This happens all the time on projects: assuming there is consensus when none exists. While good teams can roll with these punches and adapt as they go, it’s a form of waste that can hurt or kill the unwary before they even get out of the gate. To nip this problem in the bud, ThoughtWorks created a lightweight project chartering tool called “The Agile Inception Deck: 10 questions and exercises you’d be crazy not to ask before starting your project.”
While the iterative development approaches found in Agile Software Development fulfill the promise of working software each iteration, that task of choosing which software to build first can be daunting.
Some people want to take the stance that no work should be done in advance of the sprint. That is clearly untenable. To see why, let’s take that view to its extreme: If we did nothing in advance to understand what we’re building, we’d show up at the planning meeting and say, “Hey, what should we build this sprint? We were working on an eCommerce site yesterday, but I think maybe we should switch to writing a word processor…” The team would literally have nothing written down—no product backlog / user stories / prioritized feature list at all.
The article “<a href=”http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/system/article/file/12/UpsideOfDownsizing.pdf”>The Upside of Downsizing</a>” describes how a project was successfully downsized from 100 to 12 developers. To make such a dramatic adjustment the development process was switched to Scrum and user stories.