Why run an inception?


We’re passionate about building great software.

Collectively, the contributors to this playbook have some 500 years of software delivery experience. But starting something new always has its challenges. We’ve experienced pain: both when things go pear-shaped and also when things work out.

The common root causes? Misaligned values and expectations, overlooked risks, missed dependencies and unsophisticated approaches to managing uncertainty and complexity.

Technology initiatives, if done in the right way, can be successful and fun.

It’s particularly frustrating when that pain could easily have been avoided. The complex interplay of people, processes and technology will always bring change, uncertainty and unknowns. By acknowledging and addressing these factors early, we can reduce the risks we’re exposed to, and create safe spaces to experiment and learn together.

This is why we run inceptions. They systematically address the issues that threaten to derail delivery, by reducing risk, creating alignment, building trust and providing us with the best possible starting point.

Of course, knowing why you might want to run an inception is not the same as being able to run an effective one! This is where this playbook comes in.

We believe it’s possible to distil the essence of an inception into a blueprint. This document is that blueprint.

By taking away some of the complexity and providing ideas to riff off and make your own, this playbook aims to support beginners and experts alike. Over the pages that follow, you’ll find the tools to build better foundations for the initiatives you work on.

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