Discovery phase in Project Development

The primary reason why applications cross the expected budget or the deadline is because of not analyzing the uncertainty of the project timely. This negligence often puts the project in jeopardy. All you need to control the risks in software development is to have a plan. In simple words, just like for building or remodeling a house, you need a foundation plan, software development needs to proceed chronologically, starting with the discovery phase.

The Discovery phase of a project is a crucial step to identify the ambiguities and iterate the idea right at the beginning of the project. The project discovery phase is the answer for every businessman having the question, “I have an app idea, what should I do next?”. Yes, if followed in the right direction, the steps for an app project discovery phase add value to the project and allow it to move in an incremental way achieving various milestones.

The software development complexities are addressed, and the overall lifecycle improves. The discovery phase is an integral part of project management, and in this blog, we will discuss all the nitty-gritty details of the discovery phase.

Discovery Phase of Mobile App Development

What is the discovery phase of mobile app development?

The Discovery phase is the preparatory step where we gather the project requirements and analyze the scope. The stage is highly suitable for startups and projects with a novel idea involving complexities.

The discovery phase of a project helps in increasing sustainability by studying the market, competition, target audience, expectations, best practices, business opportunities, and everything revolving around the project idea.

The discovery phase in software development gives you a better understanding of the idea, and you can prioritize milestones/decisions accordingly.

It checks the project’s feasibility & gives you a broader scope of business expansion. The discovery phase of a project might take time between two weeks to two months. However, every potential or limitation is known to the project management beforehand.

Who performs the discovery phase?

The discovery phase of the software development project is performed by a team involving:

- Stakeholders & domain experts;

- Project manager;

- Business analyst;

- Account manager;

- Sales head;

- Company’s representative;

- Leading designers and UX experts;

- Tech leads and software engineers;

The united work of everyone participating in the process eventually leads to the project’s success. Say, for example, stakeholders define the project goals, requirements, audience, and a 360-degree view of the project idea.

Leading designers and UX experts help in defining the project’s vision. They perform competitive analysis and come up with a strong user experience strategy.

Likewise, tech leads keep a check on the technical requirements of the project. The software engineers note what functionalities you need to include and what architecture & logic you should adopt.

Also, business analysts and project managers are responsible for jotting down every requirement and preparing the documentation accordingly. They also note down your project expectations and keep everyone on the same page.

Discovery Phase of Mobile App Development

What are the advantages of the discovery phase of the project? Why is it important to begin the project with a discovery phase?

In simple terms, the discovery phase helps you in identifying the nuances of the mobile app development process. The application development becomes much simpler if you have the chance to explore the challenges right at the beginning of the project. A few of the benefits of the discovery phase are:

Reduces Risks:

Once you have a detailed view of the project’s scope and requirements, you can easily start accurately estimating the completion date and budget. This protects you from missing deadlines by almost 75% and saves costs by almost 50%.

Sets up a clear roadmap:

The clarity of app development that the discovery phase brings suggests ways in which you can move ahead step-by-step. The Discovery phase helps in effective planning of the development lifecycle and thereby reduces any rescheduling or alterations in the planning.

Builds trust and boosts relationships:

It is a human tendency to trust a sales pitch that promises a value rather than the one that looks like building castles in the air. The Discovery phase addresses every uncertainty that may arise during the development and as a result, you can come up with a promising launch strategy. It also encourages communication which is the key to building relationships and trust.

What are the key components of the Discovery phase?

There are usually seven stages of the discovery phase. Each of these stages has its own role to play in defining the forward strategy of the discovery phase.

The first on the list is,

#1 Client communication:

This is the first step when a potential client approaches an app development company with the project idea. The development partner and the client share the ideas and communicate their expectations and budget. If everything is within the budget, the first official client communication is initiated.

During this call, the tech lead and sales head move forward with the discovery phase and discuss the budget, must-have features, project agility, and other important aspects.

Again, if both are on common grounds, an agreement is signed between the two.

#2 Planning stage:

A project planning needs substantial inputs from everybody involved. The brainstorming of the heads is responsible for project evolution. As a development partner, you can have a better understanding of feature expectations, the project’s uniqueness, technology, and the platform to target, target audience, and much more.

The technical leads and business analysts work together to define the e project’s scope based on the inputs received from the client.

#3 Specification document preparation:

The Discovery phase of a project allows you to run a survey through your competition. This means you have a comprehensive understanding of the project’s requirements.

Now, you are at that stage where you can pen down the requirements and prepare a detailed document for future reference. The app development company will prepare three major documents, first, product requirements document, second, system requirements specification, and third, functional & non-functional requirements document.

The mobile app development company would also prepare flowcharts to describe the flow of the entire lifecycle of building a mobile app.

#4 Wireframing:

It is time to sketch the visual designs of the project. A wireframe is an important step of the mobile app design process where a blueprint of the app is prepared. It is prepared by UX/UI designers that looks almost similar to the final product of the project.

#5 Foreseeing the project completion:

Wireframing gives a clear picture of how the application is going to look and feel. More so, the hired mobile app developers can also go for prototyping to have a visually appealing app design. Once you prepare the wireframe, you have an idea where you can place the features and what will be the flow of the same.

At this stage, you can start estimating the project completion date and timelines for various milestones.

#6 Application designing:

After the completion of the prototyping stage and its finalization, it’s time to move forward with app designing. The UI/UX designers can proceed with app designing while deciding the font, typography, color scheme, etc., for the project.

#7 Document the final project specification:

The vital document for the discovery phase is the project specification document. Each covers details of every screen and feature that helps the team at any point in time. The specification requirement document also mentions the responsibilities of each team member for a better alignment of the project workload.

What tools are used in the discovery phase?

The Discovery phase of a project helps in saving money & time. A few tools used in the discovery phase are:

Mind Map:

Mind Maps are used for visualizing the roles and responsibilities of project-concerned people.

User story:

User stories are used to explain user interaction and expectations from the application.

SWOT analysis:

S: Strength, features, advantages, etc.

W: Weakness, project uncertainties, etc.

O: Opportunities, project scaling, and growth;

T: Threats, risks involved in the project.

Design concept:

It is used to design the concept that has been finalized for the project.

BPMN chart:

BPMN chart is used to define system interactions and user goals.

Concluding thoughts:

The benefits of the discovery phase in project development are quite tangible and help you overcome project-specific skepticism. The cost of the discovery phase is around $3K to $5k.

We highly recommend that if you are planning to develop an application that involves complexities or too many features, you should begin the same with the discovery phase. The discovery phase works in your favor and assists you in delivering things that you want exactly.

blog author - kodytechnolab

Manav Patel