Imagine, you have a new software development project to start, and you are responsible for the product delivery. In such a case before your team begins its development, it’s necessary to understand whether the product is able to compensate for the expenses and resources (people, time, money) for its implementation.
So how can you ensure this result?
If you want your product to fulfill its purpose, the simple method is project discovery.
What is Project Discovery?
Project discovery is the process of collecting the project information, market and audience for the developer to understand about its goal, vision, scope and limitations.
The discovery process helps to understand the needs and requirements of the end-users (clients, users, stakeholders). The SRS (System Requirements Specification) part of the process includes important information for development like features, deliverables, and so on and hence can analyze the key objectives of the project.
Usually, the process involves project managers, team leads, developers, designers, business analysts, account managers. They help with SRS, to build a wireframe prototype.
The project life cycle has five stages:
And a project discovery has 5 phases:
- Define your business goals
- Identify how you will measure success
- Conducting user research
- Identifying customer journey
- Review the competition
Why you need Project Discovery?
As we discuss in the beginning, Imagine you have an app idea, and you know how it should be, what it looks like and what does it should do.
But your deadline is tight and you have no time to take a chance for project discovery. In this case, you will give the project to a software company with a fixed budget and deadline. The developer will accept the project and your requirements and you will receive the finished product before the deadline.
Finally, you got your app with all features and great quality. Now its time for the launch and wait for new visitors.
After analyzing the analytics and statistics for a couple of months, you will get to know that your visitors are not happy to use your perfectly crafted app. The conversion of your service is lower than your expectations. You have already spent a huge amount on this app which doesn’t return the investment and now you can’t spend more on its further development.
What went wrong here?
Just because you got your perfectly constructed app within time will never result in the success. For the success of your app, other factors are involved. The key to success is understanding and proper knowledge. If the development team doesn’t understand the vision and requirements of users of the project, it is not possible to construct the app as you expected.
So, during software development, there are many decisions you have to make.
Project discovery is the best chance for the development team to understand more about the project regarding what to deliver and why to deliver. This single process will help the software development team to know how to merge users, goals, vision along with their needs and wants.
Some might think they don’t have enough time and budget for a project discovery. When you jump right into development without any knowledge about the project, then it will result in failures.
The same happens when you neglect the project discovery phase for the sake of saving time. You have to make many decisions for a huge impact on your project. You will get nothing by constructing an app quickly without proper preparation. It simply ends the future of your project.
Once the project discovery phase is complete, the outputs will be crucial. You will get:
- System Requirements Specification – Project Goals, Features, Technology Stack, Architecture
- Prototype – Digital interface representation and its features.
- MVP development plan – Team lineup, an estimate of time and budget
Why is the Project Discovery phase necessary?
1. It Leads to Better Solutions
A project discovery phase helps the team to understand more about the project. So it will be easy for them to suggest better solutions for the problems.
2. It Focuses on Objectives
A project built within time and budget will never result in success. Success is when the product achieves specific goals, such as an increased number of users, improved conversion rates. Focus is not just needed for deliverables, it is also important for objectives.
3. Consider Needs of User
When we build projects without understanding the needs of users, then it will result in project failure. Before you start, its necessary to do some user research and spent some time with users. Understand your users thoroughly and make decisions.
Benefits of a Project Discovery while Outsourcing
Reduce Risks – Understanding the goals, visions and requirements of the project helps the development team to build an app with a proper estimate of time and budget.
Establish a roadmap – The development team can develop the plan more easily by understanding the requirements. You will get the project timeline with goals, deliverables and deadlines. The wireframe prototypes and SRS developed in the stage of project discovery will help startups to convey investors and to bring funding. In such a method, rescheduling is not required. This will take the product from an idea to launch.
Build trust – You have to build a two-way trust with your team through regular communication and discussions. Otherwise, you can’t be sure even after the sales pitch that you are at the right vendor.
Identify technical issues- With new mobile and web applications, you are inventing something new. There might be technical challenges to be overcome and research on potential new technologies. This saves a lot of time and headaches if you address these before you even start the project execution.
Disadvantages of Project Discovery
- You have to do process discovery sessions, which will take a significant amount of time for the team.
- Your research and processed data need to be reviewed by the team leads and other managers to get approval.
- After all this process, it will be shared with the developers, designers, and other responsible members of the team.
The time and effort consumed is, however, highly worth it if you do a proper discovery of the project in hand.
How to Run a Project Discovery Phase?
- The list must consist of product owners, end-users, investors, developers and other requirements involved for the project completion.
- As a product owner, you should be able to answer the questions in the discovery session. The team must ensure that the needs and requirements of everyone involved are met.
- If you have done any market research or user interviews, then instead of spending time on discovery phase activities, give the internal documents to the business analyst for review and analysis.
- Understanding user problems will help to create better technical solutions. So, create user interviews and establish the SRS.
- Do market research, It will help to analyze the weakness of solutions and thus can strengthen the solution to attract users.
- Finally, hard work enables the team to estimate the time and budget to implement the MVP.
Project Discovery: What to keep in mind
- Company/Client: What are the goals, Who are the target audience, marketing materials, reasons for why they need a change.
- Current Offers: Available services, existing products, customer services, vendor-customer transition factors
- Market: Publications, online-offline research, total subscriptions
- Competition: USP, competitive features, online-offline competition
- Solution: Content audit, customer feedback, technology stacks
Conclusion: Project Discovery is an important part of development and outsourcing
Now you understand the importance of project discovery and its benefits.
Do you have any projects ideas to be done?
In Armia Systems, we offer discovery services for complex projects. Our experts will study your idea and work closely with you to build out a complete blueprint that shows exactly how to turn your idea into the fully functioning web or mobile app you desire.
Have an Idea for web/mobile app?
Request a free consultation to review your development options.