Ask 7 simple questions
Gather the team and your subject experts (e.g. ops, legal, security, policy, HR) and ask them these questions*:
- What are we trying to prove or learn?
- Who are the users?
- What are we operating?
- What are we saying?
- What are our assumptions?
- What are the dependencies?
- What capabilities do we need?
A timeline is not dirty
The Waterfall methodologists feel comfortable with long timelines. They typically work ‘right-to-left’ from a desired delivery date; the agilists prefer to work iteratively, ‘left-to-right’ as much as, and where possible. Whatever your preference, timelines are important and an inescapable part of delivering. A timeline is not a dirty concept.
I start this conversation by sticking post-its across the top of a wall with time intervals running left to right. I use 3 or 6 monthly intervals over 1 or 2 years, but whatever is right for you. Choose a timeframe that creates some discomfort for your colleagues to think beyond the immediate “deadline” in everyone’s head and to get them to think strategically.
Place known, real or imagined, time constraints and events across the top too, maybe on a smaller or more muted colour post-it so they don’t become the only focus of conversation.