Prepare creates the foundation for the project to begin as efficiently as possible, and reduces the risk of wasting time while the team is blocked.
Prepare includes training the team ready to start the project, setting up any environments needed and gathering data needed to execute the project, then holding a kickoff meeting to get the project started, refining the backlog with Direct Capture of Objectives (DCO) sessions while you finalize development standards for the development team and initiate project governance.
Before you kick-off the project, there are certain prerequisites and logistics that must be in place. Some of these prerequisites require early planning and lead times, such as provisioning environments and ordering necessary hardware where appropriate. Key activities include identification and enablement of the project team, alignment on the MLP for the first production release and readiness to begin project kickoff. The Project Readiness Assessment will assist you in laying the foundations for a successful project.
To maximize outcomes from the first Sprint and forward, prepare a well-defined enablement plan for the whole team, identifying training before the project kicks off, as well as ongoing just-in-time training and certification plans. You will also gather current processes and data needs, the team is enabled, environments are provisioned and the MLP is confirmed, the team is now fully ready to move forward.
This pre-work reduces the ambiguity around what is in scope for the first release, and defines the data which needs to be curated and copied to the various environments to facilitate development and testing.
One of the most important outcomes is to ensure the team understands the business objectives for the project. You need to clearly understand and articulate the end solution which the project will implement and the processes that will be followed to deliver this project.
Before you start your actual development work, especially on your first project, it is easy to exhaust considerable time without a very prescriptive approach to prepare up front.
Outcomes are maximized when the project team understands what you are building, why you are building it, and how you will govern the project delivery process. Ultimately, your goal is to follow a set of repeatable processes, Sprint after Sprint, to minimize time and effort wasted in re-creating different processes as the project progresses. While you expect a certain level of adaptation, as per Scrum principles, baseline project governance, development standards and other repeatable processes should be standardized and consistently followed. This Phase lays the foundation for those project management methods.
The project team works with the Product Owner to ensure that all key stakeholders and the project team are fully aligned and understand the scope and solution of the project. Plan a project kickoff to review the governance plan, the issue and risk tracking processes, the escalation and communication processes and other governance related dimensions so every team member is clear on their personas and how each role interacts and interfaces with others on the team. This helps reduce risks for things falling through the cracks on unresolved issues or unmitigated risks from sabotaging the project. In this Phase, you are also creating a strategy for the DCO sessions, with an initial plan to layout which Product Backlog items will be discussed during the regular DCO meetings based on the product’s roadmap for the initial release. This is your opportunity to align expectations for development and governance processes and other “rules of engagement’ which will pave the path for smooth delivery.
It is important at this stage to stress User Experience – the goal is not just to deliver a working application, but to deliver one that is easy and intuitive to use. It is important to consider these usability issues early on, and incorporate UX/UI reviews throughout the project.
You assess your Readiness to exit the Prepare Phase and start the Build phase, by making sure your environments are provisioned, Case Types for the initial release/MLP are confirmed, your team is enabled, and you have gathered current process and data information.