What is the Purpose of the Discovery Phase in Your Project?

The development of each digital project shall begin with discovery procedures. That’ the smart technique to achieve its success avoiding unnecessary expenditure.

Let’s be honest. In the majority of cases, perfect plans are getting implemented not the way we’ve expected. Moreover, we might get completely opposite results compared to the original plan. Consequently, we get disappointed, since we fail to make profits we wanted.

Luckily, it all could be fixed by means of the discovery process. Sounds interesting? Let’s start from the very beginning.

What a discovery stage really means

In simple terms, this phase shall take place prior to the development of any online resource. It concerns both web and mobile services. The process serves to identify the main requirements for a specific project, it analyzes and adjusts the company’s goals, providing professional advice on how to effectively implement customers’ ideas.

A discovery stage is critical, since it will determine how successful and prosperous a particular startup will turn in the future.

It’s pretty clear that at some point in the development process functionalities need to be fixed, new features must be added, out-of-date functions shall be removed, and so on and so forth. All the requirements shall be defined clearly, otherwise, there’s a chance the project will get paused for a while.

At that point, startup owners will have to involve business analysts. However, engaging such specialists from the very beginning would make more sense, since it’ll prevent multiple complications.

The thing is that project owners might assume that other team members can manage business analysts’ responsibilities. Say, while building an e-commerce app, project managers or sales staff could take extra duties. However, such a decision may lead to serious consequences.

Each person in a team is responsible for certain tasks. When project managers who coordinate the whole process, have to additionally monitor the compliance of project requirements, something essential might be missed, cos PMs won’t have time to keep an eye on everything. Consequently, the fundamental idea might be misunderstood and incorrectly executed, consuming time and money.

Discovery phases serve to prevent all the troubles, so the team will manage to develop a qualified solution that would meet the original requirements. That is the key purpose of the discovery stage.

Activities that must be carried out during the discovery phase

To fulfill all its tasks, the process shall include specific actions, such as:

  • company review for business analysts to understand organizational hierarchy together with its structure;
  • communication with stakeholders to compile fundamental performance indications and to choose the metrics for measuring business performance in the future;
  • study of corporate documents to feel the business spirit and nature;
  • researches to figure out market conditions, analyze competitors, and determine the final demographics;
  • review on similar studies to learn from the experience of other organizations to avoid their mistakes;
  • think-as-a-user research to predict the online behavior of people down to each and every nuance to provide users with the most personalized services;
  • strategy development to formulate a detailed business plan distinguishing particular actions to implement the idea and optimize the designing process.

Now, when you know what activities are critical to include in the discovery process, we shall specify concrete means to achieve the objectives.

Tools to apply

The below-listed artifacts are of great use throughout the discovery stage, as well as during the final presentations.

  • Mind Mapping. Being an interaction diagram, the instrument serves to reveal project requirements and define integrations. It’s applied to figure out the workload and limits of the startup. Mind maps establish inner relations, follow up on discrepancies, and trace repeating requirements.
  • Users’ Stories. Such a method is used to take business demands and convert them into operational. The instrument interprets the audience’s behaviors reflecting how users interact with a web or mobile resource. That mechanism is required to find out what clients’ issues each function resolves.
  • BPMN Charts. The tool is operated in a specific way to show requirements in greater detail and to demonstrate how the program functions. BPMN visualizes from what sources the service takes data, how customers manage to reach their goals, how users prefer to interact with the application, and the like.
  • Request-Response Protocol. It’s about a particular document that indicates the fundamental requirements on 3rd party integrations. It specifies what a designed platform shall demand from a concrete solution and what it should obtain in response.
  • Graphs on Nonfunctional Requirements. The tool serves to prioritize what nonfunctional requirements are critical for the business. Graphs will reflect if they might complicate the development and whether the project will require more funds.
  • Design concepts. Here we’re talking about a conceptual notion which would point out the design of the resulting app or site.
  • SWOT Test. The instrument is focused on determining strengths and shortcomings of the startup. That abbreviation stands for the following: Strengths (meaning, one-of-a-kind parameters, advantages over rivals, etc.), Weaknesses (weak points, vulnerable elements, and the like), Opportunities (solutions for a startup to grow efficiently) and Threats (what can damage the project).

All the time and efforts that the discovery phase demands are totally worth it. You’ll see it for yourself after we discuss its key perks.

Main benefits discovery procedures provide

Are you still in doubt whether your startup needs a discovery stage? We’d like to present to you its essential benefits to put all hesitations to rest. Here’s our list:

  • avoiding unwanted business risks in the beginning;
  • pinpointing all conditions and needs to launch the project on the scheduled date;
  • adjusting the startup to the given budget;
  • planning taking into account true facts from reliable reports;
  • establishing specific business processes;
  • utilizing resources wisely, namely, time, staff and money;
  • testing the outcome product on the final audience promptly;
  • optimizing and cutting the expenditure on development.

Well, now you understand how essential the discovery phase actually is for any project. To enjoy all its benefits you need to be careful to choose a professional team with relevant expertise. In the best-case scenario, you’ll find experts that can perform all tasks you need, meaning the development of the software itself.

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