Discovery phase in software product development from A to Z

What is the Discovery phase?

In software product development Discovery phase is an investigation of the project. The process is not fast and usually lasts up to two months. The information is being collected and thoroughly studied, defining the target audience and market, visualizing the goals, range, and obstacles.

What an ideal project discovery phase should look like?

An effective discovery phase gives you time to turn uncertainty and doubts into clarity and confidence. The process includes the following:

What will be the deliverables of the discovery phase?

So, you did a lot of initial work and now you are armed with project discovery phase deliverables, the keys to your final product success. They usually vary depending on the project complexity, size, stage, and deadlines. Taking into account the needs of the project at a particular time, the discovery phase deliverables are:

  • Architecture solution — A program, project, or change that is ready for immediate implementation, a structural design that is relevant to necessary conditions.
  • Software requirements specification (SRS Document) — An accurate description of the project, final product features, recommended technology, and architecture plan. The document should be evaluated and discussed for possible improvements before approval.
  • Road Map — A graphical, extra quality sketch of the project’s goals, dependencies, and risks demonstrated on a timeline. With no abundance of unnecessary details, the road map is great for seeing stakeholders’ needs and finding ways to please them. The Road map is also a comfortable connection between teams where plans are communicated without much effort and resources are easily coordinated.
  • Visual concept — The development team hasn’t started doing the job yet, but you already have your first impression of the interface design and its primary features.
  • Time/budget estimations — The final numbers obtained during the discovery phase proved to be reliable and unlikely to change. Your emotional confidence will ensure a recommended team lineup so that your time and money are safe.

What is an agile approach in project development?

A fast-paced agile approach is a popular way to manage work in the modern world full of changes. It focuses on the ability of quick adaptation and has its values and principles where everything human is always above technology, responding to changes is above following the plan, etc. The highest priority here is to satisfy the customer and changing requirements are welcomed. Frequent project delivery, daily coordination, motivating environment and support, face-to-face communication, sustainable development, technical excellence, and nice design, simplicity, self-organizing teams are agile guidelines in making the right project development decisions.

Discovery phase in agile

The Agile methodology is associated with a no-time-to-lose way of working, and in this case, the Discovery phase in a project might seem out of place. However, it is usually considered as one of the main priorities because there is no other way to ensure mutual understanding between professionals from the start.

What is the benefit of discovery in agile?

Discovery in Agile empowers your project with fluency and the freedom to adapt to possible changes due to what was missed or situations that are out of your control. The fact is, in agile projects discovery is continuous and it remains in every step ready for improvement. So, implementing new requirements is easy and effective. You can initiate a simple discovery to describe the project’s goal and gradually connect systems along with each stage.

ZenBit’s approach of providing Discovery Phase

Since 2017, we have managed to help our most enthusiastic clients make their dreams come true bringing their brilliant ideas to life. We value time and product passion, following certain business principles of quality delivery, that’s we care a lot about the Discovery phase. We split it into several major modular stages

  • Competitive Researching and market analysis — We carefully investigate the market to find clients for your business. The competitive analysis gives a lot to its uniqueness. The result is your product’s competitive advantage.
  • RoadMap — We use it for visualizing goals, steps, and milestones. A roadmap proved to be a great communication tool.
  • Architecture solution — We create a comprehensive architecture for a software solution and provide strategic direction throughout the development process. For doing this our professionals have a perfect technical background and analytical skills, excellent communication, project, and resource management experience.
  • Wireframing — We use wireframing to design your product at the structural level. Content and functionality are represented on a page with user needs and user journeys.
  • Visual concept including Design guidelines, UI Kit — We follow design guidelines keeping the interface simple, page layout deliberate, purposefully using color and texture, hierarchy and clarity, creating consistency, and using common UI elements. We also have our UIkit that saves a lot of time when creating user interface components.
  • Interactive prototypes — We like quickly created wireframes for early testing and stakeholder evaluations. They can be either animation, rapid prototypes, storyboards, or simulations.
  • Breaks down a product’s functionality into deliverables — Everything is easier if you divide each step of your project into small tasks. So we build an understandable structure of the project that all stakeholders can appreciate.
  • Applying and configuring suitable project management methodology — We need to select the most suitable project management methodology to make the most of the available resources and time. So we chose either Waterfall, Agile, eXtreme Programming (XP) or Kanban, Lean, and others. Everything depends on the project.

Conclusion

So what is the ideal discovery phase and how it will help you save time, budget, scale down development risks, and avoid common pitfalls? Overconfidence and the wish to deliver frequently should be balanced with knowing where you are going, otherwise, you just won’t get there. A good beginning makes a good ending. If your initial stage is chaotic and wrong, a lot of time and money will be lost in the end. But if you begin the right way, investing at the seed step, you will enjoy watching the process go naturally and fluently.

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