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I’ll take it if it’s free

Recently I found myself having to explain what was meant by not doing upfront analysis. Members of the team had been stopping people from recording information from a conversation as it was “upfront analysis” and “would be captured when we pick the story up“. To help with the explanation I found myself falling back on an anecdote that Sal Freudenberg had used during my scrum training.

I thought I’d repeat it here, changed to talk about my eldest.

Party planning

Tom’s birthday is next month and he is very particular about what he wants for his party. So in the last few weeks we’ve booked a soft-play centre and started to organise invitations. We’re still a few weeks away so we aren’t in the final stages but are starting to get things ready.

We’ve known Tom was going to turn 4 since his third birthday, inevitable really. However we didn’t start planning straight away. Children are incredibly changeable and what he liked a year ago bears no relation to what he’s into now. It wouldn’t have made sense for us to plan another pirate party. We just knew it’d be a waste of time.

However, as the year has gone along we’ve spotted things he may like at his party: a particular candle (expensive); a few places he might like to hold the party (not my house); a present that he’ll love (and is educational). Small things that we came across without looking out for them. It didn’t cost us anything to save the link, or grab a flyer.

Now we are in the real planning stage they’ve proved invaluable. We don’t have to hunt for a selection of venues, we can just show him the pictures. We know that we can get hold of a Batman candle for his cake.

We didn’t start planning and arranging his party until a few weeks before. If something came along we tucked it away, knowing that it may be useful later on.

Take it while it’s free

For me this is the meaning behind not doing up-front analysis.

We know things are going to change, so we don’t go into detail. However, taking a quick note of something that seems important now doesn’t cost us anything. It may save us a lot of time and energy later down the line.

Of course, it may not.