The success of any software project depends on a lot of factors. Before apps or websites are developed, they have passed through different phases. From the research phase to the development phase.
As a software developer, if you do not plan the project very well, you might get an undesirable result.
If you want the software development process to be successful, you must pay special attention to the discovery phase. Keep reading for more information.
What Is The Discovery Phase In Software Development?
Before we delve into the core aspect of this article, let us digress a bit to discuss what the custom software development discovery phase is all about. We would also recommend visiting agilie.com’s article about everything you need to know about discovery phase.
Simply put, the discovery phase in custom software development is the first and one of the most important phases in the project. This is where the preparatory work for the success of the project is done by the software company and product owner.
At this stage, the company tests the feasibility of the idea, creating a project roadmap that will involve everything from the initiation of the idea to the execution and launching of the app or web.
The project timeline also becomes achievable when thorough work has been done at this stage.
At this phase, the developer and the client meet and discuss what the project is truly about, its business goals, and how it could be achieved with less hassle. It involves intensive market research, identification of all the requirements for the success of the program, and then analyzing how the project will be implemented.
Ideas can be modified and fine-tuned at this phase before the real execution begins. Some of the key people involved in this phase are the UX designer, tech team, domain experts, investors, engineers, analysts, UX/UI experts, and the project manager.
5 Benefits Of The Discovery Phase For Custom Software Development Projects
You might be wondering about the usefulness of going through the rigors of the discovery phase in software projects. The truth is that the project discovery phase is beneficial to both the business and the developer. Here are some of the benefits.
1. Reduction of risk
There are a lot of risks associated with a custom software development project, implementation and the launching of a new product.
During the discovery phase, all the stakeholders involved will do thorough research and market analysis of the project. Doing this will help to minimize the effects of some of the things that could affect the acceptance of the project by the target audience and to meet the deadline.
When you conduct thorough research, you have your real data and your decision will not be based on assumptions or what worked for other projects. You can then be assured that the product will be competitive in the market and it will meet the expectations of the users.
Some of the factors that could lead to mistakes in a project are poor design, delayed launch, the inclusion of features and functions that are no longer appealing to users, and other limitations of the project. All of these will be taken care of at this stage.
2. Have a proposed budget
As a software company or a private developer, you cannot base the budget for the project on the assumption of the cost of the last project or similar project. Your assumption might be wrong.
Thorough research and analysis of the project at the discovery phase will give you a valid insight into what it will cost to deliver the project.
For instance, the discovery phase helps you to determine what will be needed to develop the app or web and to release it to users, the cost of design, development, proposed date of release, the required manpower, and other expenses. This is because you would have empirically analyzed the different and important stages of the project.
Hence, it is unlikely that you have unwanted surprises or errors that could affect the original budget for the project. Moreover, you will know the amount you will budget for all the stakeholders involved in the development of the project.
3. Design a prototype and get feedback
You or the client have the idea of the project in mind, but you need data to work with before you arrive at the final project. The truth is, you don’t know if users will like the idea until they use it.
Through the knowledge and the data you have during the discovery phase, you can test the idea for the project by having a simplified version or a prototype of the final project. You can also request feedback from the users. This prototype will have a similar design, interface, features, and functionality.
When you create prototypes, you have the opportunity to adjust and develop the real product that you want. It also prevents the creation of a product that will receive negative reviews from users. The feedback you get will give you an insight into what you can do to make the project better. This is a critical aspect of the project because it helps in the development phase. All unnecessary items will be removed and that could reduce costs.
4. Have a clear roadmap
It is always easier to achieve results when there is a mapped-out development plan that will be followed. One of the main reasons why you should start the project with the discovery phase is to have a clear vision of the expected product. A client could have a rough understanding of what the product should look like.
During the discovery phase, the idea will be redefined and a plan of how it will be implemented will be designed. Moreover, the plan assigns tasks to members of the team and each person knows what should be done to achieve the collective goal. When there is a clear roadmap, the development can then begin.
5. Work on comparative advantage
The software industry is highly competitive. To have an edge, you must study the market, your competitors, and the users.
Research at the discovery phase will expose the competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and unaddressed gaps that you can explore to your advantage. This will allow you to develop a niche that is better, more appealing, market fit, and could compete with other products.
The discovery phase is important in determining the success of the project. It is standard practice in the software industry. It is aimed toward the elimination of ambiguity and assigning responsibilities to all stakeholders.