5 Key Project Discovery Phase in Custom Software Development
Custom software development is a lot like building a house: at first, it may seem like a great idea to build a castle, but once your project gets underway, you realize that the cost of such a structure is impractical. You need to make a lot of changes to fit your needs, and it’s better to put your money where you can get the most value out of it so you scale back your plans to something more manageable. If you’re building custom software, you need to have a good understanding of your goals before you start development.
A clear scope and some time spent communicating with your consultant can help ensure that you get what you want at a price that makes sense for your business. The discovery phase in custom software development is when a developer and a customer work together to determine what the user wants and how to deliver it. It’s an important step in the process because it provides valuable information for the developer about the product being developed and helps solidify goals for the project.
This section will discuss what goes into this phase, why it’s so important, and how you can take advantage of its benefits.
- 1 What Is a Project Discovery Phase?
- 2 Why Does the Project Discovery Phase Matter?
- 3 What Are the Key Product Discovery Roles?
- 4 Discovery Phase in Software Development Process Steps
- 4.1 1. Explore the subject area
- 4.2 2. Identify bottlenecks
- 4.3 3. Discuss high-level solutions to the expected challenges
- 4.4 4. Define priorities and discuss a project scope
- 4.5 5. Estimating time & costs and creating a product developing roadmap
- 4.6 Conclusion
- 4.7 Join over 5,000 enterpreneurs and businesses who already have a head start.
- 4.8 Join over 5,000 enterpreneurs and businesses who already have a head start.
- 4.9 Related posts:
What Is a Project Discovery Phase?
Project discovery is the first step in custom software development, also known as custom application development. In this phase, a consultant works with the client to understand their goals and expectations for the new software. The scope of this phase is to determine how the software will work and how long it will take to develop it. To start with, we want to think about our target audience. Who will be using this product? What are they looking for in a solution like ours? What are their pain points? Is there an existing solution that meets their needs, or do they not have one at all?
What kind of technologies will they be using? We also need to consider whether our target audience is already familiar with what we’re building or if this will be something entirely new for them. The project discovery phase requires a lot of communication between the client and the developer. This is an important stage where the client can make changes to their requirements and goals for their new application. It is also an opportunity for them to ask detailed questions about the process and how long it will take to complete each step.
Why Does the Project Discovery Phase Matter?
Understanding the aim of a firm, a concept, or a project is critical. The project discovery phase is no different. Because it assists in determining company goals, needs, and/or product vision, build product architecture to fulfill specified business goals, mitigating or minimizing development costs, identifying and reducing potential risks, and developing a clear product development roadmap. The project discovery phase may appear to waste time when everyone is rushing to get the product up and running. But let us take a closer look at these advantages.
1. Reduce risks
The development team can provide accurate time and budget estimates if they fully grasp your goals and requirements. The likelihood of missing deadlines is lowered by 75%. The entire cost savings could be more than 50%. Finally, the difference between success and failure is the meaning of the product discovery process.
2. Create a strategy.
When the team has a defined list of criteria, they can create and stick to a step-by-step strategy. You will receive a complete project timeline, including interim goals, deliverables, and deadlines. That will take the product from concept to launch without rescheduling or changes. The SRS and wireframe prototypes created during the discovery stage might help the firm gain more investment by demonstrating its viability to investors.
3. Establish trust
Even after a convincing sales talk, you can never be sure you’ve chosen the correct IT vendor. Regular communication and in-depth discussions about your project with the team, on the other hand, will calm your nerves and build two-way trust. Alternatively, you may realize you’ve chosen the incorrect company and decide to change before it’s too late and your budget is depleted. Now that we’ve covered the benefits and technicalities let’s look at what occurs if you skip the project discovery stage and proceed with development without clear knowledge. Expect the following:
- The project falls short of expectations.
Miscommunication at the start of a relationship leads to more misconceptions. They led to a disconnect between your expectations and reality and lost time and money.
- Endless scope creep
The project execution will take longer without measurable outcomes, and the launch will be postponed indefinitely. New requirements and features wreak havoc on the development team and discourage them.
- Budget overspending
Because there are no clear goals and directions, requirements frequently change, resulting in increased costs. You run out of money before the team can finish or even deliver a useful product.
- Deadlines not met
Scope creep, in addition to overpaying, causes delays in the development process and delays in delivery deadlines. Missed deadlines represent enormous corporate losses in a competitive market.
- Inability to switch IT providers
When you’ve had enough of dealing with one development team, switching to a new one is practically impossible without first completing the necessary documents. You might as well start anew, skipping the discovery process this time. Overconfidence and zeal may lead you to bypass the project’s discovery phase. However, you must rein them in and invest in the early stages of development.
What Are the Key Product Discovery Roles?
Typically, both the development agency and the client provide a list of expertise to the meeting. Let’s have a look at the primary players and their roles in product discovery:
1. Business analyst/Product manager
Client input data is analyzed, collected, and structured by business analysts/product managers. They lead a discussion and compile a list of clarifying questions. Product managers create epics and user stories that will be turned into a client estimate. A Product Manager’s primary goal is to ensure that both parties understand the objectives.
2. UI/UX designer
Web designers elaborate and discuss the requirements and preferences. They research the target market, end customers, and competitors. This information is necessary for creating a visually beautiful and intuitive web solution that meets the client’s needs. They’re also in charge of designing your future product’s user flow.
3. Lead software developer
Technical solutions are the responsibility of lead engineers. During the conference, they examine the project discovery artifacts (documents or requirements that aid in understanding the project architecture). It’s critical to ensure that the designed business logic can be implemented throughout the development phase. Finally, technical experts recommend the most appropriate architectural solutions and technology stack.
Stakeholders represent the client’s team and pitch a software company with their business plan. They describe the product, its objectives, and their expectations and requirements for the project. To summarize, a successful product discovery process necessitates active participation from both the client and vendor teams.
Discovery Phase in Software Development Process Steps
Depending on the project, discovery can take a few weeks or several months. The discovery phase of software development may usually be broken down into several simple parts. Let’s look at the fundamentals of project discovery.
1. Explore the subject area
A customer and project team examine the subject area and analyze the product concept, market, and competitors. A customer defines how the product should work, its primary functionalities, and user flows at this point. This can be accomplished through an interview. You try to learn about the future software concept here. It’s fine to inquire about rivals, target audiences, current infrastructure, project needs, and any other information that can assist you in better grasping the expectations and goals of stakeholders. If a client has previously conducted preliminary research, such as a marketing study or user survey, you can use these findings to get a more complete picture of the project and its possibilities.
2. Identify bottlenecks
A software agency evaluates the input data and discusses the project bottlenecks after a client team presents its product requirements. It could include the implementation of a certain feature or business logic. You can accomplish this by conducting extensive research. This step involves the Discovery project development team’s core players, including business analysts, lead tech and design experts, and management. You should investigate and do a complete analysis of the input data. You should research the target audience, market, competition, trends, industry standards, the client’s brand, current infrastructure, technologies, and third-party platforms and solutions that might fit the project’s scope.
3. Discuss high-level solutions to the expected challenges
Transparency and effective communication are critical at all project stages, including the discovery phase. Following that, technical experts offer high-level solutions to the anticipated project pain areas and specified project requirements and findings. We must host a workshop with key stakeholders and the analytics team to approve the scope, go over the details, and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Then we can get down to business with the deliverables.
4. Define priorities and discuss a project scope
Project discovery stage sides go on to determining task priorities and forming a project scope at this point. This is a crucial stage for web app developers. They work with Product Managers to distribute resources efficiently and plan for the development process. Clients can see the user stories that are necessary for accurate estimations thanks to well-defined project scope.
5. Estimating time & costs and creating a product developing roadmap
A roadmap is essentially a step-by-step development plan for your product. It clarifies project schedules, identifies major project stages and milestones, and provides a simple development plan. Our team also gives a detailed time and cost estimate for the project and an evaluation of feasible cost reductions and the roadmap. As you can see, a project discovery session is a vital part of the client-software vendor relationship. Depending on the agency and the customers, several steps may be included.
Each product discovery session, however, should start with a topic exploration. Then there’s establishing bottlenecks, talking about high-level solutions, and deciding on priorities and project scope. Finally, the contractor should deliver real-time cost estimates to the customer.
What are our project objectives? Do we want to tackle urgent difficulties or develop something that will last? Are we more concerned with efficiency or making something attractive and appealing to the eye? In a perfect environment, you’d start by sitting down with your customer and discussing what they’re looking for in terms of a final product. You may have a product or service in mind for them, but you must be on the same page regarding the project’s basic requirements.
Hopefully, this article has given you step-by-step instructions on how to do a discovery phase project and why it is crucial to your company. At Mobirevo, we devote optimum attention to this development stage and offer quality product discovery services. We ask questions that allow our software team to explore the subject area, and its bottlenecks, and offer the most suitable tech stack and high-level solutions. We also provide our clients with accurate time and cost estimates, along with functional application wireframes and clickable prototypes.
Have a great project idea but not sure where to begin? Contact us today to schedule your Product Discovery session with our team and get a free quote. You can also check out our case study page to see our client’s portfolio and get a better understanding of the quality of products we deliver. Our team of developers is available to help you conduct your project discovery phase and turn your project into reality. Want to receive more content like this? You can signup for our newsletter, which features curated opinions, and product discovery tools for building remarkable digital assets.
Go ahead and subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you will be the first to know when we publish awesome content like this. Also, you can check other content crafted with love by our amazing team on our blog.