Phase 3: Alpha
Introduction to Alpha
This section "Phase 3: Alpha" is part of the Accelerate framework document, available as Word or PDF on the Accelerate downloads page.
The stages in Alpha are:
- Preparing to sprint (sprint zero) – set up the work and prepare the project environment
- Product grooming – prioritise and prepare the work
- Sprint – carry out the development work
- Release preparation – plan the release of the product increments
- Business change management – identify and address changes needed for the product release.
Alpha is when the product increments are developed, ready for release to customers.
This toolkit is based on agile development techniques, specifically scrum. It assumes the team is already trained in agile and scrum, and focuses on explaining how Accelerate and agile work together.
In Accelerate, because of the complexity of cross-agency releases, Alpha is considered completed when the product is ready to be released, and the release process is covered in Beta.
In a single agency project Alpha and Beta may be merged.
The purpose of Alpha is to:
- develop working product increments, following the product roadmap and the release plan
- identify and implement the business changes needed to embed the new or changed capability.
Main Alpha actions
The main Alpha actions are:
- Set up the project space, the team, and the collaboration tools.
- Review the product release board.
- The team agrees the definition of ‘ready’ and ‘done’.
- Start product grooming to prioritise the work (this is done at least weekly throughout Alpha).
- Start user story grooming so the user stories are clarified, ready for the sprint.
- Update the benefits profile for each sprint.
- Update the benefits worksheet.
- Plan and carry out sprints.
- Carry out release planning.
- Plan customer experience reviews.
- Create progress reports.
- Carry out a sprint review and demonstration at the end of each sprint.
- Hold sprint retrospectives at the end of each sprint to identify opportunities for improvement.
- Review the product increment(s) and include them in a release.
- Carry out the assurance processes tailored appropriately for Accelerate and agreed with the sponsor, following the all-of-government assurance guidelines provided on ICT projects and programmes available at www.ict.govt.nz (search for "project assurance").
- Complete privacy assessment on the material in the release, if required.
Roles for Alpha
The resources for Alpha depend on the scale of the project. Possible roles in Alpha for single teams and multiple teams are given in the table below.
Contact your Accelerate navigator to discuss your team requirements for Alpha.
Table: Possible roles in Alpha
Roles in a single team
Roles in multiple teams