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Inception Workshop: Kickstarting an Agile project

A talk by dtsato and jwong at XP2010

About the Talk

June 4, 2010 9:00 AM

Trondheim, Norway

Trondheim, Norway

Agile has shown that doing prolonged analysis upfront bears little to no value to the customer. However, doing none means the project lacks the direction that it needs. The question is, how much analysis is enough before the project starts?

Often times, the inception activities can set a project up for success or failure. In this 3-hour workshop, we aim to give an introduction of how an intensive, focused series of activities can kickstart a project. Led by a Business Analyst and a Developer, the participants will simulate a short inception that shapes a project from concept to delivery.


Participants will simulate a project inception in a condensed manner. They will be given a business problem by the project sponsors. Working in small groups, they will use a selection of activities to define the problem, and help shape the development project that will follow the inception. Participants will take part in the following, lasting 20 minutes each:

  • Product in a box
  • Speedboat and anchors
  • Business process mapping / capability mapping
  • Writing stories using personas & prioritisation
  • RAID (Risks, Assumptions, Issues, Dependencies) analysis

At the end of the activities, the participants will present their inception findings to the project sponsor as well as the group.

The session will also highlight the following concepts:

  • Identifying project stakeholders
  • UX (user experience) involvement in a project inception, when, why, and how
  • The importance of identifying personas
  • Writing Stories & defining acceptance criteria
  • How to map functional requirements
  • Technical strategy
  • Non-functional requirements

Learning outcomes

  • Discuss the importance of analysis in Agile projects
  • Learn and discuss what happens at the start of a project
  • Learn how the technical strategy is affected by business definition
  • How to plan and prioritise (and re-plan, re-prioritise)
  • How to capture risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies, and manage stakeholders of a project
  • Practice how to gather requirements and how to manage them throughout the project

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