The discovery phase is a critical part of any software development project, not a way to postpone actual development.
What are the chances of hitting the target if you’re shooting with your eyes shut? About the same as starting a software development project without estimating, researching, and analyzing each aspect first.
Yes, all this research takes time - the time the team could have spent actually developing something. But starting a project without comprehensively analyzing it first is unreasonable and quite dangerous. If little attention is paid to the evaluation, the final cost and timeline may exceed what was planned. Our advice is to start every IT project you care about with the discovery phase. And the good news is, you don’t have to do it in-house.
So… What is the discovery phase?
Quite often, companies come up with ideas, but they don’t have a clue on how to implement them. It’s even worse when they aren’t sure about their user needs. This is when the discovery phase is critical.
The discovery phase is the initial, information-gathering stage of the project when a team of experts identifies the technical requirements and analyzes the business objectives of the project.
Because the discovery phase impacts the entire SDLC, the team of experts usually consists of a business analyst, a designer, and a technical lead. They communicate with the client and the client’s team to learn more about their expectations, preferences, and requirements. Then, they analyze the market and shape the project description to estimate the development costs and timeline.
This approach minimizes the number of changes in the course of development, as the size of the project is defined along with other key factors, like the type of required solutions, functions, and specifications, tools and platforms, time frames and budget.
Why do you need the discovery phase?
Simple: the discovery phase cuts both the cost and the effort put into implementing an idea, optimizing the development in terms of time and expense.
- Overall, the analysis is necessary to:
- Discover the users’ goals and problems
- Understand the context of the product
- Find new ideas for development
- Understand users' expectations and attitudes about the product
As far as the client is concerned, the discovery phase helps:
adjust the expected time and development budget to adapt the project to the capabilities of the client form a closed-loop business process immediately test assumptions against end-users and receive feedback instantly
All in all, the discovery phase gives the client and the team (in-house or outsourced a common understanding of the solution that is going to be developed. But more than that, it forms the bond and trust critical for the later stages of the project.
The bottom line
A thoroughly conducted discovery phase is your key to a product the audience will love, developed on time and within budget. For the engineers, the phase gives a clear roadmap, and for the client, it’s a guarantee every effort was made to deliver an outstanding solution.
At Perfsol, we recommend running the discovery phase for most projects we develop. It lays the foundation for efficient work and helps us provide high-quality software solutions tailored to client requirements and user needs. So if you'd like to learn more about the discovery phase and our processes, don’t hesitate to contact us.