Kicking off a new Agile project is always a challenge. You obviously need to ‘collaboratively’ establish an initial sense of direction – a broad understanding of the outcomes you hope to achieve, the features that you believe would help achieve those outcomes, etc. – but without delving too deep into detailed specifications that create a false sense of certainty and will ultimately become out of date the moment real users start using your product.
In other words, you need to strike a balance – to do just enough planning at the outset. Not too much, not too little.
This becomes infinitely more challenging with large and complex projects, especially in organizations that are new to Agile. Determining what constitutes ‘just enough’ may seem easy and straightforward, but it is rarely so.
In this highly practical, step-by-step book, I describe the approach I’ve used with over 50 Agile teams to initiate large Agile projects and create that much-needed early alignment. I elaborate on the three core Initiation dimensions (Product, Process, and People) that a cross-functional team of technical specialists, business subject matter experts, customer representatives, 3rd party partners, and other stakeholders will explore during the 3 weeks comprising this initiation period (the Initiation Sprint). Mastering this technique will ensure that the reader has the tools they need to successfully initiate a large Agile project and set their team up for success.
To show how the concepts and activities discussed in the book are applied in real life, I used a recent Initiation Sprint I facilitated for a large bank as a case study, detailing the different activities and exercises we embarked on as we initiated the project – exploring the problem, creating a shared understanding of what success means to our customers and to the business, and discussing the features that will help us achieve that success.