Talking Points: Agile Inception

The primary goal of Rootstrap — Neon Roots’ Agile Inception Service, is to have a basic understanding of the proposed project and provide a general roadmap and NOT a blueprint. It is short… and rapid. Because the objective is to have something good enough so development can start.

agile inception


An Introduction

During the course of conducting many Rootstraps, Neon Roots’ agile inception workshop, we came into a realization that not all of our clients will be well oriented in Agile or the Scrum framework. As such is the case, we deemed it necessary to educate them knowing that one of the reasons for a project to fail is an uninitiated Product Owner or stakeholder representative.

We provide our clients with as much information, including reading materials like our PlaybookScrum/Agile Guide and Product Owner Primer, to augment their understanding of what we do and why we do things. Yet, despite these, we still come across Product Owners who misconceive that the output of an Agile Inception is a near perfect blueprint that is complete from head to toe, with projected development cost and delivery dates expected to be almost 100% accurate.

Our series of memorandums containing Talking Points, is yet another attempt to articulate and emphasize the underlying Agile principles we abide by and practice. We encourage our Teams to pound on these principles as early as project exploration and especially during Rootstrap in order to avoid misunderstanding and the usual expectation mismatch. Although these memos are intended for our teams, we think it’s important to share these memos to our existing and potential clients to convey our thought process.

We will be posting these memos in drips so that it would also be easier to digest and remember. Well at least that’s our goal.

First Memo in our series is about Agile Inception.

One common trap an uninitiated client or Product Owner falls into — is trying to have and get everything right at the onset. From the set of features to colors and fonts. Yet time and again, changes are introduced midway or at a certain point in the development.

agile inception

Requirements Elicitation

•  Rootstrap is an Agile Inception workshop, NOT a full-blown SSAD.

•  Ask questions to elicit user stories and understand requirements. Try to avoid discussing specific solutions, they can come later.

•  Don’t try to come up with everything. Just enough so development can be started

•  Don’t over analyze requirements, just enough to get an understanding of what the PO needs. Further details will follow during development.

•  Don’t get stuck with a requirement due to your inability to come up with solutions – move on. Say you may need further research.

•  Basic understanding of solutions may become necessary only when proposing a general technical architecture. (Why iOS, phonegap, Android, native, cloud, etc. Even this should be flexible by the way)

•  Even when you can’t come up with a complete or extensive solution – make a decision. “It seems feasible” is good enough to avoid analysis paralysis.

•  Remember, Agile inception means you shouldn’t be bounded to the solution initially proposed when a better one comes along. Inspect, adapt, iterate…


•  During Agile Inception, it is advised that you try stay away from design (UI/UX) for as long as possible. Usually and more frequently, when discussion on design (UI/UX) starts, the tendency is to talk about solutions.

• Wireframes/Mock-ups are supposed to help you and the PO understand the requirements. Not a blueprint for what the App will become. (But this is NOT what usually happens.)

•  Always emphasize that wireframes are drafts, dynamic and should be open to changes (colors, shapes, etc.)

•  Remember, decisions are better made when you see a working product that you are able to visualize and experience. Concepts are good when used as guide. So ROADMAP instead of Blueprint. Roadmap has several possible routes to arrive at the same destination.

Note: It is important to always emphasize to the client these underlying guidelines when doing inception. It impacts deliverables — estimates, projections, design and features among others.

We’ll be continuing with our Talking Points series to help give you a better understanding of our process. Check our blog often for updates.

All-Star NR Client Nick Adler Talks Snoop Dogg And New Tech

The convergence of entertainment and tech is where Neon Roots strives. It’s in this space that we’ve had the pleasure of working with the Cashmere Agency and their Director of Creative Strategy, Nick Adler. As the manager for Snoop Dogg, Adler has helped an already globally recognized celebrity make an even bigger splash in the tech world, and Neon Roots has teamed with both of them to bring their visions to life.

nick alder


Snoop has been an innovator in tech, investing in companies and being the first on the scene of platforms waiting to explode. He was the first celebrity on Instagram after all. We’ve already announced some Snoop related projects like the NOWL app. You can get more info on that in our post, “The NOWL App Can Help You Decide What To Do In Los Angeles (HINT: It’s Hang Out With Snoop Dogg).”

nick adler

There’s a lot more collaborating on the horizon as Neon Roots helps Snoop and the Cashmere team continue to build new innovative tech.

Nick Adler recently sat down with Product Hunt for their Maker Stories podcast series. Listen below to hear about his journey into tech, working with a media giant like Snoop Dogg, and what the future holds.


Defense Distributed Open Sources Ghost Gunner Software

New technologies, new possibilities are what truly get us excited here at Neon Roots. 3D printing is one of those technologies that is promising to have a monumental impact on nearly every industry, and in many industries, it already has. Of course with any revolutionary innovation there is going to be controversy, and nowhere has that been more prevalent than with 3D printed guns. But no matter what side of the debate you’re on, there’s no questioning the importance in the rise of this tech.

defense distributed


We know it well because we partnered with Defense Distributed to build their web presence. Defense Distributed holds the claim of being the creators of the very first 3D printed gun, and through the DD site that we built, they were able to land over 250,000 downloads of their product within the first few months of their launch.

Everyone was talking about Defense Distributed, and everyone is talking about them again. Creator of Defense Distributed, Cody Wilson, also developed the “Ghost Gunner,” a small milling machine that could build an AR15 lower receiver from a solid aluminum block. The “Ghost Gunner” was a huge hit, but controversy soon struck again. Shipping companies like FedEx refused to deliver the machines and many other groups protested the idea.

Wilson hasn’t let the firestorm slow him down. In fact, just last month he announced that the entire “Ghost Gunner” project would be open sourced. Now all the plans, source code, and software users need to build their own “Ghost Gunner” milling machine is available to the public. You can get more info HERE.

Games, Grub, And Good Times – The Recipe For A Perfect NR Dinner

“The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” –Mark Twain

Neon Roots is more than just a development company, we’re a family. And like any good family we know how to have a good time… and we know how to eat. Here’s what it looks like when our Uruguay team gets together for a night of fun and feast.




TechCrunch Talks To Karl House About Veteran Rootstrap Startup FanBread

Our Los Angeles mobile development shop gets the chance to work with a lot of bright entrepreneurs, men and women that have a strong vision for a startup or product and need someone to help them realize it. That’s why we created Rootstrap. We’re sure you’ve heard us talk about it a lot, but we’re going to talk about it some more.


Rootstrap is an idea incubator, an inception process that helps Product Owners map a blueprint for the creation of their product. It’s a vital part of the development process, and it works. How do we know it works? Because we have the success stories to back it up. FanBread is one of those success stories.

Popular tech news site TechCrunch recently spoke with FanBread founder Karl House. Here are some of the highlights of what they had to say about the Rootstrap veteran.


If you’re big on YouTube or Vine or whatever, a startup called FanBread aims to help you make money — specifically by building and monetizing a website of your very own.


At FanBread, [Karl] House said he’s turning the successful strategies he saw at Smosh into an “influence accelerator” product.

“We look at influencers very much as a publisher,” he said. “They’ve done the hard work of building a social footprint, but the vast majority of them don’t have an owned-and-operated property.”


FanBread can also help these influencers make money through native, mobile and video advertising, merchandise sales and affiliate links. Asked about Niche (recently acquired by Twitter) and other social media ad companies, House suggested he aims to build something that’s “truly a platform,” allowing advertisers to work with many more creators and publishers, rather than just a few big names.


The full article over at TechCrunch is definitely worth a read. Karl House gives a lot of great insight into what makes FanBread so special. He’s also previously spoken on his experience with Neon Roots and Rootstrap.

“Ben, Drew, and the Neon Roots team really came through for me. With the Rootstrap process, I was able to identify FanBread’s key product features and explore potential roadblocks before building. At the end of the two week process, I had mocks, user stories, and the core building blocks to develop with confidence. I highly recommend Ben and the Neon Roots team for any company looking to take an innovative product to market.”
-Karl House

To learn more about Rootstrap and to get more success stories like FanBread head to the Rootstrap site and poke around for a bit.

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