Project Discovery Phase in Software Development

What are the important elements of a discovery phase and how important is it for a project?

According to Statista, 48% of software projects fail due to poorly documented requirements and tasks. Therefore, it is essential to elaborate on all the pitfalls of project development before it starts. 

That is why a discovery phase in the development process is a crucial element that shouldn’t be ignored. Your project should start with a discovery phase to identify the strict requirements and development steps. 

This article will introduce the understanding of the discovery phase, its purposes, benefits, stages, and documentation. This article will help you know all the pros of starting your project with a discovery phase. 

What is The Discovery Phase Of A Software Development Project?

A discovery phase in software development means the process of a detailed analysis of a future product, determination of its characteristics and all potential business and technical requirements. 

It includes a thorough working with the business, demands and pain points of users. As a result, a client gets a prototype with all documentation required to start the development process

Sometimes, during the project implementation, it's necessary to make changes to the developed project. In this case, a discovery phase makes it possible to understand what can be changed at this moment, what it will lead to, and how the development process will change. Thus, it doesn’t slow down the process. Instead, the discovery phase helps pick the right direction. 

If your project is already being created, it doesn’t mean it is too late to start a discovery phase. We can initiate this process to identify critical factors that were ignored or missed to fix them before it negatively affects the final product. 

Goals Of a Discovery Phase

There are a few goals the discovery phase helps achieve.

  1. Determine the scale and objectives of the project to have a more accurate estimation;
  2. Make sound decisions about the project based on analytical data, not on assumptions;
  3. Ensure higher return on investment (ROI);
  4. Create a customer-oriented product;
  5. Avoid unexpected costs during the project development;
  6. Get relevant specialists involved in the deep analysis of problems being solved at early stages. 

Start a Project Discovery Phase with Go Wombat — contact us!

Do You Always Need The Project Discovery Phase? 

In one form or another, it is always necessary. For example, if you need to create a basic user interface or landing page, we can draw up an offer with a detailed estimate, team members, deadline and quality criteria without a long discovery phase. 

However, if it is a complicated product that requires additional effort not only for writing but also embedding, more detailed analysis and elaboration. The deadline for the discovery phase can be extended

It is reasonable to allocate the time for the discovery phase in the amount of 10% of the planned entire project. For example, if the project takes five months, two weeks should be allocated for the discovery phase. 

To make a discovery phase more successful, at Go Wombat, we follow three key aspects.

Design

A software development team should assign a designer from the very beginning to provide clients with mockups and presentations to capture their attention. 

Client’s team

It is essential to establish good communication with the client immediately, so we strive to get acquainted with the client’s entire team and identify key persons and their requirements. 

Meetings

The more meetings we have with a client and their team, the more details we can retrieve about the project and its characteristics. We want to achieve the best result. 

Benefits Of Software Development Discovery Phase

Well, you are probably convinced that there are many benefits of a discovery phase, but we want to provide you with clear points on why the discovery phase is advantageous

If you want to skip a discovery phase and proceed to the estimation and development process, you should understand the value of this phase and why you need it.

Correctly Planned Budget

The discovery phase for you, as a client, means that user stories and wireframes can be made only after many discussions with UI/UX designers. Then, they will do what you need since you will spell everything out to them. It will save time and help you avoid unplanned costs when designers provide something that doesn’t meet your requirements. 

More Value

The truth is born in a dispute. This saying always remains current. Comprehensive discussions between the software development company and your team help you get the desired result. Together, you can better understand your market and the target audience, make the product customer-centric, and ensure their interest. 

Clearly Defined Plan

After the discovery phase, developers can proceed to the development process with a clear plan, adhering to strict requirements and specifications. Specialists will know the goals and deliverables of the project. As a result, the risks of missed deadlines will be reduced, and you will save your budget. 

Prioritisation

When the project starts, it can be challenging to identify the most important. Every feature may seem critical, and you are puzzled because you don’t know what to start with. 

That is why a discovery phase matters. It helps you prioritise every task and lets developers build the product according to the priority of each functionality. 

Tight Collaboration And Higher Loyalty

If you decide to save on a discovery phase and skip it, you will obtain an estimate of your project and specification. However, it cannot guarantee that you made the right choice and that this is the right company for collaboration. Whereas a discovery phase contributes to building trustful relationships with a software development company since you will spend more time in meetings, discussing all critical parts of future product development.  

What About The Benefits For A Vendor?

Besides the client's benefits, a discovery phase is also advantageous for a development company. Thus, there are two major benefits to consider:

The results of a discovery phase can help a development company show its potential and prove why the company is worth working with.

Time for team formation. The company may use a discovery phase to build a project implementation team, choosing relevant specialists who can work on your project efficiently. 

Self-presentation. A discovery phase allows development companies to present themselves, prove why they are better than competitors, and provide clients with the correct information he or she needs.  

Any project requires a detailed market analysis and a feasibility study. Let Go Wombat help you — contact us!

Main Stages During The Discovery Phase

There can be many more stages, depending on the company’s internal processes. However, we will pay attention to the five stages among most development companies. 

Phases of discovery phase can be different depending on the company’s internal processes, but some of them remain the same in most companies. Check them out.

Goals Identification

At this stage, companies learn more about the client's business, identify goals, and discuss the current business condition and main requirements. Specialists need to know what product clients want to get, and future cooperation is discussed. So the first task of this stage is to identify what clients need and how to implement them. Business analysts and project managers are involved in this stage. 

Roles Assignment

As a rule, the discovery phase requires the involvement of four specialists — a business analyst, UI/UX designer, project manager, and software architect. 

A business analyst is in charge of analysing and identifying requirements and transforming business goals into functional and non-functional requirements. 

A designer creates a user interface and user experience. 

A project manager is in charge of the project implementation, and he or she assigns roles, arranges working processes, communicates with the client, provides reports, compliance with deadlines, etc. 

A technical specialist, or software architect, analyses the technical part of the discovery phase to ensure that business logic can be implemented and then provide an optimal architectural solution. 

Requirements Identification

A software development company must technically explain how to achieve the expected result. This is achieved through creating functional and non-functional requirements, sketches and mockups, technical assessments, and building the architecture of the future product. Designers, business analysts and software architects work together here. 

Offer Creation

The analysis of SDLC processes (Software Development Lifecycle), prioritisation of development stages, offer creation, and architecture review with the client — that is what the company does at this stage. The main goal of this phase is to pitch your work efficiently. Project managers and technical specialists work on it. 

Project Discovery Phase Deliverables

A comprehensive offer with details is provided. It includes costs, deadlines, and technologies. In addition, a specific scope of work is defined for the first product version. Project managers, software architects and business analysts work on it. 

Ignoring A Discovery Phase: What It May Lead To

If you skip a discovery phase, you can save your budget first but lose much more eventually. So you should know why it is better not to ignore this phase.

Sure, it is up to you — you can skip this phase and save on it, but eventually, you may face serious problems when you find out that the product doesn’t meet the expectation of the target audience, or even lead to security issues. So there are reasons you shouldn’t skip a discovery phase. 

Poor Market Fit

Idea validation is the first step in a discovery phase, and it helps identify whether your idea is feasible and how it can be implemented. The analysis of competitors and the entire market contributes to risk reduction and ensures that the product will fit the market. 

Lack Of Vision

A discovery phase provides a shared vision when a team can discuss each step of project development, eventually paving the way to the correct result and efficient communication. Creating a shared vision of the product without a discovery won't be possible. 

Constant Increase In The Scope Of Work

Without a detailed analysis, it will be impossible to estimate an accurate deadline, leading to the constant extension of the project’s deadlines and higher costs. 

Misunderstanding

Apart from poor market fit, misunderstanding between the development team and your management team may lead to considerable confusion, which will become the reason for failures and extra costs. 

Summing Up

A discovery phase in software development is vital to full-fledged product creation. In fact, it is the first step you should take when you decide to turn your idea into reality and make it work. 

Thus, you already understand that the discovery phase should be delegated to a trustworthy software development company. 

At Go Wombat, we often receive requests from clients who have an idea but don’t know how to implement it. Furthermore, they don’t have a technical vision of the future product, so they need the assistance of professionals. 

Our goal is to build a product which will help our client reach their goals. That is why Go Wombat has a skilled team to implement all stages of development to create software nobody will be ashamed of. 

Go Wombat offers Project Discovery Phase as a separate service or as an integral part of any software development project. Our two main types of Discovery include the "Initial Discovery" and the "Audit".

We value our reputation as much as we do yours.

Contact Go Wombat and let us make your project wisely!

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