Project Discovery Phase and its Role in Custom Software Development

The article was originally published on Codica blog

A project discovery phase is a crucial development stage. It allows defining the priorities and bottlenecks, form project documentation, and provide customers with accurate time and cost estimates.

In this article, we will share a brief overview of a project discovery stage, and cover its goals, key tasks, and results for customers.

What is a project discovery phase?

product discovery

This phase is also important for software vendors. It allows them to clear up and define the following things crucial for further product development:

- Customer’s business and its aspects;

- The application’s target audience;

- The product end-users.

For your convenience, we created a table showing the core reasons why you should organize discovery sessions before starting a new software project.

What are the possible formats of project discovery sessions?

Here are possible ways to hold a discovery meeting:

- At the agency’s office;

- On the client side;

- Remotely.

In case customers cannot visit the software partner’s office or vice versa, they can organize a remote discovery session.

What are the key roles in the discovery session?

Usually, there is a certain list of specialists that take part in a meeting from both the development agency and the client. Let’s take a look at the major participants and their roles:

- Business analyst/Product manager;

- UI/UX designer;

- Software architect;

- Stakeholders.

To sum up, a discovery meeting helps define the scope of work, timeframe, and offer correct estimates to clients.

The main tasks of a project discovery phase

1. Explore the subject area

In the beginning, a customer explains how the web product should work, shares its main features, and user flow.

2. Identify bottlenecks

At this stage, a software development partner analyzes and processes the input data from stakeholders. They discuss the project bottlenecks that may include a particular application function or business logic.

3. Discuss high-level solutions to the challenges

The vendor’s technical lead offers high-level solutions to the existing problems.

4. Define priorities and discuss a project scope

Both the software company and clients proceed to identify priorities for tasks and build a project scope.

5. Offer project cost and time estimate and form project specifications

Finally, both project discovery sides form project documentation materials. They include the key product requirements, the most suitable architect solutions with estimates, wireframes, and clickable prototypes.

To conclude, a discovery session is a crucial process between a software company and clients. It can include numerous steps. However, each discovery meeting should start by exploring the subject area. After, it can include defining bottlenecks, discussing high-level solutions, priorities, and forming a project scope.

Main questions to be discussed

During each discovery session, a software vendor should ask a certain list of clarifying questions. Here are some of the basic ones.

- What is the business goal?

- What is the product target audience?

- Who are the main competitors?

- What is the project expected timeline?

- What is the budget for the project?

The mentioned above questions allow clarifying the key needs and requirements of stakeholders.

What do clients get after project discovery?

By the end of the project discovery phase, customers will get the following results:

- Wireframes and clickable prototypes;

- An initial list of features;

- Product specification;

- The tech stack and product architecture

- Time and cost estimates.

custom software development

Clickable prototypes

A prototype is a mockup that represents the final product simulating real user interaction. It is clickable which means users can experience app functionality, navigate through the main pages, open drop-down menus, and so on.

In fact, you may think that an interactive product prototyping is a copy of a final product. However, it only simulates the way users will interact with the solution interface.

Key purpose: test the ways of user interaction with an app and simulate the user experience.

activity booking marketplace

Final words

A project discovery phase is an important product development stage. It helps provide customers with project documentation, the most suitable technology stack, wireframes and clickable prototypes. Finally, clients get accurate time and cost estimates.

What is Project Discovery Phase in Custom Software Development

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