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Agile Project Inception Workshop- Getting Aligned and Making Commitments

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Sponsors of development projects generally want to know what they are going to get, when they are going to get it, and how much it will cost *before* they make the commitment to "purchase". In many businesses, while the software development process may be Agile, the reality is that other functions in the business - Documentation, Training, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Business Planning - need to know what's coming well in advance. When starting an Agile project these stakeholder needs must be met if the team is to get off on the right track, and be allowed to proceed without undue outside interference.

Centred on the use of the "Inception Deck", participants will learn techniques to kick off an Agile project that will help them to:

1. Create a shared understanding around the project’s goals.

2. Identify and understand risk on the project.

3. Build a high level plan for the project and setting the ground rules for change on the project.

4. Get agreement on a set of “project bounds” for scope/content, schedule/delivery, and resources/cost, to allow the project team to proceed independently and make their own decisions as the project progresses.

This session co-presented and pair-facilitated by Bill Bourne and Caroline Sauve

This workshop was presented at the Gatineau-Ottawa Agile Tour, November 24th, 2014. #GOAT14 http://goagiletour.ca/en/

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Agile Project Inception Workshop- Getting Aligned and Making Commitments

  1. 1. Agile Project Inception Workshop Getting Aligned and Making Commitments 1 Bill Bourne & Caroline Sauvé Gatineau-Ottawa Agile Tour 2014 #GOAT14 November 24th, 2014 This chart package will be available on-line, along with reference resources.
  2. 2. Caroline Sauvé Lean and Agile Coach @caro_sauve https://agilemeditation.wordpress.com/ http://boldradius.com/blog Who Are We? Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 2 Bill Bourne Development Leader @abbourne ca.linkedin.com/in/williambourne/ bill@sourceform.ca www.sourceform.ca
  3. 3. Why go through project inception? What problems are we solving? 3Agile Project Inception #GOAT14
  4. 4. Project Family Car Project Description: “As a driver I want to buy a 4 door car for my family. It should be economical and reliable.” Framed as a software project, before I “buy”, I need to know:  What I will get?  How long it will take?  What it will cost? Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 4
  5. 5. Project Family Car Project Description: “As a driver I want to buy a 4 door car for my family. It should be economical and reliable.” Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 5 “No problem! We should be able to get started in two months and we’ll probably take about 3 months to build and test it. Assuming (of course) that the team doesn’t get pulled on to building or repairing another car. We’ll plan out the build together and give you regular “show and tells” to review progress every couple of weeks.” In House Agile Development Point of View…
  6. 6. Project Family Car Project Description: “As a driver I want to buy a 4 door car for my family. It should be economical and reliable.” Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 6 “No problem! It will cost about $20K to $30K. We’ll assign 1 junior engineer to build it. We’ll deliver it in 2 to 3 months, and we’ll give you demos of progress every 2 weeks. We’ll work out the detailed features as we go. Please sign here!!!” Consultant Point of View…
  7. 7. Project Family Car Project Description: “As a driver I want to buy a 4 door car for my family. It should be economical and reliable.”  Four Doors  Economical?  Reliable?  Family Car???? Framed as a software project, what do each of the stakeholders believe will fulfill the vision or need expressed by the driver? Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 7
  8. 8. Four door, Economical, Reliable Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 8
  9. 9. Project Family Car Project Description: “As a driver I want to buy a 4 door car for my family. It should be economical and reliable.”  Does the driver have a place to park the car?  Does the driver have license to drive? How long will it take for him to get a license?  Does the driver have “family activities” that we should be aware of?  Does the driver live in chilly Ottawa or warm San Francisco? Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 9
  10. 10. Project Family Car Project Description: “As a driver I want to buy a 4 door car for my family. It should be economical and reliable.” “The car needs to have a top speed that beats a Bugatti Veyron… that’s never been done before.” “The paint color has been changed 5 times because it’s not quite right… the team is getting frustrated because they aren’t done building the engine.” “Driver wants the car to also be able to tow his new boat.” Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 10
  11. 11. 10 Questions You’d be Crazy not to ask Before you Start Your Next Project Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 11 r Ask tough questions early, when its cheap to change Take a few days or so for every couple of months of project duration Project Bounds Shrink as Time goes by Neighbors can be a big help Too late! Find risks early
  12. 12. The Source Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 12 Project chartering is a gap in Agile methods. There’s value in identifying major gaps early. The Inception Deck is a lightweight Agile project chartering technique… https://pragprog.com/book/jtrap/the-agile-samurai
  13. 13. Project Inception Outcomes 1. Creating a Shared Understanding 2. Understanding and Managing Risk 3. Product Context and Estimation 4. Putting it All Together – Go Forward! Workshop Rules: A. Ask questions - we’re here to help! B. Smart phones welcomed to support your work. C. Work as a team. D. Have fun! 13
  14. 14. Settle In With Your Team  Introduce yourself  Where you are from  What role you play on a project  What you are hoping to learn from this session  Bonus points (purely optional)  A past or current stressor on a project Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 14
  15. 15. Inception Deck A. Creating a Shared Understanding 1. Ask why we are here 2. Create an elevator pitch 3. Design a product box 4. Create a NOT list B. Understanding and Managing Risk 5. Meet your neighbors 6. Show the solution 7. What keeps us up at night C. Product Context and Estimation 8. Size it up 9. What’s going to give D. Putting it All Together 10. What’s it going to take  Create the Project Bounds  Customize the Inception Deck  Keep it Agile and Fun! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 15
  16. 16. Inception Deck Purpose  Eliminate confusion and misuderstanding  Set Expectations  Highlight Challenges  Get Alignment  Build the sense of Team  Do this before you write a single line of code! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 16
  17. 17. Inception Deck Principles  It’s a “deck” not a document  Don’t get attached to the deck itself.  The 5 Cs:  Stimulate Conversations  Encourage Collaborations  Develop shared understanding – Consensus  Allow for Creativity  Its about Communication Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 17
  18. 18. Create a Shared Understanding A. Creating a Shared Understanding 1. Ask why we are here 2. Create an elevator pitch 3. Design a product box 4. Create a NOT list B. Understanding and Managing Risk 5. Meet your neighbors 6. Show the solution 7. What keeps us up at night C. Product Context and Estimation 8. Size it up 9. What’s going to give D. Putting it All Together 10. What’s it going to take  Create the Project Bounds  Customize the Inception Deck  Keep it Agile and Fun! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 18
  19. 19. Create Shared Understanding 1. Ask why we are here (Really)  Teams make 1000s of decisions and tradeoffs  Goal + Decisions = Impact  Team needs to know why…  Motivate the team!  Empower self-organization Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 19 What is the #1 reason for doing this project?
  20. 20. Create Shared Understanding 2. Create an Elevator Pitch – 30 seconds  Forces hard conversations happen:  Who is it for?  How is it different?  Why will people buy it?  What’s its value?  What’s the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 20 Brings Clarity and Focus to Project
  21. 21. Create Shared Understanding 2. Create an Elevator Pitch – 30 seconds Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 21
  22. 22. Create Shared Understanding 2. Create an Elevator Pitch – 30 seconds Project Description: “As a driver I want to buy a 4 door car for my family. It should be economical and reliable.” For “drivers” Who “want an economical and reliable car” The “CarolineAndBillMobile” Is a “Family Car” That “hummm….” Unlike “derp derp…” Our product “meep meep meeps…” Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 22
  23. 23. Create Shared Understanding 3. What if your product was a box  What would it look like?  Would you buy?  Features -> Benefits Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 23
  24. 24. Create Shared Understanding 3. What if your product was a box  What would it look like?  Would you buy?  Features -> Benefits Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 24 • 555 HP engine • 0-100 km/h in 4.7 sec • Brake energy regeneration • All wheel drive Features
  25. 25. Create Shared Understanding 3. What if your product was a box  What would it look like?  Would you buy?  Features -> Benefits Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 25 • 555 HP engine • 0-100 km/h in 4.7 sec • Brake energy regeneration • All wheel drive Features • Pass easy on highway • Impress your friends • Save money • Never get stuck Benefits
  26. 26. Create Shared Understanding 3. What if your product was a box – What’s on the box  List the benefits (at least 3 compelling reasons why someone would buy)  Create a slogan – something catchy  (go ahead and be cheesy!)  Draw your creation  Why would we buy?  Clarity  Focus  Alignment  Intent Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 26
  27. 27. Create Shared Understanding 4. Create a “Not” List (Scope)  How do you tell someone what’s IN scope for their project? Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 27
  28. 28. Create Shared Understanding 4. Create a “Not” List (Scope)  How do you tell someone what’s IN scope for their project? Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 28
  29. 29. Exercise Lego Desk Accessory Builder Kit  Answer “why are we here?”  Create the elevator pitch  Design a product box  Create a “not” list Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 29
  30. 30. Understanding and Manage Risk A. Creating a Shared Understanding 1. Ask why we are here 2. Create an elevator pitch 3. Design a product box 4. Create a NOT list B. Understanding and Managing Risk 5. Meet your neighbors 6. Show the solution 7. What keeps us up at night C. Product Context and Estimation 8. Size it up 9. What’s going to give D. Putting it All Together 10. What’s it going to take  Create the Project Bounds  Customize the Inception Deck  Keep it Agile and Fun! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 30
  31. 31. Understanding & Managing Risk 5. Meet Your Neighbours  Your project community is always bigger than you think Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 31
  32. 32. Understanding & Managing Risk 5. Meet Your Neighbours  Your project community is always bigger than you think Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 32 Technical Writers Training Product Support Help Desk Professional Services Security Trials Team Sales Account Teams Production Support Database Administrators Installation TeamsEveryone Else!
  33. 33. Understanding & Managing Risk 5. Meet Your Neighbours  The Greater Community: Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 33
  34. 34. Understanding & Managing Risk 6. Show the Solution  You pick your architecture … when you pick your team! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 34
  35. 35. Understanding & Managing Risk 6. Show the Solution  Your pick your architecture … when you pick your team! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 35
  36. 36. Understanding & Managing Risk 7. What keeps us up at night?  Surface risky assumptions  New requirements and stakeholders  What you know you don’t know  What you don’t know, you don’t know Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 36
  37. 37. Understanding & Managing Risk 7. What keeps us up at night?  Talk to your neighbours! Hear from the “other side” as well as team members  If you hear something crazy… get it out there!  Better now than leaving it to later  But don’t create a:  “Whine chart”  “Cover Your Ass chart” Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 37
  38. 38. Understanding & Managing Risk 7. What keeps us up at night?  Avoid whining and CYA Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 38
  39. 39. Understanding & Managing Risk 7. What keeps us up at night?  Conduct a project “Pre-Mortem” A. Get the team together … plan for an hour or so B. Imagine a fiasco … the project totally failing…. so bad its embarrassing C. Ask “What could have caused this?” Each person (on their own) generates possible reasons for the fiasco D. Consolidate the Lists E. Prioritize the items, and pick a few “hot topics” F. Re-visit the plan G. Rinse and Repeat – review the list every so often. Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 39
  40. 40. Exercise Lego Desk Accessory Builder Kit  Meet the Neighbours  Conduct a mini Pre- Mortem. Role play some of the neighbours. Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 40
  41. 41. Product Context and Estimation A. Creating a Shared Understanding 1. Ask why we are here 2. Create an elevator pitch 3. Design a product box 4. Create a NOT list B. Understanding and Managing Risk 5. Meet your neighbors 6. Show the solution 7. What keeps us up at night C. Product Context and Estimation 8. Size it up 9. What’s going to give D. Putting it All Together 10. What’s it going to take  Create the Project Bounds  Customize the Inception Deck  Keep it Agile and Fun! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 41 1? 3 ? 6 mont hs? Monday, 13 August, 12
  42. 42. Product Context and Estimation 8. Size It Up  Recognize you are guessing!  You do need a good, reviewed, Product Backlog to estimate from.  If the Product Backlog is unstable, its too early to estimate  Use the “law of large numbers” to your advantage  The estimate for each User Story does not need to be accurate, just unbiased.  Some will be high, some will be low… so the overall estimate will come out “about” right Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 42
  43. 43. Product Context and Estimation 8. Size It Up  Make sure your sponsors/stakeholders see this! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 43 Guestimation Add user Print itinerary Cancel trip Book permit Update permit Search Create device Add swap trade Add option Cancel plan Master story list
  44. 44. Product Context and Estimation 8. Size It Up  Think Small – Break up a large project if necessary Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 44 Think small 1 2 3 6 9 12 months Risk Project length (Randy Mott) Monday, 13 August, 12
  45. 45. Product Context and Estimation 9. Be Clear on What’s Going to Give  Need to deal with “too much to do and not enough time” Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 45
  46. 46. Product Context and Estimation 9. Be Clear on What’s Going to Give  Need to deal with “too much to do and not enough time” Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 46 Time Budget Quality Scope
  47. 47. Product Context and Estimation 9. Be Clear on What’s Going to Give  Use Trade-off Sliders Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 47 • They can’t all be ‘ON’ • No two can occupy the same level • Quality should probably be excluded, or always be ‘ON’ • Low quality is ultimately expensive, slows the project, and increases costs. But these are not enough…..
  48. 48. Product Context and Estimation 9. Be Clear on What’s Going to Give  Use Trade-off Sliders Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 48 Include other important stuff……
  49. 49. Exercise Lego Desk Accessory Builder Kit  Create Project Sliders Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 49
  50. 50. Putting It All Together A. Creating a Shared Understanding 1. Ask why we are here 2. Create an elevator pitch 3. Design a product box 4. Create a NOT list B. Understanding and Managing Risk 5. Meet your neighbors 6. Show the solution 7. What keeps us up at night C. Product Context and Estimation 8. Size it up 9. What’s going to give D. Putting it All Together 10. What’s it going to take  Create the Project Bounds  Customize the Inception Deck  Keep it Agile and Fun! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 50 Time Budget Quality Scope Monday, 13 August, 12 1.How much? Monday, 13 August, 12 2.When? Monday, 13 August, 12 Monday, 13 August, 12 How Much? When? What Will it Take? “The Furious Four” “What Every Executive Wants to Know”
  51. 51. Putting it All Together 10.What’s it Going to Take? Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 51
  52. 52. Putting it All Together 10.What’s it Going to Take?  Be Clear on Your Team Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 52 Put anyone (or skill) you feel is necessary for the success of the project on this list
  53. 53. Putting it All Together 10.What’s it Going to Take?  Be Clear on the Resources You Need Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 53 Put the resources you need to be effective and complete the project # Item Description Why 6 PC Desktops For developers 2 Windows Surface RT For testing with 3 Linux Servers For back end development & testing Access to current production system Need logs and performance data Dedicated LAN and WiFi system & test equipment Network performance impairment test equipment. Load balancer To to test system performance when network is impaired.
  54. 54. Putting it All Together 10.What’s it Going to Take?  Clarify Who’s Calling the Shots Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 54
  55. 55. Create Your “Project Bounds”  Describes when an Agile Team needs to escalate change decisions to stakeholders.  The Agile team must be allowed to be self-organizing and make their own decisions on the day-to-day execution of the project.  However at some point, when changes exceed a certain agreed point, then the decisions on how to handle the change must be brought to the “stakeholders” Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 55 Time Budget Quality Scope
  56. 56. Sample Project Bounds  Describe when an Agile Team need to escalate change decisions to stakeholders, and when stakeholders need to escalate to Agile Team  “Out of Bounds” is not always negative! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 56 Criteria Value Range Notes Date: May 15th, 2015 +/- 4 Weeks Scope: All product backlog epic stories listed as “anchor” 30%-60% of the epics listed as “important” Budget: $300,000 +/- 20% Staffing 7 person scrum team assuming regular vacation schedules +/- 3 person months Loss of staff, extended illness, new SME staff need to be added, etc Quality Whether this should be on the project bounds is debatable Other
  57. 57. Customize the Inception Deck  Be flexible … you don’t always need every slide  Add or adapt slides if it will help with understanding  Keep the deck visible at all times  Update certain activities as it makes sense (e.g. elevator pitch; what keeps you up at night?)  Several adaptations out there... Check ‘em out! Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 57
  58. 58. Summary The inception deck outcomes… 1. Creating a Shared Understanding 2. Understanding and Managing Risk 3. Product Context and Estimation 4. Putting it All Together – Go Forward!  Hard questions, hard conversations…  It’s about establishing safety.  Cost of delay: client, team, business. Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 58
  59. 59. Parting Thoughts  Keep it Agile and Fun  Focus on the conversations, collaboration and shared understanding  Don’t be afraid to have the difficult conversations  You can use the Inception Deck at “Concept” and “Commit” Gates when using Agile under a Phase Gate Process  Agile software development under a Phase Gate “top level” product development process Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 59
  60. 60. References  “The Agile Samurai”, Jonathan Rasmusson, https://pragprog.com/book/jtrap/the-agile-samurai  “Agile Project Initiation Techniques – The Inception Deck and Boot Camp”, Jonathan Rasmusson, http://rasmusson.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/rasmusson-agileinceptiondeckbootcamp.pdf  The Agile Warrior Blog – The Agile Inception Deck https://agilewarrior.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/the-agile-inception-deck/  The Agile Warrior Blog – Blank Agile Inception Deck Template https://agilewarrior.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/blank-agile-inception-deck-template/ and http://anoriginalidea.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/powerpoint-inception-deck-template-for-the-agile- samurai/  Nine Agile Steps that Injected magic into our project http://nomad8.com/9-agile-steps-that- injected-magic-into-our-project/  “Introducing Agility into a Phase Gate Process”, Construx, V1.1, 2011 http://www.construx.com/Resources/White_Papers/Introducing_Agility_into_a_Phase_Gate_Proce ss/  An excellent paper on how Agile processes can fit effectively “under” a traditional end-to-end phase gate process.  Project Pre-Mortems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-mortem https://hbr.org/2007/09/performing- a-project-premortem http://www.wdtb.noaa.gov/courses/risk-comms/module_2/documents/pre- mortem.pdf  “Project Success Sliders”, Mountain Goat Software http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/tools/project-success  Also check out the other tools on Mike Cohn’s site Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 60
  61. 61. Thank you Agile Project Inception #GOAT14 61

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