Agile Project Elaboration: Seed Money

Agile Project Elaboration: Seed MoneyIn traditional waterfall projects, it’s quite common to have a two-stage approval process, especially when it comes to raising funds to develop a new idea.

Stage 1 approval provides sufficient funding to get a project started and complete the analysis phase. Once analysis has been completed and a detailed specification written, the project can be more accurately estimated and a further request is made for full funding of the project.

So how would you tackle an agile project with this kind of approach to the funding?

First of all, this two-stage approval process for funding a new project is still valid with an agile approach. It’s simply an unavoidable reality that some work has to be done before a project can be reasonably well understood and estimated. And this work, unless there’s a permanent team already in place, needs funding before an investment decision can be made.

So, in an agile project, what outputs might you produce with the initial funding? You certainly wouldn’t want to complete a full analysis phase and detailed specification. But you would need something.

Here are some ideas:

  • Visuals or Wireframes
  • Research (User/Customer/Market Research)
  • Prototype
  • Proof of Concept
  • Technical Feasibility Study
  • Initial Product Backlog (feature list)
  • High-level Architecture
  • Technology Selection
  • Estimates
  • Team/Resource Requirements
  • Release Plan/Product Roadmap
  • Costs
  • Business Case
  • Project Initiation Presentation

Whether or not you produce all of this depends entirely on your project, of course, and whether or not you feel it is of value. In any case it should be high level, not fully comprehensive. Sufficient to shape the project and understand the requirements and solution better. Sufficient to understand how much funding should be requested to complete the project.

If initial funding permits, you may also be able to establish the project team and complete a few short sprints, in order to understand the team’s Velocity for planning purposes. But this would depend not only on the initial funds available, but also on the likelihood of full approval.

Kelly.

Photo by tico bassie

One Response to “Agile Project Elaboration: Seed Money”

  1. Kevin E. Schlabach says:

    This is a good post about a somewhat missed area within agile application. I like your points.

    As I’m reading it, I’m getting an impression about the customer. In the early stages of product development, your customer is the VC, fundraiser, or management team that will review and approve the budget. The concept of demonstrable is much lighter and wireframes might be enough.

    Once the budget is approved, then the customer shifts to include users, and demonstrable must be a working system.

    Cool post!

    Kevin E. Schlabach
    agile-commentary.blogspot.com

Leave a Reply

What is 6 + 3 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
Please do this simple sum so I know you are human:)

There are 101 ways to approach anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”

PETER SILVA-JANKOWSKI
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”

LUKE SHARKEY /STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION LEADER
SUNCORP

“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”

GILES BENTLEY, DEVELOPMENT & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
TIME INC

“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”

DAN PULHAM, DIGITAL DIRECTOR
TELSTRA

“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”

GINA MILLARD
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”

ANDY JEFFRIES/TECHNICAL LEAD
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”

HANNAH JOYCE
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”

BRUCE WEIR/EGM
SUNCORP

“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”

BEATRIZ MONTOYA/CONSUMER MARKETING DIRECTOR
IPC MEDIA

“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”

PETER THATCHER, SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
ThoughtWorks

“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”

JULIE PEEL
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES