Nowadays, it is not wise to start a software development project without preliminary comprehensive analysis. The initial stage of any IT project should be research. This idea will be discussed in this article today .
Discovery Phase: What is it and why is it important?.
What is Discovery Phase?
Discovery phase is a procedure for collecting information that gives an understanding of the industry for which the product is being developed, of your customer’s business and of the target audience. It is important to gain a deep understanding of what the customer’s expectations are like, who are decision makers on their part, as well as who are the product end users.
The main purpose of the preliminary analysis is to provide a technical proposal to the customer. To do this, you need to find out about the needs of the client as much as possible and create a separate document with product requirements.
All the details that you will find out during the Discovery phase will help you determine the amount of work, the time frame and the plan for fulfilling the tasks of the project. It will also help ensure that the customer receives a high-quality software product designed for their needs.
What is analysis needed for?
- To find out the motives, goals and problems of users;
- to understand the context of product use;
- to find new ideas for development;
- to understand what users expect and their relation to the product.
What is the duration of the Discovery phase?
- For medium-sized projects - 1-2 weeks.
- For large projects - 3-4 weeks.
What do we do during the Discovery Phase?
We create a series of documents and schemes for effective work on the project.
1. Lean Model Canvas
Firstly, a conceptual description of the business model of the future product for MVP is created in the form of a diagram describing all business processes related to the product: proposal, infrastructure, consumers and financial aspect.
2. Customer Journey Map
In addition, we create a “map” of customer communication with the product. This is a visual graph of the user’s interaction with the product. It includes all the proposed points and channels of such interaction, as well as the client’s visualized experience, taking into account their thoughts, emotions, goals, motives, fears on the way to achieving the result.
3. User Flow
To determine how the user will interact with the interface of the new product, we create User Flow in the form of schematically shown screens of the software solution and transitions between them. Thus, the design of user behavior scenarios through visual interface prototypes takes place.
4. User Stories
Then we create a brief description of how the system will be used. In it, we describe functional requirements for the system and acceptance criteria. User Stories allow the customer to effectively prioritize the implementation of product functionality.
5. Product Vision
In this document, we describe the general objectives of the project and the proposed solution. This allows you to better understand the goals of creating a product, its potential and future prospects. Product Vision is useful to all parties involved in the development - developers, staff, marketing department, etc.
6. Non-functional requirements
Our team also issues recommendations regarding system properties or limitations that are not related to the system behavior - the optimal technology stack, infrastructure architecture and expected load.
What are the main benefits of the Discovery phase?
There are many benefits in preliminary analysis and research.
Quite often, when startups come to us, they have an idea but don’t have an understanding of what the project should be like from a technical point of view, what components it should contain. We are also faced with the fact that it is difficult for customers to evaluate what is really in demand by users. In addition, customers may not have enough technical knowledge and experience to make an exhaustive list of the necessary software elements of the product.
We always offer the Discovery phase. The study is conducted by our business analyst, designer and company managers. In the course of communication, they find out the wishes of the client. Then a market analysis is carried out and a project description is formulated.
This approach minimizes the number of changes in the development process, since the project volume is determined along with other key factors, such as the type of solutions required, functions and functionality, optimal platforms to use, deadlines and budget.
Having determined all the details of the project in advance, the customer receives a number of advantages. Here are the main ones:
- Refinement 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 the expectations and problems of users based on a study of competitors' products.
- 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.
- Compilation of a clear list of user accounts for the project.
- Avoiding the need to make costly additional edits and changes during the development.
- Establishing a balance between the business goals of the client and the interests of the end product users.
- The opportunity to understand how much the contractor meets the expectations of the customer, how comfortable the partnership interaction is and make the final decision on further cooperation.
An additional advantage for the client is the fact that, having received a clear technical description, a work plan and an assessment of the required costs, it will be easier for them to receive financing from potential investors.
Thanks to the Discovery phase, we lay the foundation for effective work and, as a result, we provide high-quality software solutions that are designed taking into account the individual needs of our customers.