Enablement via Business Discovery and inception

29 Jun 2021 | Inception Activities

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Please find in this post another example of what happens before and after a Lean Inception.

Below are the planned agenda for the first two weeks of a new engagement, an enablement work consisting of one week of business discovery, followed by one week inception and a dozen weeks of design and deliver.

Week 1 is about understanding the context and the options and to select a initiative – pilot project, the vocabulary used by this client. Week 2 was a Lean Inception for the selected pilot project.

Even though it was named pilot project, it was following a product approach. On week 1 the team got a better business understanding about the client needs. The team got to know more about the possible / desired initiative candidates. The team got information about existing UX research. And then compared the options and selected an initiative of go for the Lean Inception.

Week 2 was a Lean Inception for the selected initiative and the squad.

Week 3 and beyond was about enabling the team to deliver as per week 1 and week 2 desired outcomes.

Double diamond

These agendas represent the first half of a double diamond (Discover & Define). Week 3 and beyond was about the second half of the double diamond, design and deliver.

The image above is a simplification, but it does help to explain the need for a further understanding prior to a Lean Inception. I am ok with it as per a business discovery for selecting the Lean Inception initiative. But many times, I rather explain the fit for a Lean Inception as a connector between continuous discovery and continuous delivery, as shared on this other post.

In the context of this engagement the following image provides a representation for the approach the team followed.

Week 1 sessions – Business Discovery

Below are the description for each session form week 1.

Weekly Kick-off

The week starts with a kick-off, followed by a sequence of intense sessions. and ends with review. The agenda and expectations for the week are covered on the kick-off. The results obtained in the week are presented in the review.

Organization and team topologies

Let´s participate in a collaborative activity to understand and map the organisation’s various teams, their missions and dependencies.

Metrics and measure of success

The book Accelerate demonstrates a direct link between organizational efficiency and software delivery efficiency. According to the authors, the following four metrics differentiate low, medium and high-performance organizations: lead time, deployment frequency, MTTR – Mean Time To Restore and percentage of failures per change. Let’s talk about them in the organization.

Objectives and Key Results

Let’s understand the business scope of this engagement and align about Objectives (Where do we want to go?) and Key Results (How do we know if we are getting there?).

Path to Production

Let’s map the path to production: steps, people, tools, tasks and output for software request/change to reach production.

Explore options

“We believe that <initiative> will help with <OKR>.” We have previously selected a few OKRs for this engagement. Let’s now share the initiatives we believe are good options for getting us there.

User Research (for the options candidates)

Let’s take a deeper look from the perspective of the users, either using or impacted by these initiatives. Let’s share and/or try to find out more information about them.

Compare options and select the pilot

Let’s score all the initiative candidates, relative to each other, so that we can better understand the options and select a pilot for exploring further on next week’s inception. At this point consider pilot as something more contained for which we believe has the highest value as per the business and the users.

Assessment Interviews

The perception of adopting Lean transformation can be extremely subjective. In order to measure the improvements brought by this engagement, we will conduct interviews with the SMEs related to the pilot. We will conduct these interviews at week one. We will repeat the same assessment with the same people towards the end of the engagement.

Weekly Review

This is the time to demonstrate the results obtained in the week to the stakeholders. Let’s talk about the artefacts generated during the sessions and share the group’s understanding of the way forward.

Week 2 sessions- Lean Inception

Please check this post for more info on the Lean Inception sessions.


Remote workshop templates

I have run Remote Lean Inception many times, more than 20 times since the beginning of COVID-18. Once again, I used the Remote Lean Inception template for Mural.

As per the week 1 workshops template, I have used it only a few times, five up to now. So I decided to give it a name and share here for future usage. Please find it below.


Accelerate the business workshop Template by MURAL


Open to create a mural from this template in your workspace. Powered by MURAL


Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is the author of the best-selling book “Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product” (the first on a series of books about Lean Strategy and Delivery). He's also the creator of FunRetrospectives.com , a site and book about retrospectives, futurospectives and team building activities. Caroli writes on this blog frequently. Receive the next post in your email. Sign up here .
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