A team I’ve been working with had a hard time gaining focus and having the sense of being a team. One of the reasons for this was that they were just working off the top of the backlog in their flow based workflow and the backlog was quite fragmented with a bunch of different initiatives and support for other teams tangled up. It was hard to get a sense of collaboration as a team and that they were achieving some bigger value together. To remedy this we introduced the practice of working on one (or sometimes two) epics at a time.
To kick off the work on the epic we introduced kick off meetings. In those we clarify why the epic is important, who the stakeholders are, risks and other important factors that are good to align on. Over time we have created a checklist of topics that we should cover and I have now compiled that checklist into a new Cheat Sheet that I thought may prove to be useful to others.
Please keep in mind that the kick off meeting shouldn’t take much more than 1 hour and the work you are planning shouldn’t span more than a few months. If it’s more you should probably ask yourself if you are making decisions too early.
One other thing worth noting is that we sometimes use tools like Impact Mapping “inside” of the epic when we are working towards an impact rather than a deliverable.
This tool has been useful to us and I hope it can be useful to you as well. 🙂