Discovery Phase of Software Development 2022
The development of software is a highly complex process that requires a lot of time and resources. If you want to release an attractive app, you should consider such important factors as the usage of modern technologies and the necessity to follow the latest trends. At the same time, it’s important to ensure that your software will meet users’ expectations and manage to stand out from other applications.
There are many phases of a software project, such as quality assurance and deployment. At the same time, all processes depend on the first stage – the discovery phase. During it, the developers and clients work on a thorough plan to define the delivery of the project. Today, you’ll discover why this stage is important and how it can help you ensure the success of your business goals.
What Is a Discovery Phase in Software Development?
The project discovery phase is an essential stage of software development. It’s related to a research and planning process held before the work on a project begins. During a discovery phase, both developers and their clients define the main goals of a digital project, deadlines, and users’ expectations they need to meet. After that, they prepare a detailed development plan that includes the technologies and resources necessary for the project delivery.
The discovery phase of a software project is extremely important, and it’s highly not recommended to ignore it. You can’t build a house without an architectural plan. It’s possible to say the same words about the development of software and the discovery phase.
Moreover, the majority of professional and reliable software development companies will insist on a discovery phase before the work on the project begins. Consider that this is a sure way to strengthen your project’s chance to succeed.
You may be sure that the delivered software will meet your expectations and business goals only after a discovery phase of the project. It’ll include information about its main characteristics:
Offered user experience and key features.
These three aspects require careful planning and analysis. Consider that nearly 45% of the digital projects fail to be developed on time and on budget due to the inappropriate discovery software project phases. Moreover, you’ll never please your clients in case you don’t focus on every single detail and element of your digital product.
Who Does the Discovery Phase of Your Project?
The discovery phase of a software project actually provides you with useful information and tons of benefits (we’ll talk about them later). However, many companies often don’t understand the value of this important process. They consider it to be excessive and inefficient during the early stages of the project.
However, the truth is that even a brilliant idea may fail in case you don’t pay proper attention to its elements. If you ignore the project management discovery phase, you may miss a lot of opportunities and problems that you should solve before the release. You can predict the future of your project and ensure its success only when you have a plan. As a rule, the following people take care of the project management discovery phase:
Clients. First of all, clients have to share the initial idea and vision of the project. Also, they may provide important industry insights, describe basic requirements, and offer examples if there are any.
UX/UI designers. These specialists take an active part during the discovery phase. They are responsible for competitor analysis, audience research, and the development of the product’s vision. Professional designers use their experience and the most efficient practices to understand users and define their goals in order to ensure perfect UX.
Tech team. A powerful and experienced tech team is the key to your project’s success. Professionals can define and analyze technical requirements and use their knowledge to choose the best platform and solutions for your digital project. The tech team will help to discover the most important tasks that should be done during the software implementation phase.
Business analysts and project managers. Last but not least, these experts are the first to take action during the discovery phase. For example, business analysts will analyze the project’s goals and potential from the market perspective. Meanwhile, project managers will find the right specialists and ensure that the project will be delivered on time while meeting all requirements and expectations.
Benefits of a Discovery Phase
It’s impossible to underestimate the value and usefulness of a discovery phase. You are welcome to get acquainted with the major benefits described below.
You’ll be asked to approve every idea and detail during the discovery phase. Due to it, you can be sure that you’ll get the desired digital product in the end. Moreover, there is a strong chance that you won’t need to spend extra money to deal with unexpected problems.
The discovery phase totally eliminates the disappointment and unpleasant surprises. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to change anything. The professional developers can still make changes to your plan if it’s necessary.
There are tons of things that may go wrong without proper software development planning. If you want to manage the risks, you need a discovery phase. It will help you avoid or reduce the following problems:
Your product focuses on a wrong audience or market;
People don’t find your app attractive or useful;
The development process has significantly exceeded the pre-set budget and deadline;
Your project doesn’t have a scalable architecture;
The support of your digital product requires too much time and money due to the usage of the wrong development solutions;
The communication problems between clients and a development team have led to misunderstanding and project’s fail.
Thanks to the discovery phase, you’ll be able to consider the mentioned risks and find possible solutions. It’s certainly a better option than the complete rework of the developed project.
During the discovery phase, you’ll get acquainted with all experts responsible for the delivery of your project. You’ll discover their roles and main tasks. Thus, you’ll be able to get in touch with the necessary specialists in case you want to change or improve something during the development process.
Main Stages of the Discovery Phase
As a rule, the discovery phase project management is divided into four simple stages:
A professional software development company will conduct several interviews with the client in order to discover everything about the project’s concept. As a rule, during this stage, the following details are discussed:
The provided information helps the development team understand the clients’ expectations. It’s just perfect if a client has already done preliminary research. In this case, the developers will use the received insights to come up with a more comprehensive project’s concept and estimate its potential.
Unlike preliminary research, this one is done by professionals from the software development team. They study the target audience as well as analyze the market, competitors, key trends, successful industry standards, and technologies. Thus, they can define the best solutions that will be used for the delivery of the future project.
As soon as the team gets enough information and successfully finishes the analysis of the project, it conducts a workshop with a client and their partners. During this stage, both sides approve the budget, deadlines and discuss the main details to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Presentation of deliverables
Finally, when all the reports, documents, and other deliverables are ready, the development team conducts a second workshop with a client. They show the outcomes of the research, choose the most efficient strategy and come up with a detailed software development plan.
How Long Does the Discovery Phase Last?
The discovery stage of program development usually takes from one and a half to two weeks. Nonetheless, it relates only to relatively small projects. In case you want to launch a bigger project, you may need to wait nearly two months before business analysts, project managers, and designers finish their work.
Moreover, the discovery stage of a software project that aims to release a groundbreaking digital product may take nearly four months. During this time, the team will be working on a design concept, documentation, and wireframes to implement the client’s ideas.
What Do You Get by the End of the Discovery Phase?
First of all, during the discovery phase of a software project, you may find out a lot of new business opportunities as well as ensure you’ve chosen the right target audience. In case it turns out you should opt for another market, you’ll be able to avoid significant losses by changing the direction of product development beforehand. Furthermore, you may discover and overcome different unexpected risks and problems.
In addition, a successful discovery phase of a software project is your chance to get the documents that will ensure a smooth and efficient development process. With the help of a proper plan, your digital product will be bound to succeed.
Discovery Phase Deliverables
At the end of the discovery phase of a software project, you’ll get several essential deliverables that will form a basis for the development process. As a rule, this set of documents includes:
Development plan. Here you’ll be able to see all project’s stages, deadlines, and budget. Usually, a development plan is prepared by a project manager and a development team leader.
Technical requirements. This document includes information about your project’s features, functions, objectives, architecture, and technologies that will be used during its development.
UI/UX concept. It demonstrated the way your business goals will be achieved during the interaction with your software users. Consider that this document is tightly connected to your target audience (its preferences, problems, etc.) and your project’s purpose.
User portfolio. This document includes information about the future users of your project – their goals, requirements, main characteristics, etc. Sometimes, it may be provided as a part of the UI/UX concept.
Now you know why it’s essential not to ignore the discovery phase of a software project. Even a simple project will never succeed without a thorough plan and deep analysis of the industry, market, and target audience. Moreover, usually, the discovery phase doesn’t take a lot of time, but the benefits it offers will certainly stand you in good stead.
In case you are looking for a reliable software team to help you with the development of your project and ensure its success, SolidBrain is at your service! We will guide you through all stages of the discovery phase and ensure a further efficient development process. Just get in touch with our customer support services, and we’ll find the best solutions for your project.