

  • What do we need in place to start

In answering these questions, we create a range of deliverables. These help us with making the call on whether to continue, and if so, how we can hit the ground running.

Inceptions are not anti-agile. We often need a light plan to enable the team to know what to do next. The plan and costs also empower our clients with data to make better- informed decisions.

MAKING THE CALL: SHOULD WE CONTINUE?

A successful inception will give us enough insight to make a decision on whether to:

  1. Continue with the initiative: Where we decide to continue, an inception results in a statement of the problem and solution, as well as the delivery approach and plan.

  2. Pivot:When we decide to pivot, we may need to run a discovery to validate the new problem statement, and then run a lighter inception to de-risk delivery.

  3. Stop: This can often be hard due to the sunk cost fallacy, or good old politics. But sometimes, this is the right thing to do. When we decide to stop, it’s a good idea to provide a bit of space for the team to process the implications.

IF WE CONTINUE: HIT THE GROUND RUNNING

If we decide that the right thing to do is to continue with delivery, we will generally create deliverables covering the:

  • Goals and scope - What we will do and why

  • Solution approach - What the solution will ‘look like’ and how we will deliver, covering functional and technological aspects, as well as processes and ways of working

  • Risks and dependencies - Where to be careful

  • Plan and cost - An overview of when to expect what, and the required capabilities and resources

  • Playback deck - A summary of findings and recommendations

These deliverables will be reasonably high level with just enough detail to make the call and shape the overall delivery. There is often more detail for the very first iteration so we can hit the ground running.

The next page has an overview of some typical deliverables.