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Essence Of Discovery Phase In Software Development Projects – Gary Skentelbery

The world has seen the power of computers. We as a society now accept that life wouldn’t be this easier as it is now with the internet and computers everywhere.

But what runs on computers that enables them to complete tasks on a whim? Software. Proprietary apps enable the users to complete tasks that are tedious for humans to do. Think of Uber, Google, Spotify, or any other web or desktop app you use. So you, as an entrepreneur, want to develop your app? Keep reading this article as it introduces you to the Discovery Phase of Software Development projects and explains its importance.

What Is A Discovery Phase?

A very disturbing fact about software development is that one out of 3 new app development projects fails to achieve its development goals or exceeds the estimated development costs. Discovery Phase helps you save your project from such problems. In the project discovery phase, the main goal of an enterprise is to understand why they are developing new software, what its effectiveness is, and why people will line up to buy their new tool. Questions like buyer persona of the customer, demand in the market, target audience, etc., are asked in this phase to avoid any mishaps in the future.

The Goal Of Stakeholders

In a Discovery Phase, everyone that will be directly responsible for the marketing and growth of a software product gathers to answer the important question. Everyone from the marketing manager, development team leads, outreach experts, and branding experts think about what their goal is with their new product. All these people tell their insights about what they think of the project and what their expectations are. Stakeholders ensure that nothing is in the dark, so they share ideas or criticism about the product in question.

Coming To The Benefits

Why would you go through the phase of ideation and brainstorming when you have a hunch that your new software will change the world? Well, businesses don’t run on hunches and guesses. You have to gather solid insight about whether there’s a need or can you create a need for your project. Otherwise, you will be sending all your money down the gutter. Here are the reasons why you should always go for the Discovery Phase first and what benefits you will get:

i.               A Clear View

As mentioned earlier, you have to bring all stakeholders to one table to talk about your new project. This very meeting gives you an idea of whether your product is going to take the market by storm or not. You get to receive different insights about the project from people who are well-versed in their departments. Opinions from the cross-industry experts help you assess your original idea. You get to realize whether your idea is feasible in the real world or not. Getting a clear view helps you to see whether your new products will survive the criticism on the discussion table or will die brutally in the real world.

ii.              Valuing Competence

You would hate to find a rope when you are there in the pit trying to get help from your partners. In the same way, when your product is in the market, you would hate to restructure its backend and whatnot because it’s not working properly. It’s way better to assess your idea and the implementation before you start putting your time and energy into a new project. Think about what will be the infrastructure of this new software. How long will it take to develop the code? What will be the best running environment for your new app? Questions like these are answered by the developers in your team and understand what they think about the project.

iii.             Estimate The Costs

There is no need to make rough estimations of the development costs when estimating a precise amount in the Discovery Phase. For example, if you think that your present team of developers can develop your new app, you might be wrong. You may find in the discovery phase that you might have to hire new staff or outsource your development project. In the same way, you will get an idea about the varying costs of software tools that you need during the development. Thinking of a feasible cost plan will save you from paying extra money in the future when the development phase starts. You will also become clearer about the costs.

iv.             What Sets You Apart

There is no shortage of software tools in the industry nowadays. Tons of apps are already present that help people do nearly EVERYTHING that they want to do. So if you end up developing an app that is already there in the market, do you think there will be a slight chance of selling it? Therefore, you have to find whether you have any customers or not before you spend a penny on development. Finding your competitive edge is one of the main benefits of the Discovery Phase. You get a clear picture of whether your new product will be a hit or fail miserably in the market.

v.              Get Rid Of Risks

You can’t “Completely” get rid of risks when building a new software product. But when you think through things in the discovery phase, you get to know about the risks. Is your new software product an easy one for copycats in the market? How much will you have to spend for integrating 3rd-party tools in your new app? What happens if you fail to get your maximum potential? All these harsh questions save you from a huge peril in the future.

vi.             Rethink About Your Idea

Discovery Phase should make every question about your new app visible to you before your clients or customers ask you about it. For example, even if your idea is unique and there is a good demand for your idea in the market, you may still suffer if you don’t execute it the right way. Things about your idea and your software product should be clear from the very beginning. There is no need to stay in the dark when you have the chance to rework your idea in the discovery phase.