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Starting a Software Project

Inceptions Edit
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About the Book

When we talk about software craftsmanship we always talk about techniques revolving around the act of software creation; how to write clean code, how to test drive, etc.

A professional software craftsman has many tools under his belt. Many are technical in nature, but many others are considered soft skills. This book focuses on one such soft skill; The Inception Workshop.

You can use this book as a guide to help you start your next project, generating the insights you need to really leverage your teams capacity to add value to your customers product.

With the Inception Workshop you will be able to shed light into the uncertainty of a starting project, build a common language and understand your customers needs.

This book is for you if:

  • you consider that you are more than just a typist writing in a different language
  • you think that you can add more value to your customers by understanding what they want
  • you are a the technical lead of a project
  • you are managing a software project

"This book is based on my experieces facilitating a myriad of inception workshops for startups, the government, projects and products." ~ Enrique Comba Riepenhausen

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Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • The Art of the Start
    • What is an Inception Workshop?
    • Why an Inception Workshop?
  • Structuring an Inception Workshop
    • Choosing the Right Environment
    • Facilitating Inception Workshop
    • Selecting Activities
  • Activities
    • Activity: Who is in the room?
    • Activity: The rules of the Game
    • Activity: Why are we here?
    • Activity: Create an Elevator Pitch
    • Activity: Design a Product Box
    • Activity: Create a NOT List
    • Activity: Meet your Community
    • Activity: What Keeps you Up at Night?
    • Activity: Show the Solution
    • Activity: Give your App some Personality
    • Activity: Let’s make it flow
    • Activity: Wireframing
    • Activity: Story Mapping
    • Activity: What’s Going to Give?
    • Activity: What’s Going to Take?
  • Wrapping Up
  • Appendices
    • Appendix A: The User Persona
    • Appendix B: The Design Persona
    • Appendix C: Wire-framing
    • Appendix D: Story Mapping
    • Appendix E: Remote Inception Workshops
  • Bibliography
    • Books
    • Articles & Blogs

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About the Author

About the Contributors

Ade oshineye portrait small

Adewale Oshineye


I make photos. They're made not taken because I do a little more than point a camera in a direction and hope for the best. Dave Hoover and I have written a book called Apprenticeship Patterns. It's about the acquisition, development and transmission of skill. I'm toying with the idea of writing a second book. It would be about the foundation, maintenance and death of generative communities. I'm using the word generative to indicate that I'm not looking at the creativity or the productivity of these communities. Instead I care about their ability make new things happen. I work at Google as a Developer Advocate on the Google+ team. That means I care about a stack of technologies including OAuth, Pubsubhubbub and OStatus. It also means that I look for ways to improve the Developer Experience of our APIs and platforms.

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Dave Hoover


Dave Hoover is a software developer, startup geek, and hacker of learning environments. Dave was a principal at Obtiva (acquired by Groupon in August, 2011) where he founded and led an apprenticeship program that is still going strong at Groupon today. Dave co-authored Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the aspiring software craftsman. He has spoken at tech conferences in places like Scotland, Sweden, and South Africa, but if you ask him, he prefers to spend time at Chicago’s own @geekfest and Code & Coffee. Dave competes in endurance sports in order to keep up with his wife and three kids. In a past life, Dave was a child & family therapist.

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Sebastian Hermida

Cover Art & Illustrations

Sebastian appreciates the finest things in life: clean code, good illustrations and carrot juice. When he's not standing up in front of a screen, you will find him lost in museums or forests, appreciating the foliage. He will probably run a marathon some day.

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