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Why Discovery Phase Plays an Important Role in Software Development

Discovery Phase in Development

The Discovery Phase in software development is the first and required step where specifications are identified and set business goals are analyzed to make an offer for technical implementation, identify project boundaries, and estimate development costs.

This step is among the most important stages for successful project implementation. The Discovery Phase practically lasts from 1 or 2 weeks to a month.

Discovery Phase Timeline

What Tasks Are Addressed As Part of the Discovery Phase and How the Process Looks

There is not a single ready-made chart for Discovery Phase implementation, but in general, it is a step-by-step work, during which it is necessary to proceed from global business goals and tasks to specific user interaction with the system. After each step, a separate artifact with fixed requirements is provided.

Artifacts are conveniently classified into mandatory and optional, but the final set depends on customer goals. Roughly speaking, to represent the idea to stakeholders, we will make a presentation or design concept, but if the design is on the customer side, we exclude these works.

The first artifact implies a general scope of identified business goals and objectives. The final one comprises the development assessment with a detailed breakdown by functional capabilities along with the approved non-functional requirements and an approximate assessment of the necessary labor costs denominated in hours.

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The following works are performed as part of the Discovery Phase in software development:

  • the subject area is studied;
  • customer business processes are studied;
  • customer expectations of the upcoming product are specified;
  • bottlenecks are identified;
  • high-level solutions to issues are formulated;
  • priorities are set and a backlog is formed;
  • a project roadmap is compiled;
  • designers create wireframes/moqups.

It is necessary to understand that the customer’s confidence in the contractors and the desire to find common grounds to get good results are important conditions for a successful Discovery Phase.

What Are the Benefits of the Discovery Phase?

It might seem that the Discovery Phase increases the entire project complexity and cost. However, it is not actually so, as both a customer and contractors get several important advantages if they implement this phase.

  1. Risk reduction. The development team can evaluate the time and budget required for project implementation more precisely if they clearly understand the goals, requirements, and customer capabilities. The risk of delays in the software release is reduced, and it is clear what and in what order the development should take place.
  2. Prototype development. Based on the data received, the designer creates mockups for the upcoming product, which are the foundation for future functionality adjustments and technical specifications development.
  3. Road map creation. A clear set of requirements allows the development team to draw up a step-by-step plan for project implementation. It includes the description of the intermediate goals and the expected end results.
  4. Mutual understanding and transparency. When a customer defines their needs and capabilities, and the contractors offer certain options, it is possible to discuss and approve the main points important for project implementation. Uncertainty disappears and all parties understand they can move in the required direction.
  5. Time and budget assessment. The absence of clear goals or work plan leads to a constant change in requirements and increases development costs. Besides, it causes shifts in the development schedule and release dates. Such circumstances may deplete the customer’s budget before the time when the team is able to present a usable product.

The Discovery Phase of the project requires some time and effort, but if you do everything in compliance with the plan, everything will go smoothly. If you carry out this phase, you will build the foundation of relations between a customer and the team involved in the development.

A customer and a contractor arrive at a uniform understanding of the concept of the developed product and establish contact, which is very important for efficient work on the project.
The Lvivity team has plenty of experience in implementing the Discovery Phase for various types of projects. If you plan to implement the project idea and you need such a service, you can contact us to get free advice.

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