Set-up

GETTING READY

Due to the challenge an inception addresses, getting it right is not easy. Consequently, preparation and having the right conditions in place are vital.

As part of this step, we:

  1. Get up to speed

  2. Line up our team

  3. Define Inception Goals

By doing this, we are able to successfully design, plan and run an inception.

Preparation is key. Please don’t run an inception without having enough time to prepare.

Get up to speed <1d

A strong understanding of the client’s wider context is critical to asking the right questions. Before you start, spend a few hours doing some research to inform your thinking:

  • Analyse the brief

  • Speak with existing client contacts and clarify any immediate questions

  • Conduct lightweight research on industry, client and problem domain

Line up your team <1hr

Ideally, the team that will run the inception should be involved in designing and planning it too.

Our teams are cross-functional and at a minimum, include:

  • Delivery

  • Product

  • Technology

See Plan an inception: deep dive for more information.

Define the inception goals <1hr

Explicitly call out the overall inception goal, and what each participant and group is trying to achieve through the inception. This will be your lifeline and your focus throughout.

Ensure it aligns with the brief and known constraints, whether they relate to time, money, your values or anything else.

After finishing these set-up activities, you are ready to move on to design the inception.

Pro tips

We get a lot of information and context during pitches, which form a great starting point for planning and running inceptions. Where we haven’t pitched, we need to factor this in.

Involve those running the inception in its planning. There’s nothing worse than having to run a workshop you haven’t planned yourself or don’t fully understand. Be aware of the time it may take to setup the team.

What’s even worse is having to deliver an initiative when you haven’t negotiated the scope, constraints and approach, and you have no context. We recommend that the group that designs/plans/runs the inception should do the delivery.

While an experienced team can prepare an inception in a relatively short period, allowing for elapsed time so things can ‘stew’ leads to a better agenda and outcomes.

Push back on any inception that ‘needs to be run tomorrow’. You really want the time to prepare properly.

Don’t run an inception with a team entirely new to inceptions or generally quite junior. You will want at least some old hands in the mix.