The Discovery Phase: Why is it so important?
Every business is made of decisions that affect business operations, goals and future activities. But before decisions are made, one needs to ask a series of very important questions. Some are general, like “Is it feasible?”, “Is it technically possible?” and “Is there even a need for it?”, while others are more specific—but we’ll focus on those later. To answer all these questions and to avoid future failures, we just cannot skip the discovery phase.
What is the discovery phase?
In short, it’s the initial phase of any software development where the main goal is to focus on the vision, get familiar with our client and end users, identify risks and set the goals. This is the stage in the project where we do research through gathering all of the available data from the existing ecosystem, from people on the client’s side and all applications that are already running on the system.
For us at Medius, it’s also the crucial moment to find out everything about our client’s current and future business operations in order to build the best possible solution. Many companies skip the discovery phase because they think it’s a waste of time and money. From our experience, it’s the complete opposite and we believe it’s the best way to avoid getting over budget and missing deadlines. As we’ve said before, our 100% client retention rate speaks in our favor.
Asking the important questions
As we’ve said before in our stories, we can’t do our job without the help from our partners. Our team needs to dig in and learn as much as possible about the business before we start any programming. We’ve touched on some general questions, but what are some specific ones we use to get familiar with the operations and what do we gain from answers?
First we need to know about the demographics and find patterns. A question like “How do you go about your day?” sounds simple but can uncover a lot. We follow up with “How do you know you’re being successful?” which can help us define drivers of business. When it comes to finding problems, we need to prioritize those that will make the biggest impact and tackle them. Here we also investigate the emotional part with questions like “What keeps you from acquiring more users?”. Then just like in any other problem-defining method, we drill down into the problems by asking “Why?” and many other open ended questions that help us connect to the client’s thinking.
This leads us to talking about the future and what are the expectations for our solution to bring into the operation. This is important as we need to be in sync before we start working on solutions.
Working together is key
There are many more questions and areas that we address in these sessions and by the end of it, we get the much needed insight to move forward. Questions from our clients are also appreciated as it gives them the needed confidence and trust in our team.
As you can see, collaboration really is the key to successful projects, at least here at Medius. We take our projects very seriously because we want them to bring results, and after 20 successful years we’re proud to say that we continue achieving this goal with every finished project.