The discovery phase is a hugely beneficial step within the software development process if you’re after a high-quality solution to your business needs. It’s a chance for you to pitch your ideas and understand how the software development company you’ve chosen will work with you. For example, at Lightflows, we take an agile discovery phase approach – as we do throughout the software development process. This means we’ll collaborate with you to understand your needs, establish your goals and arrive at the best possible outcome.

This blog discusses the benefits of the discovery phase of a project for your business and your team. Each section will help paint a clear picture of how we’ll collaborate with you to understand your goals.

What is the discovery phase of a software project?

A project discovery phase aims to collect all the relevant information about the product before kicking off with software development. The information provided in this phase is crucial to understanding the product idea, assessing the system requirements and addressing any possible challenges.

What is the purpose of the discovery phase?

Fundamentally, the purpose of the discovery phase is to identify the vision, goals and scope of the project and confirm your objectives. It allows us as your partner to understand your business, and you to understand the software development process.

We’ll work with you to understand the problems you’re trying to solve. For example, is your system for organising internal documentation outdated? Do you want a portal your customers can access with a highly secure data system? Would you like a more detailed dashboard for viewing your business performance? All the information gathered in the discovery phase facilitates the software development journey. But, most importantly, it ensures we’ll deliver the best value to the necessary stakeholders.

So, by investing in this phase, you can rest assured we’ll grasp a better understanding of your objectives and business goals. This reduces the risk of delays due to any misunderstandings later on in the process.

What can you expect from the discovery phase?

Collaborative workshop

First, we’ll conduct a collaborative workshop that encompasses all the information gathered up to this point to arrive at the project’s specification. The workshop allows us to discuss ideas, share any concerns and agree on the best route for your business. During our workshops, we use Miro – an interactive whiteboard tool – to help explore and define concepts and agree on the software’s structure.

Defined deliverables

During the discovery phase, we’ll work with you to define the deliverables of the project. We might uncover new solutions to your stakeholder’s pain points which we can then prioritise to create a clear roadmap.

Technical scope and wireframes

We’ll provide you with a technical scoping document that includes low-fidelity wireframes of crucial pages or sections of your software. This will clarify what we’re proposing and what you can expect to receive. These wireframes focus more on the functionality than the user experience, which is explored further during the design phase.

Who is involved in the discovery phase?

To aid the software development process, we’ll invite most of our internal stakeholders involved in the project to participate in the discovery phase. At Lightflows, this includes:

Project Manager

Our Project Manager looks after all communications between you, your required stakeholders and us. They’ll track the project’s progress and update you regularly to let you know how we’re getting on, ensuring it moves swiftly.

Business Analyst

Our Business Analyst is responsible for exploring your business as it currently stands and providing recommendations for improvements. They research your competitors, market and evaluate ways to improve your current business operations with a realistic solution.

Software Engineer

Our Software Engineer also identifies your initial software requirements and recommends tools for developing a cutting-edge software solution.

Lead Designer

Our Lead Designer works closely with the Project Manager and Business Analyst to understand your software requirements. They then use this information to create initial prototypes of the software, ensuring it offers a smooth user experience.

The benefits of the discovery phase

The discovery phase helps establish everything we need throughout the software development process to ensure we deliver a suitable business solution.

There are many benefits to the discovery phase for your business, including:

Setting a clear direction

The discovery phase sets up the entire software development process. Once we’ve gathered all your requirements, we can put together the technical scoping document.

Preventing risks

If you skip the discovery phase, it can be harder to plan the process and get it right, leaving you disappointed with the result. The discovery phase provides a clear understanding of your goals and requirements and helps our team offer accurate estimates of times and costs. Essentially, the discovery phase is the difference between the success and failure of the overall project.

Seeing a design prototype

During the discovery phase, we can design prototypes for you based on our discussions to test how the final product will look, feel and work. While the final product might not look identical, the design prototype will give you an idea of what we can offer. Building a prototype that shares your vision would be hard if we didn’t do the discovery phase.

Building a fit-for-purpose product

In the discovery phase, we’ll be able to validate your ideas with you rather than make assumptions about your requirements. Then, once we have all the information we need, we can create a solid roadmap and set appropriate milestones to set your product up for success.

Why every software development process needs a discovery phase

All in all, the discovery phase of the software development process is a win-win for all your stakeholders. Providing a solid understanding from the start ensures you’ll receive a cutting-edge software solution. If you proceed with a software development company that doesn’t conduct a discovery phase, it can cause major delays. So, by choosing a software development company willing to listen to your needs and build you the best possible product, you’re guaranteed the best outcome.

If you’ve got your software idea, get in touch here to tell us, and we can arrange the discovery phase at a time that suits you.

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