Why Discovery Phase Matters

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The discovery phase of a software project is a complicated process that includes market research, systematization of a customer's requirements, analysis of the product's relevance and viability, estimation of the development costs, and often, creation of the MVP and visual demos. 

This article examines the discovery phase and its relevance using the following structure: 

1. Why Discovery Phase of a Project is Special?

2. General Structure of the Software Product Discovery Phase

3. Expertise Required for Discovery Phase of a Software Product 

4. Conclusion

Our experience with various projects demonstrates that the discovery phase is not just a pleasant bonus but a powerful tool that grants a lot of advantages

Why Discovery Phase of a Project is Special?

The discovery phase is a term that speaks for itself: to discover, to make the unknown - known and the invisible - visible. 

The very first goal of project discovery phase is to determine the optimal architecture and functionality of a future system, defining what is redundant and what is essential to a project in a way that will satisfy stakeholders’ vision. This is where the experience and knowledge make a big difference. 

Even if the idea of the project comes in a shiny package with a lot of details to it, it does not mean that a creator has considered all the possible nuances. There is always something a project owner was not able to notice due to the lack of knowledge or experience. A person could not be a professional in every field regarding the developing a successful product.

In the competitive world of digital business, even the slightest change may make a big difference. That’s why it is important to find people who can help to polish your idea and make it an actionable plan.

Just imagine all the amount of data that should be analyzed in order to shape such a plan. Market grows continuously, so this process gets more complicated with time. Just compare this data as of March 2017 to this one as of the first quarter of 2018.  

Furthermore, nobody likes to pay more than it is required. On the contrary, paying less may sound like an attractive proposition, but in reality, it may result in an insufficient quality of the product. Nobody wants their projects to be incompatible with the high standards of the modern market. 

This is why the second goal of the discovery phase is to estimate project development costs

The software development is a complex process that involves a lot of different tools and technologies and employees who mastered them to get the work done properly. Therefore, estimating costs is a task that cannot be performed “by eye.” 

In addition, it is better when a company that conducts the discovery phase, is also a company that will develop a product because it knows its team well and how much time it will take the team to develop a reliable and efficient solution. In this case, the estimation of the costs will be as accurate as possible. 

It does not mean that otherwise, the estimation of costs would be done wrong. It simply means that if a single company does everything from scratch by itself, the results will be more accurate. 

However, you should remember that the discovery phase is a standalone product, and it can be developed by a third party who can then pass it to another company as a plan this company can follow while developing a product.

General Structure of Software Product Discovery Phase 

So, the goals of the discovery phase are clear but imagine all the skills and abilities that are required to achieve them. People dedicate significant chunks of their professional lives to mastering this process, which includes:

- Research 

- Assessment and Requirement Elicitation

- Interaction Design 

- Preparation for Development

- Planning  

And each of these stages is comprised of smaller ones and requires a perceptive and clever mind to get done properly.  

Expertise Required for Discovery Phase of a Software Product 

It is difficult to find a company that is able to conduct a professional and scrupulous project planning discovery phase considering the slightest nuances of a software solution that should be developed. If an organization is famous for creating reliable and flexible software solutions, it does not mean that it is able to provide a good discovery. On the other hand, a great business consulting company without technical expertise cannot do so either. 

Why? Because the discovery phase is a symbiosis of both. And only a company where technical expertise and business expertise coexist in a harmony is able to provide you with the most competent discovery phase.  

This is why a “discovery team” consists of business analysts of the highest caliber and technological professionals/savvies. Only their coordinated teamwork can provide the best results. 

Think for yourself, how it is possible to analyze the product regarding the market realities without business professionals? Or how it is possible to analyze its technical aspects without technical experts?

Finally, a company that develops your product/conducts the discovery phase should be as interested in the success of a project as you are. Otherwise, it would not be able to provide a viable result.

In this case, when you are outsourcing your solution, you are paying not only for the process of development but for the business expertise of people who want to make your idea a reality.

Yes, you could start developing your project without conducting a discovery phase. But, it’s like jumping into the water from a cliff while not knowing how the seabed looks like. 

Conclusion

The discovery phase is a great tool for ensuring that the future software product is relevant to the market, devoid of the redundant functional, and that its idea is polished. In addition, the discovery phase of a software product helps to determine the costs of the development and provides the basis upon which the rest of the software can be built. 

We are a full-cycle software development company with extensive business expertise, and we are well-versed in conducting effective discovery phases. If you think we can help you in making your vision a digital reality, contact us