Discovery phase in the software development process

Discovery phase is the collection and analysis of data about the project, its commercial focus, and target audience. This is the key element of the development process, which allows to create a correct and clear sequence of actions and develop the initial idea most successfully. This phase takes relatively little time (usually from one week to one month, depending on the complexity of the project), but it significantly reduces the time it takes to get the product ready.

Discovery phase of the project implies:

  • Analysis of the client’s request, ideas, requirements, and wishes about the future project. Analysts ask the customer questions and gather as much detailed information as possible to better understand the essence of the product.
  • Project goal setting and the creation of a clear understanding of the finished product for all participants in the development process. The team gets a better understanding of the result to be achieved and suggests alternative solutions which the customer may not have guessed about.
  • Conducting market research and analysis of users. The team creates models of user behavior and studies the uniqueness of the product.
  • Creation of technical requirements in a general document. Usually, this is provided in the format of SRS, which takes into account all the suggestions and wishes of the customer.

As a result, Discovery phase in a project helps:

  • To determine a more accurate product development budget.
  • To defy a more accurate development timeline.
  • To avoid architectural and logical errors during development.

When do you really need a discovery phase?

The project discovery phase is needed if:

  • There is no complete idea of the product. The Discovery phase is vital if you have only a vague idea and no specifics.
  • More than two interested parties. When there are multiple idea owners, their vision of the final product may differ. Moreover, their preconceptions about the functionality or purpose of the product may be different. This can lead to conflicts. The Discovery phase will show what is really important for the most effective implementation of the project.
  • Overly complex projects. A complex project implies many requirements for the final product, too saturated a market, many competitors, and so on. Without a Discovery phase, product development cannot guarantee success.
  • Long-term projects. Any long-term project is complex and requires a special approach that can be determined during the project discovery phase.
  • Success is critical. There are projects where too much is at stake. The Discovery stage will help to avoid even the slightest mistakes and will lead to success.

The Discovery Phase creates the foundation for project success, as it creates all the necessary conditions for a productive development process:

  1. Involves the entire team in the process to explore the project from different angles and make it immediately understandable to everyone involved.
  2. Maintains constant communication so that all parties get a complete understanding of the project.
  3. Learns as much as possible about the user to make the product the most relevant and successful.

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