Project Discovery Phase in Software Development
Most software development companies will insist on a product discovery phase before launching a development. This solution is natural since the discovery phase increases the chances of a project being successful. Building an app or website without an opening discovery process is just as risky as building a house without an architectural plan. This step shows how the project will function, look, involve the target audience, and help your business achieve its goals.
In this article, we will take a detailed look at what the product discovery process is, what gives it a competitive edge, and how to get started in software development. So buckle up, we’re about to get started.
What Is a Project Discovery Phase
The discovery phase in software development is a stage of collecting information that gives an understanding of the industry for which the product is being developed, the business of your client, and the target audience. It is important to gain a deep understanding of the expectations of the client, the user feedback of decision-makers, and the pain points of end users regarding the product.
A preliminary analysis of the needs of the client, the market, competitors, target audience, the upcoming scope of work, and resources is carried out in any area where the contractor wants to fulfill their obligations to the client in a quality manner.
Product discovery means:
- discussion of the project’s existing business processes or the concept of a future project, expectations, and wishes regarding the deadlines;
- definition of the target audience;
- competitive market analysis (direct and indirect competitors);
- formulating solutions to business problems;
- determination of the scope of work;
- setting deadlines and priorities based on the project complexity and market trends;
- schematic distribution of roles and appointment of specialists who should be involved in the process (cross-functional teams are often created).
In the discovery phase, depending on the resources of the executor, the following team members can be involved:
- the project/product manager (communicates with the client at all stages of the product development process, structures the actual team effort, and is responsible for reporting on the implementation of tasks);
- business analyst or consultant/expert in a certain area (studies the market, target audience, client’s business processes, offers solution ideas for business goals and problems);
- UI/UX specialist (creates an interactive prototype and a design of a future project);
- solution architect or engineer evaluating the technical component of creating a product (defines and offers tools, platforms, and other solutions determining the feasibility risk of the product).
The Purposes of Discovery Phase of a Project
The main purpose the product discovery phase can bring to your company is that it helps you to:
- Make a development roadmap
In the final result, we will deal with a cleardeal a clear technical task with a description of the key functionality of the future product, which makes planning the development phase itself easier and clearer.
You will receive a complete project schedule with milestones, deliverables, and deadlines. The Software Requirements Specification (SRS) and mockups developed during the product discovery process can be used to find additional investors.
- Improve communication
Even a good presentation cannot guarantee that you have chosen the right company. Regular communication at this stage allows you to evaluate the real team effort, your experience, and approach to the project, and establish two-way trust. You can use the results of the discovery process with other IT vendors before starting development.
- Save resources such as time and money
The main value is the expertise and experience shared by the development company since they allow it to make the job faster. For instance, Devlight has been working in this field for years and knows how to help you perform a discovery. We are capable of conducting a product discovery process resulting in valuable insights that you will not find with a simple search on the Internet. These are live examples and real-life experiences. We share them so that you don’t have to dedicate years to learning everything from scratch.
- Idea validation
You will have an opportunity to check your actions with the guide and apply different product discovery techniques to implement changes at an early stage in case anything needs improvement. Thus, through discovery, you can validate your product ideas.
- Complex analysis and data gathering
The discovery phase helps both the development team and the client find an answer to the principal question: which problems of future users can our solution address? Modern product discovery is about gathering and analyzing requirements, systematizing all the input information, and lots of planning that eventually clarifies the big picture of the whole project and eliminates any early-stage uncertainty.
Finally, the discovery phase is fundamental for the future success of your product development. Devlight will teach you how to conduct the product discovery phase in such a way as to avoid typical mistakes that often occur at the initial stage (we provide smart methodology/guidelines).
Our team believes in a properly conducted discovery process as a way to save your resources such as time and money with “tips and hacks” content-type: we always provide a separate block with the solution space clarifying the main points of what you will have to do. With no lengthy instructions or unclear directions, we get down to business.
Will Skipping Project Discovery Save You Time and Money?
Even if you have a great idea but don’t have a target audience or don’t meet their needs, you won’t have a successful business. To avoid this, you need to study the market, find out who your competitors are, analyze their products and determine your target user identity before hopping into development. For a small project, this might take approximately one to two weeks, for a larger one it will take about two months of work.
The discovery phase and customer research can seem overwhelming in terms of time and resources. Still, they allow the team to determine project timelines and budgets, specify end product requirements, identify end-user needs, and get feedback from them about the product. The more preliminary preparation is carried out before the start of product development, the more understandable and predictable will be the product strategy.
For the client, product discovery plays the role of preliminary preparation for the implementation of the project. This phase allows the client to:
- more accurately determine the essence of an idea or project based on a real analysis of the market and the pain points of the target audience;
- identify some aspects of the project that were not taken into account initially;
- establish the basis for cross-functional collaboration and clarify the requirements for the future team members;
- understand target customer expectations and concerns based on competitor product research and user stories;
- get an expert assessment of the project and information on how to properly implement it;
- consider alternative solutions and technologies that will help make the project a reality;
- minimize and optimize costs;
- draw up clear terms of reference with the definition of the exact deadlines and budget for the project;
- understand how the performer meets the expectations, and make the final decision on the entire process of further cooperation.
As you can see, all of these benefits are worth investing more money and time into the product discovery process. Prepare and study the market instead of mapping your road out straight in practice. This approach will save you time in the next stages and prevent the product from failures or unnecessary touch-ups.
When Should You Start the Discovery Project Management?
Having a detailed “estimate” of the product idea, it will be easier for you to take the next steps — for example, find an investor or defend the project in front of the manager, select the necessary specialists, etc. In addition, without an assessment, it is difficult to determine both the development timeline and the required team composition. Thus, product discovery is a valuable preparatory step before launching any new app, service, or additional features.
New Product Development
The product development process is not something that can go naturally. Stated workflows and scenarios have been already invented. If you want to choose the best development scenario and properly assess the possible risks, you need to carry out the preparation stage before launching any product.
It starts with the team deciding on the format and duration of sprints (meetings) and selecting tools for structuring and reporting on the work done. For example, tasks can be distributed and stored in a cloud-based Trello project management software. Diagrams, graphs, maps, and diagrams can be created in Microsoft Visio Drawing or draw.io. Prototypes and mockups are easy to create in Sketch, NinjaMock, or Axure.
Leave your email and we’ll contact you soon!
Upgrading an Existing Product
Things get easier if you already have a stable team involved in product development. The discovery phase in this case will take less time and involve just a slight change in the teamwork routine. However, you should always carry out a discovery before launching new features to your project. Understand that after an upgrade you will practically deal with a new product. New target audiences or market competitors open up after you implement the changes, thus you should be able to predict them.
After all, the discovery process helps to prevent the need to make costly additional edits and changes in the course of work. It establishes a balance between the new business goals of the client and the interests of the end users of the upgraded product.
New Business Opportunities
Even when developing a minimum viable product, you need to plan product development several years in advance. This allows you to take into account all the business goals, requirements, and restrictions, as well as lay a flexible product architecture. In this matter, the discovery phase is not only needed before broadening your product horizons but any project architecture should already take into account the possibility of scaling the product and increasing the load.
Software Discovery Phase Team: Its Roles and Responsibilities
To ensure the accuracy of calculations and anticipate risks, companies tend to assemble a team of experts from several departments. Often this is an analyst, designer, and experienced developer — involving team members who have narrow expertise is great for building high-load solutions. The product discovery process helps you determine which specialists you will need and what will be their responsibilities.
The PM, after meeting with the client and clarifying their expectations, assembles a team that will be involved in the project and decides what the product development discovery phase will consist of, and who will play what role in it.
Tip! The distribution of roles can be fixed in a kind of Mind / Role Map or diagram, which can be created in the free tool Google draw.io. The role map is provided to the client so that they understand who is responsible for what, and who to contact with questions during the project implementation helping product teams decide on the workflow.
When the roles and tasks are distributed among the team members, the stage of studying the product strategy, competitive market, and user experience begin. It is worthwhile to involve not only team members, but also people outside the project in the process of studying user needs — they can also voice and describe practical problems and provide the solution space.
A business analyst and consultant performs user experience analysis and potential customer interviews. Based on the results of the survey, they compile a BPMN diagram detailing the requirements for the product development.
Product requirements are formed based on user stories and hypotheses associated with them. BA makes up a map or plan of steps that users and project employees take when performing certain manipulations with the product. All actions are recorded in small and sequential blocks. All participants in future conversations, meetings, or interviews should feel it during the product development.
Models of groups and roles of future users are created, for example, a seller and a buyer, so that the development team understands the goals, objectives, and needs of the people for whom the product is being developed. Any user story is written for a person or functional role using the next product discovery techniques:
- “As a buyer, I want to fill out an order form on the site so that I can get a response from the seller.”
- “As a seller, I want to get notified about the new order and the time left for its processing so that I can respond in time and not miss the order.”
- “As a seller, I want to know about the incoming order in time so that I have time to prepare its dispatch.”
A user story is considered complete if it has value and a protagonist, demonstrates a way to achieve the goal, when read, offers one or more solutions that are easy to translate into reality.
A UX designer is involved in the work to visualize the look of the future project and get it approved by the client. This specialist creates a clickable prototype to test interaction methods and simulate user experience. All interactions are modeled as close as possible to what the final product will have helping product teams decide on feature improvement. Professional design thinking is needed for this.
An interactive prototype is also created to conduct product discovery. This helps a client demonstrate a business project to investors, get feedback from end users or a focus group, and test a real user experience before starting development.
The project/product manager finds the best ideas for a company’s business, in line with what a user would expect from the service, and executes them in the best possible way.
Tip! The missions depend on the structure, its sector, and the maturity of its product. PM is the conductor of the entire feature delivery cycle and the linear process of product development. From ticket writing to production, through testing. These are also all the hazards that may arise, such as the identification of dependencies or bugs that feed its backlog daily.
The project/product manager leads the discovery phase in software development, so they should possess business, technical, and design thinking. Product discovery plays a vital role in understanding your product context and building the right strategy for it. This phase is more than essential, the better you know your end users (≠ clients), their needs, and their contexts, the more relevant you will be in the solutions you will build for them.
Tech Lead or a Solution Architect
The solutions architect has the role of designing, explaining, and implementing solutions adapted to the specific problems of the company. This specialist builds complex offers, conducts usability testing, and advises clients on the transformation of information systems. They must study the technical feasibility as well as its risks before proposing solutions.
In a constantly changing technological context and business space, companies must ensure that their information systems are kept up to date to meet new requirements. This digital transformation requires specific expertise and practices to keep the company at the forefront of quality product delivery:
- Analyze the project environment and its issues. Tech Leads manage the entire project and take care of the cost of the solutions. A Solution Architect designs and projects the system and the interaction of components. This employee is responsible for the correct functioning of the entire ecosystem.
- Define a trajectory of solutions adapted to the company. Typically, companies have their information systems, informational context, and integration requirements. The Solution Architect must then ensure that the system they offer meets the product discovery process expectations of the company.
- Comply with constraints. Each solution-based tool and its specific implementation can generate significant costs. The Solutions Architect must therefore know how to optimize the budget allocated to the project to provide as many ideas as possible, taking into account technological and managerial constraints.
How We Conduct the Project Discovery Phase at Devlight
The product discovery phase in software development work begins with the collection of requirements for the product. It’s good if the client has terms of reference (TOR), a specification, or at least a brief description of the idea, based on which we can make a list of requirements (UserStory) for the minimum viable product, according to which the development expenses will already be calculated.
However, there are not always formulated requirements and/or wishes. Thus, a discovery process aims to find out how much the development will cost and last (and whether it is worth developing the product at all). It happens that a client only has an idea for a future business (not a “product”, but a “business”). There are no technical specifications, no clear requirements, there is not even an understanding of where to start — there is no dedicated MVP.
In this case, project/product managers need to conduct analytics before the preparation of technical specifications or drawing any prototypes — the first stages (sprints) of product management. For instance, startups often seek to reduce the time and cost of analytics. Then, our product team helps them visualize, estimate the top-level architecture, and determine which functions can and should be implemented immediately and in the future.
Below we will consider the main qualitative research stages and artifacts that we and the client will receive as a result of these studies. The steps can be mandatory or optional, depending on the level of detail of the concept and the type of project: for example, in B2C, drawing screens of a future application is welcome to evaluate the UX and help to impress future investors with the idea.
Phase 1: Product’s Value Creating
The starting point of the project life cycle is not planning, but initiation. At this product discovery stage, the project has not yet been confirmed. The client and the product team should review it in general terms and evaluate the perspective. First of all, you need to understand whether it is worth taking on it. To do this, you need to define the following.
The trend canvas is the new standard when it comes to supporting companies and organizations in dealing with trends systemically. As a tool for innovation teams, managers and economists, the trend canvas creates a holistic perspective of the future — and thus helps to assess trends and their impact.
With the trend canvas, trends are understood holistically and translated for your company context. It is a simple product management framework for dealing with complex relationships and a tool to understand organizational potential and risks. It helps to answer these central questions:
- How are individual trends changing the reality of people’s lives?
- What effects do trends have on society?
- How are trends changing the economy and your market?
- How do I have to adjust my organization and my processes to remain future-proof?
- What new products do people need based on potential client feedback?
Key Business Ideas Mapping
This stage is similar to the analytics stage, but with a lower level of detail. Examples of business ideas: what problems does the business solve and how does it benefit its users? Business ideas are closely connected with defining the problem space.
For example, ordering online using a shopping cart instead of sending a Viber message. Online payment, not a transfer to a card through a bank application. As a result of this stage, a client receives a summary table of all orders and clear information about their users, admin panel, the number of product, and their management.
Value Proposition Canvas
A value proposition canvas is a tool that creators and businesses can use to visualize, design, and refine how to create value for their users during product delivery. It ensures that the services offered meet the concrete needs of customers and/or users.
After conducting user research, we specify the expectations of users and prevent the client from getting lost on less demanded features/products. Finally, we materialize the value proposition canvas in a dual representation: the profile of the target users on the one hand and the value proposition on the other.
Using available customer feedback or by introducing the product idea to focus groups, we collect data that helps us understand how will users get in touch with our product. Of course, it is preferred that this journey consists of as few steps as possible which will mean our product is within easy functional reach for the customers: it is simple, effective, popular, and deals with their pain points in the most convenient way.
This user research data is arranged in the form of a simple diagram (the so-called “map”) that illustrates the stages like getting acquainted with the product, choosing to use it, getting back to it, or recommending it to others.
Phase 2: Requirement Gathering & Collecting
This Discovery part can be called the research phase. It is the collection of information about the idea, the formalization of product requirements, the verification of business hypotheses, the formalization of the solution, problem space, and then the cost estimate for both the initial version (MVP) and further development.
At this stage, product teams are working on all the requirements — both for the MVP and with the expectation of further product development. As a rule (especially when evaluating large projects), clients prioritize creating a User Story as the main way to divide the development into stages and assess each stage separately. At the same time, MVP is the highest priority.
For example, if we have an application that allows us to work with PDF documents, then the MVP for this app will enable users to open PDF files only to review them, and in the next versions we will add the ability to create, edit, and delete the files, as well as share them with other users.
User Stories Creating
If we are analyzing a process automation project, then a detailed “as is” User Story (US) helps to identify bottlenecks (for example steps on which product teams spend a lot of time or make mistakes) and suggest their corrections and/or automation.
A brief description of how the system will be used describes the functional requirements for the system and the acceptance criteria. User stories allow the client to prioritize the implementation of product functionality effectively.
From the point of view of tools, it is very convenient to model the future process in BPMN notation, but it is not always immediately clear to the client, so the model has to be simplified when reviewed with the client. In general, you can use any visual models in which the sequence of steps is easily traced. The main thing is that the model fixes the future process and is unambiguously readable by you and the client.
Business Tasks Describing
During this discovery phase, we discuss the process that needs to be automated or improved. By discussing the current process, you can learn a lot about your client. Especially when people begin to contradict each other or get distracted from the course of the discussion, go into details that only they understand.
Tip! Describing business tasks is about filtering a lot of what the client says. Devlight always tries to understand what the client is not satisfied with from the current process, and what are the main improvements they expect in terms of business goals. Of course, business analytics are actively involved at this stage to assess the problem space and the criteria for the success of the project.
PRD (Product Requirements Document) is a description that includes all the requirements for a specific product and reflects how the product will look and how it will work. The requirements in such a document reflect the client’s vision and expectations for the product.
It is used to define product requirements and direct project/product managers during the whole discovery phase. After fixing the requirements for the future process as a whole, we proceed to the collection, analysis, and verification of requirements for specific functional areas.
Phase 3: High Fidelity Prototyping Creating & Testing
Now it’s time to discuss with the team a specific action plan for the visual implementation of the project. Even if the client can’t wait to get started, we don’t recommend rushing without having created a quality prototype. Effective applied and tangible planning can prevent many of the root causes of project failure.
A good prototype will take some work and time, so allow enough time at the start of the project. At this discovery process stage, a layout is created that mimics the user’s interaction with the project’s interface.
A prototype is needed to present the project to the client and evaluate its usability. Testing such a layout allows you to identify and eliminate errors in advance before investing in the development of the final design solution and code. The prototype differs from the finished product but is very similar in structure and functionality. It can be drawn on paper or created in a graphics editor. The main difference between these methods is the level of detail and clickability of elements.
Figma Hi-Fi Prototype Creating
If the prototype was explicitly written as an artifact for the product discovery process, then it is prepared by UX specialists in cooperation with a business analyst. In this case, we are talking about well-designed high-fidelity prototypes, often clickable that help you catch all errors in the scripts before submitting mockups to development.
Figma turns your images into a full-fledged prototype — with working buttons, scrolling, and switches. That is, at a level sufficient for a general understanding of the layout of the screens and transfer to the designer, who will already prepare the final design, which will go into development.
User Flows Mapping
To determine how the user will interact with the interface of the new product, a User Flow is created in the form of schematically depicted screens of the software solution and transitions between them. Thus, user behavior scenarios based on proposed solutions are designed through visual prototypes of the interface.
Clickable Prototype Creating
The wireframe is the blueprint that indicates where the main elements of your app are in the US and the transitions between screens. Wireframe models offer a user’s journey given user behavior patterns. The approved frames will form the basis of the final design.
We draw key screens and visualize what the future application might look like. This artifact is optional, but extremely useful if you want to demonstrate an idea to an investor, let the client “feel” the product, and get feedback through user interviews.
Clickable Prototype Realtime Testing
The prototypes go through several rounds of testing, depending on the project’s complexity. Testing prototypes will greatly facilitate the coordination of requirements and the estimation of labor costs for the development phase. The potential customer feedback determines the success of the prototype in this case.
Backlog management, clarification of requirements with the client (remotely), documentation, clarification of requirements for the team, conducting product demonstrations based on the results — all those iterations are continuously accompanying the product prototype. Those are hundreds of testing rounds that allow you to receive validated ideas and implement final improvements.
Phase 4: Product’s Software Integrations Plan Creating
The idea of a proper discovery phase is that the client receives a mini-analytics of the future application in a short time (2-4 weeks to 2-4 months for big projects). Based on these data, it is already possible to make an assessment, make a decision on further development, and if the project starts, these data will form the basis of the TOR.
In its fourth stage, product discovery is about technical specification of the future product’s plan and implementing the data mentioned earlier into a visual representation (diagrams and documentation).
Software Architecture Diagram
The concept we produce at Devlight necessarily includes a proposal for the top-level architecture of the IT product. This is a diagram of all system components, as well as internal or external services (for example, CRM client), with which we need to interact — here we determine what data we will exchange.
Data Flow Diagram
The product discovery also includes compiling a preliminary logical data model: how many entities, what parameters, what data, and how much will be stored in the system. This is necessary to develop a viable solution for the product architecture and evaluate additional work, such as example, load testing.
API Methods Specification
An API stands for application programming interface and allows two applications to communicate with each other by making data or functionality of an existing application available for other applications to use. Here is what should make the notion of application programming interface clearer 😊
Using an API, therefore, makes it possible to use the functionality of an existing program rather than redevelop a new one separately. So it’s a big time saver. Thus, specifying the API methods is an integral part of the product discovery process.
3D-Party Services Integration Model
Today, web applications use many programming interfaces. Developments are carried out by reusing functional bricks made available by third-party solutions. Thus, you should always study the competitive landscape of similar apps and useful services before developing your own product.
Assembly design modes require developers to fully understand how to interact with other software and systems. The API is an optimal solution for communication between two systems and the web service facilitates the interactions between two machines. It helps to integrate outside services straight during the product discovery.
Full Technical Specification Creating
The functional specification, together with the prototype, tells what elements the system interface consists of and how it works. It describes what is laborious, impossible, or pointless to show in a prototype. With its help, you can improve the proposed solutions, answer the questions of developers and other project participants, and fix the agreements on paper.
Tip! Creating one continuous Excel file with the List of Features is a common mistake. The problem is that when you have one continuous list with 100+ positions, it is difficult to follow the overall picture of the world behind it.
During the functional specification stage, we form a final document, which essentially consolidates all the above-described artifacts — requirements (stories and their detailing), prototype, and architectural elements (description of architecture, methods, integrations, etc.).
We prefer to gather data in the form of a user story broken into functional areas and keep the high-level requirements for those areas separate. Thus, you have both a high-level picture of the world and a list of stories by which you can evaluate the complexity of development. This way, we will have all the necessary information about the entire project in one place and all the necessary information about a specific task, which allows us to evaluate the functionality as a whole.
Phase 5: Closing Summary and Preparing Documentation
The result of the discovery phase is horizontal analytics that allows you to cover the entire project to its slightest details. It is an elaborated and detailed scope of tasks to carry out for the first MVP or for the entire product in general.
The purpose of the study is to “probe” the hypotheses associated with the product, and its usability risk, and collect requirements to estimate the time and cost of development.
Estimating the Cost and Duration of the Project
After completing the study, we get the requirements for the project. They are gathered in the document that describes the client’s tasks and the proposed solution: architecture, list of features and logical data model, main screens, expected development time, and cost.
This is a ready-made commercial offer, with which our partner can apply to an investor or manager for project approval. It consists of specific costs and duration plans that will guide the team through future development.
After setting the duration of the project at the previous stage, we can move on to scheduling the tasks, estimating the loads, and deducing the deadlines for carrying out each stage. By setting a start date, you can plan each task taking into account the expected completion time, and decide which tasks can be carried out in parallel.
Tip! The deadlines for the different stages are calculated, taking great care to keep room for maneuver to compensate for any unforeseen events, and the schedule is thus built little by little until the final delivery date.
Naturally, the schedule will certainly have to be modified based on your own assumptions during the project.
For the duration of the product discovery, the two companies merge in a way: Devlight offers the client business analytics and IT architectural services yet the client is free to involve any specialists from their team too. Some of our professionals will remain on the project afterward and others will leave.
The project manager may be responsible for interviewing the candidates and seeking employees. However, in Devlight it is HR specialist who seeks professionals with a shared understanding of the project to form the future team. This stage is the final step of product discovery and the initial step of product development.
Interested? Eliminate any early-stage uncertainty.
Tips For Conducting Project Discovery Stage from Devlight Team
Before establishing the project schedule and diving into development, we recommend that you learn some tips that have been helping us and our clients for years. There is always room for improvement, especially as you gain experience together with Devlight.
Conduct Project Vision Sessions
This product discovery step is quite optional. If you are at the idea stage, we recommend holding sessions on project vision, if you already have a ready-made concept and you have been on the market for a long time, we can move on to functional development.
Form a Separate Brainstorm Team
The ideal option is to allocate a dedicated team from your side that can quickly and qualitatively give feedback (the team that is responsible for making a decision) so that all people who make decisions and are interested in it are involved from the client’s side. Here is how to do it:
- Interview existing employees about the current onboarding process.
- Find out the wishes of managers about what can be included in the process.
- Create an overall onboarding process (90-day plan).
- Record training videos for the employee dashboard to make the process as clear as possible.
- Draw up procedures and checklists for the onboarding process.
Product discovery is an iterative process. It consists of the stages that go through and through again, so sometimes a dedicated team that will be responsible for controlling the whole process of discovery can be helpful. They can bring about fresh ideas if they are familiar with the product vision closely and instruct the outsource developers.
It is recommended that a technical person who has all the solutions that the client already has is involved in consultation from the client’s side. At this point, it’s time to choose the right infrastructure architecture and the right technologies for testing assumptions. In-depth technical consulting will make your product supportable and scalable. Any deviations or changes in the future may result in high costs, so value risk and invest in analytics at any stage.
Mix and Unite Ideas
Keep ideas in your head and think about the architecture for them. Introducing a survey tool to gather customer feedback at any stage of iteration changes is great to validate ideas in course of continuous learning. Implement new approaches and mix the experience advised by any employee since the same methodology won’t work for all products.
Keep Your Company’s Behavioral Pattern
Finally, keep a behavioral pattern for users when analyzing competitors, uniqueness should not come from behavioral habits. Of course, users’ problems change. But clients may have gotten used to your way of approaching the solution. Stick to your brand way and develop the new product in the same framework.
How to Start the Discovery Phase of a Project in Software Development?
Quite easy. We’re ready to consult and guide you throughout the entire product discovery process. Devlight advises the clients to begin with The product discovery to ensure that the product development and launch will be smooth, and fit within the estimated deadlines and budgets.
The life path of a project starts with the discovery phase and moves into the product delivery phase. As part of discovery, we:
- explore the subject area;
- we study the client’s business processes;
- find out the customer’s expectations from the new product;
- identify bottlenecks;
- we formulate solutions to client’s problems at a high level;
- set priorities and form a backlog;
- compile a roadmap for the project.
There are initial conditions that will allow you to conduct product discovery:
- client confidence;
- their desire to meet you halfway for a good result;
- the relative freedom of timing.
On the last point — everyone should have a shared understanding of approximately when the project should start, when to enter the peak, and when to end.
What are the benefits of the product discovery phase for the client:
- Obtaining a visual concept for testing a business idea.
- Estimation of the development time and budget, taking into account all the requirements for the product/project and the prospects for its development.
- You can carry out separate start-up work on analytics and architecture design to reduce labor costs for further analytics, technical specifications, and roadmap.
- Reducing the risk of errors in the implementation of the product.
Devlight is a mobile app development company operating since 2016 and creating world-class apps for industry leaders. With more than 35M of app installs and 50+ projects under our belt, we are a dedicated team of development enthusiasts and scrupulous analytics that believe in the importance of product discovery.
We kindly invite you to cooperate with us. What should you expect? In our methodology, we have phase 1, which targets to create value for the product by trend canvas, key business ideas, CMJ, and other deliverables. Devlight will share with you the methodology tested and validated dozens of times over six years. See the results by checking the companies we had worked with!
Besides, be sure to check our next article, where we showed exactly how the deliverables of the product discovery phase should look like and the exact flow of its running.
Discovery Phase of Software Development FAQ
Don’t be afraid of product discovery! It is thanks to this phase that we have a chance to plunge into the atmosphere of the client’s work, and thereby better understand them before the product delivery. Hopefully, this small wrap-up in the form of final questions answered will make your doubts fade away!
What Are The Expected Agile Discovery Phase Deliverables?
As a result of product discovery, you will receive competitor research, specifications, feature set, frameworks, architecture, roadmap, and a detailed assessment for your further delivery stage. The software project discovery phase will help you find common ground with the vendor team and make sure you get exactly what you need. It also helps reduce the overall project budget and ensures that deadlines are met by doing detailed analysis before coding and interface design. You will have a clear plan for your project, from its features and technologies to its design and business goals.
What Hardships Will You Meet During the Discovery Phase?
A list of non-functional requirements and constraints is the pitfall frequently met during product discovery. Depending on the requirements for the product, various implementation options are possible. Before starting work, you need to evaluate how they will affect the product, its cost, and how well they are developed. For example, if a company wants to promote an application in several countries that contains users’ data, then the project architecture must comply with the laws of all necessary countries.
What Are The Benefits of the Project Discovery Phase?
There are many benefits to pre-analysis and research. Here are the main ones:
- Clarification of the idea and essence of the project, based on real analysis.
- Identification of some aspects of the project that were not taken into account initially.
- Understanding user expectations and concerns based on competitor product research.
- The opportunity to get an expert assessment of the project and methods of working on it, as well as consideration of alternative solutions and technologies proposed by the contractor.
- Drawing up a clear list of user stories for the project.
- Eliminating the need to make costly additional edits and changes in the course of work.
The product discovery establishes a balance between the business goals of the client and the interests of the end users of the product.
How Long Can a Software Discovery Process Last?
The terms of the study can be from 2 weeks to 4 months, depending on the complexity of the project and the number of mandatory stages of product discovery.
Final Checklist or Project Management Discovery Phase Template
Devlight has prepared a final checklist of matters that should become clear to you after your product discovery. The list of unobvious questions you should answer goes as follows:
- Have you taken into account all technical and non-technical requirements?
- What are the estimated resources used for the project (data, human resources, money, time)?
- Have the resources been allocated properly?
- Have you created a horizontal timeline of the project? Does your planning contain a few days’ gaps in case of unforeseen circumstances?
- Do you have your budget estimated correctly, then reviewed and audited?
- Have you prepared detailed market and competition research reports?
- Did you receive a visual roadmap showing how the project will progress?
- Were all of your proposals taken into account in the project?
- Do you have access to dashboards that will help you track project performance?
- Are all the future interactions been approved by the signed contracts?