Transforming a great idea into a reality requires meticulous development strategy and agile execution. But it could be possible only when all stakeholders are on the same page regarding business goals, resources, deliverables, timeline, and budget. Smart software product development starts with the discovery phase, involving extensive market research covering factors like niche, target audience, expectation, and competition, and accordingly list required resources and estimated budget. In absence of an effective discovery phase, most projects suffer from unavoidable extension and delays, resulting in cost escalation, inefficient operation, substandard product development, and low productivity.

Steps Involved in Discovery Phase

If you believe your idea has the potential to solve problems, the first thing post ideation phase is to involve professionals like with years of product planning, development, and launch experience to embark on the discovery phase journey. The discovery phase team, comprising business analysts, designers, UI/UX professionals, developers, project managers, and customers, walks with clients on the step-wise journey to help them transform ideas into reality efficiently.  

Stakeholder Identification: Following pre-discovery phase formalities, the first thing that matters most is the identification of stakeholders. The list ideally consists of product owners, developers, administrators, product users, investors, and anyone involved in the development, launching, and marketing of the product.

Business Goal Setting: This step involves refining raw business goals into a concrete goal with a focus on problems it intends to address and provide solutions for the same. Long-term market expansion and revenue maximization goal setting and possible ways to streamline the process are also part of this step of the discovery phase.

Success Matrix: Successful completion of project development depends on the clarity of the matrix used for measuring success. This step involves defining measures of success of each stage of the product development phase. 

Analyzing Existing Research: This step involves sharing all existing research, survey, and other documents with business analysts to save precious time. Advance research could be conducted to make the discovery phase more effective.   

User Journey Building: Delivery of quality products efficiently requires a thorough understanding of users’ journey so that highly effective and user-friendly products could be developed. This step focuses on building a detailed user journey to deliver effective and practical solutions.

Competitive Intelligence: Finding the best product-market fit is most important and it depends on the quality of research done to find what competitors are offering and missing links.  This step involves thorough analysis of competitors’ deliverable and accordingly suggesting measures to make the product better, matching target audience expectations.

Product Requirement Specification: This step involves analyzing relevant data and preparing product requirement specifications. In this step, raw data is transformed into actionable intelligence of technical requirements necessary for developing a future-ready product.

Budgeting & Timeline: It is the most important step as it defines step-wise expected deadline of deliverables and cost estimation. The effectiveness of the discovery phase depends on the accuracy and practicality of the timeline as a minor error could lead to cost escalation and project derailment. 

Finalizing Roadmap: It is the final step of the discovery phase of product development, as all stakeholders need to be on the same page regarding the project timeline, milestones, and deliverables.

Deliverables of the discovery phase services depend on the size and complexity of the project, but comprehensive discovery phase deliverables include software requirement specification (SRS), UX prototype, development roadmap & budget, and of course, the discovery phase proposal. The discovery phase is all about minimizing risks with a focus on making the project a success as per plan.