- July 10, 2020
Here at Code Factory, when we are talking to potential new clients and taking on new projects with our existing clients, we ramble on about ‘Discovery’ a lot. I mean, A LOT. Golden Rule – never start a new project without doing some level of Discovery first. Call it analysis, research or an examination of your vision. Whatever you call it, do not start until you have done it.
So, What’s a Code Factory Discovery Phase?
A Discovery Phase is essentially a process whereby collaborative teams do a number of things;
- Collect information and study the industry in for which the product is being developed for
- Competitor analysis
- A detailed understanding of your customer’s vision for their product, including their target audience, demographic and who the end-users will be
- Define and discuss technical solutions
- Why the software is needed
- Who needs the software
- What is the project scope
- Expected User Behaviour
- Definition of done, or definition of success
- How does it look – wireframes, sketches, design presentation
- Deadline – when
No development or designing will be done during this phase – we are here to create a blueprint for success!
How Long Does It Take?
This will generally depend on the size of the project. It’s important to not rush this phase but we would generally recommend;
- Medium Sized Project – 2 to 4 weeks
- Large Projects – 4 to 8 weeks
You need to remember that a major part of the process takes place during the discovery phase. Once the entire team has understood what needs to be done, it can be easily built
Great, And Who Needs To Attend?
The discovery phase is for all stakeholders. the discovery phase, if done properly, will save you lots of time and money
What Happens And What Is Discovered During The Discovery Phase?
Ok, let’s start with the “What’s Discovered” piece. We look under the hood and together, we should look at answering the following questions;
1.What is our product and how this is different from the competition.
2.How will it impact the end-users
3.What are the deliverables and what’s the definition of an MVP?
Some of the different activities that happen during the Discovery Phase are;
- An overview of the business – this will give us clarity on who the stakeholders are and where they work within the organisation.
- Stakeholder requirements sessions – sometimes referred to as interviews. We’ll ask all the questions necessary to give us the tools to build a plan.
- User Research and understanding the user personas – this will help us understand how typical or day to day users will interact with the product.
What Outputs To Expect From A Discovery Phase
Functional Requirements – This document will contain the requirements that will be implemented for the project. It will essentially put into words the software and technology solutions proposed to make the project a success.
Technical Designs – This will be the driving force for the project. The spine. This is the blueprint. Once the technical design is ready, turning it into beautiful code will be much easier for our world-class IT professionals.
High-Level Project Plan – This plan will map out the scope of the project with the proposed budget and timeline.
Project Costs – Cost knowledge is crucial in the decision making of all projects. The entire project as well as individual stages are critical for stakeholders. We will provide an overall proposal that will give stakeholders an idea of how much investment will be required.
What Happens If The Discovery Phase Is Not Included In The SDLC?
The cost of not investing in the discovery phase can be monumental. Furthermore, the entire process can be thrown into disarray. The development may go on a tangent. The team members won’t be able to stick to the schedule because haphazard changes and alterations will be introduced. No one will have a clear direction. As a result, your costs will escalate. The chances of having the workings of the application will diminish with every proceeding day.
Tips From Our Discovery Phase Experts
- Get the entire team involved. Be transparent and ensure there are no communication gaps.
- Keep the stakeholders in communication with each other. Keep them talking.
- Think of the Discovery as Quality Control measures. Customers and end-users won’t see it but consider it as part of your software development lifecycle.
The Discovery Phase is, in our experience, a very worthwhile exercise and is crucial to the success of your project. If the requirements are understood by all then it significantly increases the ability to deliver on time and on budget.
Code Factory has vast experience in running Discovery sessions on behalf of our clients. Our experience can shorten the development time, save development costs all while delivering world-class products.