Inception at Railsware. Part 1

Railsware team has been building applications for around 7 years now and over this period of time we’ve delivered dozens of products, engaged with hundreds of potential clients, numerous times revised our internal development processes, experimented, explored new approaches and worked on making the whole process better from A to Z. While the improvement process is still going on (it actually seems to be a permanent one, as we constantly seek inspiration from our partners, clients and friends), we did successfully adopt several truly awesome findings worth sharing.

It has just recently come to our attention that this blog is being read not only by developers, but also by business owners looking for the development teams. And since both types of readers might find our discovery appealing, we’ve decided to launch a series of business-related blog posts. These posts will have a business category assigned and will be all about client/developer relations and processes as we see and apply them.

The first one from the series is about the so-called Inception, based on the Pivotal Labs concept and adopted to our needs. This is a quite uncommon process for software development teams, which actually proved to be invaluable when it comes to the effective project start.

So, why is it so helpful?

Usually the process looks like this: client request comes in, the team reviews requirements and gives an estimate. Once the quote is approved, the team starts working on the product. And this is where the problems start. We all know these issues: the scope is not clear, features are added/removed/postponed, team spends excessive hours on development, budget grows… This results in a broken development process that is painless for both the team and the client.

No one wants that, really. We all agree that software development is somewhat unpredictable and Inception is the solution to overcome this.

What is the Inception?

As we define it, Inception is a powerful and extremely efficient way to clarify and shape product solution, get all the project stakeholders on the same page and inspire the team.

During the 2-day session, Inception participants explore business goals, roles, use cases, etc. As a result, a constructive roadmap is created allowing the team to effectively start the project and deliver a solution that will provide exceptional value to its users.

Here’re the stages Inception process consists of: Ruby on Rails development team

In our next blog post on the Inception we will cover all these stages in details, review the tools that we use, as well as what outcome you should get as a result of this 2-day process. Stay tuned for the Part 2!

Huge thanks to our friends at Pivotal Labs who shared their knowledge, inspired and encouraged us to constantly improve.