Discovery Phase Service for Custom Software Development

Whether you are a startup, a medium business, or an enterprise, Quintagroup will help define your goals, develop a winning vision, identify potential risks and eliminate uncertainties to ensure a successful launch of a software development project.

The Discovery Phase Service for Custom Software Development is a comprehensive service that provides customers with the opportunity to learn more about their software project before committing to development. Quintagroup can provide you with a team of experts who will help a customer by creating:

  • a proposal containing the architecture of the new system
  • a description of the development team
  • a description of the scope of work
  • a problem statement describing what problem we solve with this software
  • a development timeline - for example three months or a year, and the price (fixed, per sprint, or per team per month or T&M).

Through this process, our professionals will help the customer uncover any hidden requirements or technical challenges that could impact the development process.

The final result of the Discovery phase service is a detailed proposal outlining the project requirements, technical architecture, and estimated time and cost for the software development. By the end of the phase, the requirements and scope of work will be formulated from a technical point of view, including use cases and user stories, and what is more important we will carry out the assessment of cost and development timeline. This way, we can make an informed decision about moving forward with development.

The discovery phase service for custom software development also includes a variety of prototyping and design services. Quintagroup UI/UX designers are experienced in both Figma and Balsamiq, two popular prototyping and design tools. These tools are usable for creating an interactive prototype of the customer’s software project, which will give them a better understanding of the user experience and the software’s desired functionality. This prototype will be used to further refine the project requirements and technical architecture. By the end of the discovery phase, the customer will have a clear understanding of their project scope, timeline, cost and will be able to make an informed decision about moving forward with development.

The Viability of Skipping Discovery Phase in Projects

Ignoring the discovery phase would be fraught with unexpected consequences and can cause you a budget overrun. It often happens that startups decide to skip the discovery phase, and as a result, they have to deal with requirement creep. Sometimes, because of internal miscommunication and disagreements, stakeholders start changing requirements and extending the project’s work, which leads to extra expenses and a waste of money and time. Improperly defined scope of the project and constant changes of requirements generate missed deadlines, and the processes get beyond control. The quality of the work done under such circumstances won’t be high as well.

The Composition of the Project Discovery Team

Communication while planning and gathering requirements won’t be productive if there are no clients themselves or client representatives during the discovery phase. It is of the highest importance that the decision-makers are available at meetings and give their feedback or make some remarks.

The discovery phase team consists of specialists with deep expertise in business analysis, UI/UX design, project management, tech specialists, and an architect. The composition of the team varies depending on the project scope and specifics, but its key figures usually include the following:

  • Business Analyst - gets into contact with stakeholders and decision-makers, gathers information and conducts the analysis of requirements. After meeting with stakeholders, the analyst evaluates the scope of the developer tasks are and breaks it down into understandable goals, represented visually as story points.
  • Project Manager - suggests methodologies and approaches towards the successful execution of project plans, acts as a mediator between a client and a software development team and takes care of effective communication between both. Project manager’s my aim to shape a workable timeline, identify a team that is proficient in all aspects of this project, assess the costs of development, and ensure stakeholders comprehend our progress on this.
  • UI/UX Designer - responsible for prototyping, analysis of customers’ data, defining pitfalls, and issues, and working towards improving user experience.
  • Tech specialist (architect or tech lead) - helps to identify technical requirements, suggests technical stack, conducts architectural design sessions, and collaborates with other members on solution development. The aim is to select the best technologies and design a winning solution architecture.

Discovery Team: Main Responsibilities

The discovery team is made up of professionals from many fields, including an architect, a business analyst, a PM, and sometimes a UX expert. It's a great collaboration of talent and expertise in pursuit of positive outcomes! Some of a discovery team functions include:

  • Identifying the value proposition and indicating an issue;
  • Uncovering business and user’s needs;
  • Roadmapping and Product Vision;
  • Using stakeholder assumptions to create personas;
  • Developing a solution architecture and user experience (UX) prototype for the MVP;
  • Considering your product from the viewpoint of the user.
  • The business analyst and the architect will work together to figure out what needs to be done and how much the developers will charge for it.
  • The project manager will carefully consider the qualifications and skills necessary for the job and make the best decision for the project’s team.
  • The architect should design the architecture of the solution and decide what technologies should be used, suggest what skills are needed and recommend who should make up the project team.
  • The PM should create a roadmap, establish the conditions for progress, and develop a timeline to track progress.
  • Building prototypes, wireframes, customer journey maps, experimental architectures, and business diagrams can all be beneficial tools that a BA or PM uses to make their work process more engaging and effective!

Process of Product Discovery Stage

The first step towards the realization of your idea is the discovery stage. The process of collecting information, identifying the client’s pain points, prototyping, requirements gathering and road mapping take from 1 to 6 weeks. The duration of discovery depends on the project size and specification. During this phase, we usually conduct 1-12 meetings/calls to ensure we’re on the same page with a client.

Discovery sessions involve the following steps:

Step 1. Problem statement, Sketching and wireframing.

We analyze your business problems, research field studies, and hold meetings to get a better insight into your goals and deliver the desired results. Having conducted a thorough analysis, we get down to sketching and outlining the website’s basic, key concepts, and UI elements

Step 2. Rapid prototyping.

The next step is developing iterative mockups, getting users’ feedback, and presenting it to stakeholders.

Step 3. System architecture.

An architect or a tech lead proposes a project’s architecture, tech stack, tools, methodologies, and programming languages for the project execution.

Step 4. Requirements management.

Here we agree on a list of functional, technical, and system requirements, document, prioritize and plan a project or product development.

Step 5. Team Composition.

Identifying roles and responsibilities, setting expectations, and ensuring that the team is adequately resourced to complete its task – is our main goal. The composition process also includes a discussion about the team's expected deliverables and timeline, as well as any team dynamics that may affect the success of the project.

Step 6. Roadmapping.

We set project timelines, project schedule, Gantt charts, choose approaches and strategies, prioritize tasks and build a plan to launch the project.

Step 7. Proposal with development costs.

We present a document with an estimate of development costs, which may vary depending on the pricing models (fixed price, time & material, dedicated team). If you decide to introduce some changes during the development process, then the final number most likely will be changed. The Discovery stage proposal contains detailed information on product development and is designed to meet the client’s needs successfully.

What Is the Goal of the Discovery Phase?

Every business, initiative, or project begins with a reason. The same appeals to the project discovery phase. In other words, what was the reason to create this service? What is the necessity or purpose of it? Check the answers:

  • The discovery phase is a great way to establish the scope, timeline and cost - especially if you have a limited budget. You will make the most of every bit, getting 80 percent of the desired result by investing only 20 percent of the effort.
  • Establish corporate objectives, needs, and product vision.
  • Design product architecture to meet specific business objectives.
  • Prevent unnecessary expenses.
  • Recognize and minimize potential dangers.
  • Design a well-defined product development strategy by using roadmaps.

The Project Discovery Phase Service: Artifacts

After the received discovery phase service, you remain with::

  • Product architecture and tech stack
  • Prototypes
  • Product details, description of the scope of work, user stories, use cases
  • Team formation tips
  • Time and expenses assessment
  • The priority features list

As a result, the major result of a product discovery phase is a detailed strategy with time and budget calculations. It also contains technical standards with a tech stack and product architecture, scope of work, and mockups that may be converted to interactive prototypes.

Why Do You Need a Discovery Phase Service Team?

It would be great to go through a discovery phase to identify the cost of the development and reduce any risks surrounding terms and cost. This would enable you to clearly understand what to expect from the vendor in terms of the scope of work, ensuring you can achieve the maximum outcome, even with a limited budget.

Product discovery is a valuable and effective technique for companies to evaluate their product concept. They define corporate objectives, and intended outputs, and obtain precise time calculations and web app creation costs. Customers and project teams are thus better prepared for a transparent development process.

At Quintagroup, we place a high value on this stage of development. We can provide you with the best qualified team to investigate the topic area and propose top-notch solutions and the best tech stack. Finally, we deliver an exact time and expense estimate, application wireframes, and prototypes to the client.

Do you already have a project idea in mind? Then contact us for a free consultation.

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