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Agile Inception: align the team for success. Techniques to allow teams to align on what they are going to deliver.

The toolkit

The aim of the Inception stage of a project increases the team's confidence in the costs and benefits involved. This is done by allowing teams to understand the project and break the idea down into medium sized blocks that can be prioritised and delivered using a Just In Time approach.

Usually lasting up to 10% of the overall project time frame, Inception helps the the team to form around understanding the project and what is needed to deliver the right things at the right time.

This gives a shared sense of purpose and allows them to adapt to priority changes from the Product Owner by providing alternatives that align with the product vision.

The output of Inception is a Go / No Go decision for the project now the team has a more detailed understanding of the effort involved and the expected returns.

  • Customers & Personas

    Customers & Personas

    Looking at Customers and Personas allow the team to ensure that any product or solution appeals to the needs and desires of the end users. By understaning the customers the team are targeting, it also allows them to understand who is not targetted.

  • PTEST Mindmap

    PTEST allows the team to structure the project functional requirements into a heriarchy of Themes, Epics and Stories. By using a mindmap the team can rapidly define the initial scope for each Epic Level requirements.

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  • NFR Mindmap

    NRFs help to define how the system should operate, and how the solution must cater for the key aspects of Performance, Availability, Reliability, Recoverability, Integrity, Scalability, Security & Servicability.

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  • Elevator Pitch

    The Elevator Pitch allows teams to articulate why they are here and what the vision for the project is. By ensuring that the pitch is in place and understood by all, it reduces the risk of misalignment within the inception stage.

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  • CSF & KPIs

    Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help to define what success looks like for the project. The metrics identified should be SMART and should focus on IT, Business and Customer satisfaction.

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  • Project Team

    Identifying the team needed to deliver the project. This includes both roles and individuals and will identify both the core team who will be involved day to day and the extended team who will be involved at certain points.

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  • Stakeholders

    Understanding the interest and the influence of key stakeholders will ensure that the team are able to ensure that everyone is involved at the correct time thoughout the change delivery.

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  • UX / Designs

    Visualising how the product will look and interact when used by customers will help the team validate functional requirements. It will also help with delivery by ensuring key design artefacts are ready ahead of time.

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  • Business Architecture Change

    Understanding the ripple effect of the change within the business is key to identifing the cost associated with delivering the project. This stage helps looks at the post launch landscape and what is needed to get us there.

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  • Data Changes

    This stage looks at questions such as... How will theinformation that the organisation holds change? How will this impact the information that we hold about the customers? What regulation could be affected by the change?

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  • Candidate Architecture

    This looks at the technical solution and helps the team to articulate how they are expecting to build it. This includes identifying which technologies will be used and how the solution would interact with existing systems.

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  • Backlog & Estimates

    Understanding the backlog helps the tema to identify how much work there is by assessing how big the components are. They can also identify where the complexity is and how confident they are in the deliverables.

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  • Risks & Spikes

    Understanding what may derail the team during the project lets them address the concerns ahead of time. The output of the risks may be Spikes or POCs which may form part of the exit criteria to inception.

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  • Costs & Benefits

    Usually focas is placed on how much the project will cost to deliver. This stage looks at any additional costs to the product post go-live. It also helps focus on refining the benefit estimate from earlier stages.

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  • Epic Board

    The Epic Board provides the answer to 'What is the Delivery Plan'. By understanding the order of features to be delivered, Risks and dependancies can be managed to remove any blockers to delivery.

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  • Release Proposition

    Understanding how we're going to ship the product to the end customer lets the team identify the cost / benefit of each release. This is key in focusing the team on releasing value in incremental chunks.

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  • ROI Projections

    The ultimate aim of inception is for the team to communicate when they expect the value to be delivered and how they will be able to maximise ROI as early as possible within the project.

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